National Organization of Minority Architects (NOMA)
Professional advocacy, mentorship
Thirty-eight years after Whitney Young’s call for action and 35 years after its creation, the National Organization of Minority Architects (NOMA) was honored with Young’s namesake award for its unfailing dedication to increasing diversity among architects.
Founded to address the impact of racism while civil right issues continued to rock the nation, NOMA sought to acknowledge and address the negative influence of socioeconomic conditions in the build environments of disenfranchised Americans. At the 1971 AIA Convention in Detroit, 12 African American architects formed the organization to voice dissatisfaction with the status quo and begin the task of equalizing opportunities for African American designers. Decades later, NOMA remains the preeminent voice for minority architects and aspiring designers.
Student outreach and mentorship remain a focal point for NOMA, which provides young designers the opportunity to interact with professional architects for portfolio review, advice, internships, and career guidance. The organization also makes inroads in primary education to discuss architecture careers and partners with the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People to support a national high school competition for students interested in architecture and design.