About DivComm
The APA New York Metro Chapter Diversity Committee

The APA New York Metro Chapter’s Diversity Committee, also known as DivComm, is one of the most active local chapter committees across the country. It is a coalition of multi-racial, multi-gender, intergenerational individuals actively promoting diversity and social equity in the planning profession. DivComm fosters equity in planning through monthly community meetings, professional development events, youth planning education efforts like the Youth Urban Leadership Program, and hosted an annual conference called Hindsight for five years. They have served as a national leader and resource on diversity and equity in planning for individuals and chapters across the country and beyond.

Vision

More just and equitable communities that enable opportunity, quality of life, and a sense of belonging for all; a more diverse planning profession working together to make this vision a reality.

Mission

To increase diversity and cultural competency within the planning profession and provide a resource for planners of different backgrounds in the NY Metro Area to build meaningful connections and share ideas.

Goals/Objectives

  1. Foster a safe space and community for planners of varied backgrounds to share experiences, find mentorship, personally/professionally grow, and make deep connections.

  2. Actively address barriers to recruitment and retention of underrepresented peoples in the profession, including but not limited to people of color, women, and LGBTQ-identifying individuals. This includes assisting the national APA’s Diversity Task Force in implementing objectives towards improving diversity, and turning the lens on the planning profession.

  3. Serve as a resource of information on diversity and planning issues, success stories, events, leadership training, workshops, etc., especially for institutions.

  4. Work together with other APA NY Metro committees, sections, and national divisions to ensure that content of programs include diverse voices/panels and cover concepts of equity and inclusivity.

DivComm's current coordinators

Meet our current leadership! Being a DivComm coordinator is a volunteer commitment.

Interested in joining? Fill out the survey. We're always seeking new individuals who want to contribute to this community's success!

Nicole Payne

Co-Chair

Ebony Wiggins

Co-Chair

Katherine Taveras

Coordinator

Collyn Chan

Communications Coordinator

Anne Krassner

Communications Coordinator

Jessica Saab

Graphic Design Coordinator

Dorraine Duncan

Professional Development Coordinator

Nate Heffron

Youth In Planning Coordinator

Origin of DivComm

The Diversity Committee of the APA New York Metro Chapter actually has two birth stories. It was formerly known as the “Planners for Ethnic and Cultural Diversity Committee,” founded in the '90s during a time when there wasn’t really a centralized organization for planners or urban designers of color in the area.

One of the committee’s most important achievements was Lagging Behind: Ethnic Diversity in the Planning Profession (2001) to highlight the ethnic and racial disparity in planning and provided important recommendations for supporting people of color in the profession. The committee fell dormant around 2010, until the chapter recruited Tiffany-Ann Taylor and Giovania Tiarachristie to help revive the group in 2015. Giovania had previous experience establishing a Diversity Initiatives Group (DIG) at Pratt Institute and had decided to focus her graduate thesis to update the 2001 report with updated and more comprehensive data on the current state of diversity in the Metro Area. The nationally recognized study is known as Elephant in the Planning Room, and includes findings from over 300 surveys and 45 hours of interviews, as well as implementable strategies to overcome barriers to recruitment and retention of racial diversity in the profession.

Reviving the committee would become an avenue to implement recommendations. The committee was renamed “Diversity Committee” (DivComm) in response to a collective desire to broaden the scope of the group to cover race and ethnic issues, as well as intersections with gender, sexuality, class, disability, and more. Over the course of three to five months, Giovania and Tiffany recruited new members and held iterative and participatory brainstorming sessions to identify a vision, mission, and goals for the revived committee.

In 2021, Giovania and Tiffany passed the baton to new co-chairs Nicole Payne and Katherine Taveras, who continue fostering the DivComm community and mission today.

DivComm leaders Tiffany-Ann Taylor, Addison Vawters, and Giovania Tiarachristie at the 2018 Hindsight Conference