Feeling the lack of representation of minority architects in Connecticut and realizing the importance of highlighting their work in the national architectural industry, energetic members of Connecticut’s architectural community gathered together to begin the process of establishing a Connecticut based chapter of the National Organization of Minority Architects (NOMA). For nearly five decades, NOMA has strived for its mission to “champion diversity within the design professions by promoting the excellence, community engagement, and professional development of its members.” Prior to recent developments, the University of Hartford NOMA Students Chapter was home to the only nationally recognized NOMA chapter in the state of Connecticut, but thanks to the leading efforts of Omarys Vasquez of Svigals & Partners, Jose Hernandez of Newman Architects, as well as the collaborative efforts of Daniel T. King (Kenneth Boroson Architects), Maria Khan (Friar Architecture), Max Ballardo (Patriquin Architects), Brian Gonzalez (Patriquin Architects), Paolo Campos (Patriquin Architects), Linda Blaszka (Newman Architects), Ghalia Ajouz (Newman Architects), Melody Iannone (University of Hartford), Amy Ray (Newman Architects), and Alicia Washington (HRP Associates), NOMACT will join the growing list of professional groups representing minority architects in their state under the umbrella of NOMA.
As a national organization, NOMA has/is heavily focused on community engagement inspiring activities such as school visits, firm tours, open civic and community forums, design charrettes, and communal social gatherings. Additionally, NOMA works with local, state, and federal governments to create open dialogues and address community-wide issues that may otherwise be unaccounted for in the planning and development of neighborhoods. Lastly, NOMA and its individual chapters hold yearly national and local meetings that serve as a social and educational experience that reemphasizes the NOMA’s mission of championing diversity within the AEC industry.
Why should you join NOMA? NOMA is focused on the professional development of minority design professionals and the organization welcomes professionals and students from any background, race, and creed who have genuine care for the communities in which our projects exist. Architecture can be considered an insulated profession from the outside looking in and NOMA strives to change that opinion by educating our communities and partnering with those communities to develop a more suitable environment for everyone. If you would like more information about NOMA, please visit their newly rebranded website to learn about the great things NOMA has to offer. Lastly, if you are interested in joining Connecticut’s effort to create a chapter please email me (email@example.com) and I’ll add your information to our group.
Brian Stone & Maria Khan contributed to this article.