In honor of Black History Month, we will be learning more about Black and African American people who have made tremendous contributions to Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Mathematics (STEAM). SEAONC SE3 invites you to participate by completing one (or all!) of the options below:
Don’t have enough time to participate in this book club meeting? We challenge you to consider donating STEAM books centered on Black and African Americans to local underserved K-12 schools or community centers. Oftentimes, Black students do not have access to books with Black and African Americans portrayed as scientists, engineers, artists, and more. Here are other links with suggested books for young K-12 readers:
And check out Oakland’s African American Read-In 2022 Recommended Book List with the Read-In Week happening January 31st to February 4th!
California residents have experienced many intense wildfires in recent years. These wildfires have caused devastating destruction, displacing many people living in close proximity to forests or dry vegetation. The current drought and global warming are perfect ingredients to generate more wildfires. As structural engineers, we are also being challenged to design buildings and structures in wildfire-prone areas. Government officials are now looking at prescribed burns as a tool for wildfire management, similar to those done by Native tribes before Western settlers arrived. In celebration of Native American Heritage Month, which is in November, join SEAONC SE3’s book club to learn about Indigenous traditions in tending to the land and discuss how they can be incorporated into our changing ideas of wildfire management. Other discussion points will cover how we as structural engineers can harden our buildings and provide defensible space.
We recommend checking out a few of the following articles and videos as background information prior to the discussion:
We would also like to share a series of lectures from the University of British Columbia about engineering, decolonization, and Indigenous design principles. These lectures go well beyond the scope of this book club, but we felt it was relevant to share if participants are interested in learning more.
Book Club Goals:
Note: We would like to emphasize that everyone is welcome to come share their opinions and experiences, even if they differ from the resources provided. While the resources provided are a launching point for discussion, SEAONC SE3 does not specifically endorse the material or the author.
The affordable housing crisis has been at the forefront of discussion this year highlighted by skyrocketing home prices and eviction moratorium expirations. A host of solutions are being discussed and pursued to solve this seemingly intractable problem, including rezoning single family lots for greater density, promoting accessory dwelling units, offsite modular construction, and housing reparations. Join us on September 9th to discuss what role structural engineers can play in creating an equitable built environment specifically related to access to quality housing.
In preparation for this discussion please review the following materials:
We will be discussing the New York Times Best Seller The Sum of Us: What Racism Costs Everyone and How We Can Prosper Together by Heather McGhee. While racism is typically discussed as a force that negatively affects people of color, in this book, Heather McGhee takes us to different corners of the USA to dive into how racism and the zero-sum game mentality negatively affects everyone. The author showcases several examples throughout American history of how racist policies and practices have negatively affected BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, People of Color) and, indirectly, white people too. McGhee also discusses how the Solidarity Dividend, which is a gain resulting from people joining forces across racial lines, can help us achieve a common goal as a collective rather than failing to do so individually. More specifically, we will be discussing the following chapters:
Here’s a preview of the book in an interview with Heather McGhee on NPR’s Fresh Air:
'Sum Of Us' Examines The Hidden Cost Of Racism — For Everyone
Additional references for discussion:
According to the 2020 NCSEA SE3 Survey findings in the Performance Feedback topic brief, Asian structural engineers are the least likely to be satisfied with their professional development opportunities. Join us to discuss possible causes and how we can help to close this gap.
During Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) Heritage Month, on Thursday, May 13, from 6:30-8:00pm, the SEAONC SE3 Racial Equity book club will be discussing the Asian Americans PBS 5-part documentary series (watch time: 1 hour per part), which can be streamed online for free. While all 5 parts can be viewed beforehand, we’ll recommend Part 3 “Good Americans” and Part 5 “Breaking Through” to discuss the model minority myth and how it can play out within the structural engineering workplace. We would also like to provide a safe space to discuss the recent anti-AAPI attacks occurring in the Bay Area and around the country, which are profoundly affecting many AAPI structural engineers today. SEAONC SE3 Chair Tiffany Hwang will be moderating this discussion.
Tune into this month’s book club, in which we will be discussing the concept, history, and construct of whiteness, different views of racism and unconscious bias, and their impact on how we interact with each other. As a group, we’ll discuss some of the narratives in the video, our response to the podcast, and our awareness and comfort level in talking about race and racism. We will reflect on our personal experiences in living in primarily white environments, expectations of people of color “acting white”, and the ways in which we can move past just talking.
Estimated Preparation time: Less than 1 hour
This will be a casual discussion open to all and no registration is needed; just join via the Zoom Link provided. Please email email@example.com with any questions.
On January 14, we’ll be having an informal discussion on Ta-Nehisi Coates’ book Between the World and Me (reading time: 2 hrs) written as a letter to his son, which has also been adapted into a movie that can be viewed for free until December 27.
Join the SEAONC SE3 Racial Equity Task Group to talk about a book, podcast, movie, or article on the second Thursday of every other month. This will be a casual discussion open to all and no registration is needed; just join via the Zoom Link provided. Email firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions.
SEAONC SE3 Committee
Racial Equity Task Group