Like many of you, the recent murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, Tony McDade, Mike Ramos and countless others have left us heartbroken and full of anguish. Their stories are painfully familiar. There have been too many occasions that we have silently witnessed black and brown lives being taken, and instead of demanding justice, we move on with business as usual. This time is different. The outcry across the country and the world has reignited our conscience and is causing us to reflect honestly and engage with the injustices and oppressive systems that we have built as a society. 

We stand in solidarity with and beside those calling for justice and structural change. We mourn the murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, Tony McDade, Mike Ramos and all victims of racial injustice and police brutality.

We take responsibility for the fact that Code Studio is an active participant in this broken system. Our leadership is white and our staff are mostly white. The majority of our clients, collaborators and stakeholder groups that we work with are white. We are a part of an industry with a long history of oppressing black and brown people, an industry that continues to do so today. We are also part of a political and bureaucratic system that continues to fortify white privilege while disregarding the basic human needs of people of color.

While policing may be at the forefront of the conversation, zoning is among the powerful systems perpetuating racial injustice. Code Studio has at times been silent, contributing to the injustices caused by zoning. We have a lot of work to do, and we owe a large debt to black and brown communities.

While Code Studio has worked to promote housing equity and inclusive community engagement in our work, this alone is insufficient. We must continually evaluate our privileged perspective, raise the voices of black and brown people, and challenge the structural inequities that surround our work. We need to unlearn and re-examine the things that we think we know about our cities.

We are committed to taking the following actions:

Within Our Own Firm 

  • Actively seek out and hire black, indigenous and people of color (BIPOC).

  • Team with BIPOC-led firms.

  • Educate ourselves and our staff on systemic racism by attending equity-focused conferences.

  • Continually challenge our own personal biases and those of individuals in our office, teams, clients and community.

  • Match employee donations to funds that empower black and brown communities.

With Our Clients and Within Our Community

  • Contribute financially to local equity initiatives.

  • Offer assistance to BIPOC-led groups locally and in our client communities to build capacity around planning, urban design and zoning.

  • Work at reduced rates for communities of color with BIPOC leadership and project managers.

  • Seek out, learn from and amplify the voices that have been historically under-represented in the making of our cities.

  • Focus our work on creating places where all people feel safe.

  • Continually question the intent and impact of each plan or regulation we write.

In the next three months, we will produce an equity action plan that will hold us accountable for meeting these commitments and publish it on our website.

We must do better because Black Lives Matter.

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