Getting to Know the 2% – Philicia Harris
Seeking Equity & Diversity in Architecture
In partnership with SDNOMA, we are proud to present, Overcoming the 2%: Seeking Equity and Diversity in our Built Environment. As it is approaching quickly, we created a video capturing our panelist’s views on the most significant challenges people of color currently face in entering the profession. Did you know that only 2% of licensed architects are Black and African American?
Join us on May 13th at 5:00 pm, where we will hear from Melina Aluwi, Philicia Harris, Jamie Intervalo, Mathew Picardal, and Joseph Ignacio Ruiz about why this disparity exists and what we need to do to change it.
Have a watch, and sign up for the webinar to discuss how we as an industry can overcome these challenges.
Philicia L. Harris
Welcome, Philicia, what profession are you in?
I’m in architecture and interior design, and the owner and principal designer of Harris Design Studio.
What was the biggest challenge for you in entering the profession as a person of color?
The biggest challenge upon entering the profession as a person of color is a lack of connectivity with seasoned practicing professionals. There is a wealth of knowledge that stems from years of experience; having that bestowed upon young professionals would make a world of difference. Existing groups, clubs, and organizations in our field are typically predominately white; thus, the subject matter, struggles, and overall experience related to black and brown professionals are not typical topics of conversation but are our daily experience. No young professional should be years into their career before they meet or work with another person of color. We have got to normalize and increase our existence in this industry.
How should the challenges for people of color in your profession (or the built environment in general) be addressed?
Heavy connectivity to seasoned practicing professionals and resources to enhance our overall exposure to various architectural typologies.
What one piece of advice would you pass on to the next generation of professionals of color in your industry?
My advice would to be intentional. Be authentic and pay it forward. Actively seek other black and brown professions and create a network. Volunteer and show the younger generation that architects, engineers, and construction managers look like them too.
Check out Philicia’s work!
Click here to see a video of our panel discussing some of these issues.