We challenged ourselves to explore how Chicago design firms can continue to grow as an influential and high-performing industry while advancing diversity, equity, and inclusion.
On December 8th, 2022 GoArchitect co-hosted an Anti-Racist Hotdog Party, led by noted speaker Wandile Mthiyane, for architecture leaders devoted to creating an inclusive design industry in Chicago.
This one-of-a-kind event hosted 18 leaders from influential firms in Chicago to have unpretentious conversations about race and take a public stand for anti-racism.
On December 8th, 2022, GoArchitect sponsored an Anti-Racist Hotdog Party for architecture, engineering, and construction leaders who are influential in their professional and local communities and devoted to creating a better Chicago.
The Anti-Racist Hotdog Party is a unique team-building event that uses food as a fun and playful catalyst for engaging conversations on race, workplace culture, and inclusion. The GoArchitect team recognized that these topics could be heavy, tough to introduce to groups, and likely to spiral into unproductive cyclical patterns. This reality challenged us to seek a dynamic partner who could innovate and offer a different perspective.
The Anti-Racist Hotdog Party breaks attendees’ assumptions by structuring the entire event around a relaxed and informal atmosphere that encourages sincere and authentic engagement. It goes without saying that having hotdogs as the main dish kickstarts this perfectly.
It is a unique hands-on experience that teaches teams how to acknowledge, celebrate, and learn from racial and cultural differences. The Anti-Racist Hotdog Party is unlike any event you’ve ever attended.
The Anti-Racist Hotdog Party concluded by challenging each table to write one commitment to anti-racism based on their discussions. This challenge helped each team focus their conversations and find common ground. Each table then read their commitment aloud so others could express their support or ask questions.
These commitments to anti-racism were then gathered into a declaration of anti-racism document. All participants were invited and challenged to sign this document, be accountable to each other, and make these commitments a reality in their organizations. It was incredible to see AEC leaders from around Chicago sign these commitments and take a public stand for anti-racism.
It’s easy to get cynical and portray these events as flashes in the pan with limited impact. I would push back and respond by saying the Anti-Racist Hotdog Party is just the first step in bringing organizational improvement to the AEC industry in Chicago.
We need events like this to remind us that the journey to inclusivity is long, but we do not have to go at it alone. I was excited to witness a community of fellow leaders passionate about doing their best for their teams, the community, and Chicago. That is the most significant discovery of the Chicago Anti-Racist Hotdog Party of 2022.
Written by Josh Sanabria, CEO of GoArchitect