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Greetings NOMA Family

Noma Coloring Book

February 4, 2020

As we celebrate Black History Month, I reflect fondly on my upbringing in Detroit and the emphasis that was placed on learning about the many contributions that African-Americans have made to our society, both at home and abroad. My favorite reflection on this time is the privilege that I had to meet Rosa Parks, who lived in the same building as my Grandmother. It was a powerful moment in my young life that I will never forget.

I first learned of her during Black History Month as my classmates and I colored the faces of historical figures in our Black History coloring books. Meeting Rosa Parks in real life was magical and inspiring. She was an actual person. Her cousin was my babysitter and my Grandmother had her phone number. I was proximate to a historical figure and I didn’t fully understand how incredible that was until much later, after she passed away. Rosa Parks was very visible, not only in the Civil Rights Movement, but she remained civically engaged far beyond the bus. Her efforts have left an impression on our nation that will not soon be forgotten.

Perhaps this story from a slice of my childhood explains why I am so delighted by the NOMAnash Coloring Book. It was created to help create awareness of the existence and work of Minority Architects. A brilliant idea to engage kids and get them interested in the profession of architecture while also celebrating the legacy of NOMA members in Nashville. I encourage everyone to consider ordering your copy today: The Coloring Book of Architecture.

As you may already know from my last President’s Message, our theme for 2020 is #BeVisible. This is meant to encourage all of our members to reach back to younger professionals and students to serve as a role model, helping them to better understand and navigate the building industry. I have challenged all 30 of our professional chapters to reach 100 or more K-12 students this year and I’ve asked that each of our student chapters place a special emphasis on supporting first year students in architecture school. Being visible is simply serving as an example and being intentional about doing so.

Planting seeds of professional possibility in today’s youth is one of the most important things that we can do if we wish to ensure that architecture remains a thriving enterprise. Beyond that, our duty to protect the health, safety and welfare of the public for the long term hinges on the continuity of our practices. We need our youth as much as they need us. Let’s be visible and create greater Access, Leadership and Legacy opportunities for ALL. #ALLinforNOMA


I’d like to invite you to join us in our efforts to create a more diverse, equitable and inclusive profession. If you haven’t already joined us or renewed your membership, please do so today:

Please note that we recently overhauled our membership software, which is a benefit to NOMA in the long run. However, in the short run we’ve experienced a few technical setbacks that have prevented some of you from renewing your membership. We appreciate your patience as we work through those issues associated with the new system. In light of this, we have extended the timeframe in which members can renew without paying a late fee. Everyone now has until the end of February 29th to pay the regular dues rate associated with your membership level. Thanks for your understanding and continued support!

In response to increased interest in NOMA corporate membership, we have launched NOMA President’s Circle (PC), our new corporate membership program designed to help companies, schools and organizations to more meaningfully connect with NOMA. Learn more about NOMA PC here:

Please also encourage graduating NOMAS students to apply for our new fellowship program by February 28th:

As you can tell, we have been very busy creating new initiatives and making improvements that we hope will bring even greater value to your experience as a NOMA member. Our purpose is inextricably linked to your success, so please let us know how we can support you and we will do our best to help you reach your professional goals. Thank you for your membership and your dedication to NOMA’s mission.

ALL the best,

Kimberly Dowdell
2019-2020 NOMA National President #ALLinforNOMA

Bevisible2020 Allin Sm2