Message from APA-NYM President (11/29/17)

Chapter members and friends,

Happy Holidays! I hope you and your families had a relaxing and enjoyable Thanksgiving. As we approach the new year and begin the rejuvenating process of setting personal and professional goals for 2018, it is similarly energizing to reflect back on some key highlights from 2017.

From assisting with the National Conference in May to organizing a wide range of Chapter-specific events and inter-organizational partnerships over the course of the year, the Chapter’s Executive Committee, topical Committees, and geographic Sections have worked diligently during 2017 to provide value for our members. If you have not already done so, I encourage you to review our Chapter’s Annual Report, which was released at our Annual Conference on October 27th and offers a detailed update on our recent and ongoing efforts.

As we look ahead to 2018 and beyond, a number of emerging and established issues in the planning profession, and in our communities, warrant increased attention. Our Chapter has an important role to play through our varied initiatives that promote professional development, networking, and advocacy. One timely example is the issue of diversity, defined in the broadest sense of the word.

During November, I had the honor of offering closing remarks at the Diversity Committee’s Hindsight Conference, named in honor of the 100th Anniversary of the Supreme Court decision Buchanan v. Warley (1917) to invalidate racial zoning. In my remarks, I noted that this unique conference served two critical functions: (1) it was a reminder of not only how far we have come, but also how far we still have to go, in promoting more inclusive, just, and equitable communities; and (2) it was a call to action to continue bringing diversity to the forefront of the profession. In that light, I also feel that the conference was a source of inspiration and a celebration of volunteerism, as the dedication of the conference organizers was abundantly clear to anyone in attendance. Under the leadership of Co-Chairs Giovania (G) Tiarachristie and Tiffany-Ann Taylor, the work of the Diversity Committee is a source of pride for the Chapter, and something to be celebrated.

This is one example of an escalating area of focus for the Chapter, and there are many others. Whether your passion is issue-based, geography-based, or specific to a specialization within the planning profession, I encourage you to channel your energy by contributing to the work of the Chapter. As you make your new year’s resolutions for 2018, consider how you can continue giving back to the profession, and look no further than the Chapter’s Committees and Sections.

As we reflect back and look forward, let’s not forget to also be in the moment by enjoying time with friends and family. I hope you have a wonderful holiday season.

Maxwell L. Sokol, AICP
APA New York Metro Chapter