Violence & siege of U.S. Capitol

Republishing of Joint Statement from Peter Exley, FAIA, American Institute of Architects (AIA) 2021 President & Robert Ivy, FAIA, AIA Executive Vice President and Chief Executive Officer.  

First published January 13th, 2021

Destruction is not an acceptable form of expression. Violence is not a viable policy position. Neither has a place in civil society. AIA categorically condemns the violence and destruction caused by rioters bent on disrupting the nation’s peaceful transfer of power.

The riots were an appalling act of entitlement and weakness. They were the antithesis of our country’s founding ideals. It was also obvious that the latent response of law enforcement to the mob was yet another reminder of the significant differences between the policing of white vs brown and black people.

The insurgents, their supporters, and instigators do not understand what makes our country strong and enduring: respect for differences, reasoned discourse, and above all, the belief that America’s best days are ahead. There is no better symbol of those ideals than the powerful United States Capitol building.  

But the United States Capitol is also a reminder of the nation’s original sins: The dislocation of native peoples and the enslavement of Africans. It sits on the ancestral land of the Nacotchtank, Piscataway and Pamunkey peoples. And the building was created with the extensive use of the labor and skill of enslaved Africans.  That melding of noble aspirations and profound failings is foundational to the American experiment.

We are not a perfect union, yet we continue to strive to be the more perfect union envisioned 233 years ago. That relentless centuries-long pursuit is what inspires millions around the world and gives us hope.  

In the spirit of hope, in a few days we will celebrate the life and exceptional contribution of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Dr. King dedicated his life to bending the historical arc of our nation closer toward universal justice.

It is also fitting that we will witness the transition of power that symbolizes the collective responsibility of “we the people” to work together toward a future that is fairer, healthier, and more sustainable for everyone, everywhere.

Both are well-timed reminders of what is best about our nation.  

In the coming days, as we begin a new chapter in America’s history, we should all remember that what unites us – the belief that we are created equal and have a responsibility to leave our society better than we found it – is far more important and enduring than suspicion and division.  

As architects, we are committed to those ideals.

Dr. King’s words resonate today, “All mankind is tied together; all life is interrelated, and we are all caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of identity. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly.”

Cover image by Allison Dvorak, 2016

6 Replies to “Violence & siege of U.S. Capitol”

  1. Sad your comments reach for race when this senseless act has NOTHING to do with race. Yes it is interesting that the Capital Police treated this mob differently. They actually tried to stop them. Contrast that with police watching ANTIFA and BLM protesters burn their police cars and precinct buildings. There were blacks in the crowd last week. It was not a racial demonstration. Shame on you for trying to infer that. I also find it perfectly fitting that our AIA leaders sat with their mouths sown shut while Minneapolis, Portland and so many other cities burned, yet were so quick to chastise these actions. I guess only certain people and viewpoints are allowed to express their anger at where our government has let them down. Both sides included! I sympathize with BLM protesters and why they were angry. I also sympathize with conservatives who’s views are ever increasingly silenced. Your rhetoric is part of the problem and does nothing to further the “unity” I now hear so much about. (I voted for Biden, but I’m sick of the sanctimony from each side)

  2. Thanks for your willingness to share your point of view. This content was posted directly from the National AIA’s press release as a way to share the information of this continually unprecedented time to AIA members and subscribers of this blog.

  3. I once again would like to know how this statement serves the profession of architecture? I pay dues to this organization to that is supposed to advocate for my profession. I don’t pay dues so they can continually put out devisive politically charged rhetoric, whether i were to agree with it or not. This is not why I belong to the AIA, and if this continues, I will no longer be a member.

  4. We have all learned so much in the last year about the systemic racism that dominates our culture in the United States America.

    National AIA Leaders were not silent:

    Minnesota AIA Leaders were not silent: “People matter more than buildings. This must always be so.”

    Seattle AIA Leaders were not silent:

    Oregon AIA Leaders were not silent:

    It is so frustrating to see the difference in police presence and response for BLM crowds versus MAGA crowds.

    I currently live in Seattle. Seattle BLM protests and the MAGA protest in DC are not comparable. The only comparison is that people got hurt.
    BLM protests were seeking an end to the police causing bodily harm on Black and Brown people.
    MAGA protesters were seeking a political win by show of force.
    These are just not comparable, but leaders and supporters should still be speaking up and condemning the violence from each event.

    The Seattle Police Department is working to rebuilt trust with the community. Two SPD officers were present in DC on January 6th, and they are now on administrative leave until further investigation.
    “Why y’all keep asking where the police at? Y’all ask where Miley’s at when Hannah’s on stage?” -@Beytwice Jan 7, 2021
    This MAGA crowd included police officers, militia groups, and white supremacists. The lines of distinction between these groups are very blurry.

    Media literacy is now a must for everyone who has access to the internet. Disinformation is rampant and will lead to further violence. Our culture will be moving away from a libertarian stance on social media and tech. Amazon has stop hosting Parler. Amazon is not suppressing free speech; it is removing irresponsible content. It’s a big mess. It’s too little too late. Jack Dorsey is not happy about unplugging the President of the United States, but it has spiraled out of control. His company is basically an accessory to organizing violence in D.C. on January 6th, 2021 in because Trump used Twitter to summon his supporters for this day.

    “Peter Navarro releases 36-page report alleging election fraud ‘more than sufficient’ to swing victory to Trump. A great report by Peter. Statistically impossible to have lost the 2020 election. Big protest in D.C. on January 6th. Be there, will be wild!” -@realDonaldTrump on Dec 19, 2020

    Personally, I only know one Trump supporter that has actively condemned the violence in D.C. I mostly hear how their voices are being silenced and their guns are being taken away. Neither is true.

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