APA Florida Named Outstanding Chapter of the Year
Pop the champagne and toss the confetti because today APA national announced that APA Florida is the 2021 chapter of the year.
During an online ceremony, Sara Copeland, AICP, of the Chapter President’s Council awarded APA Florida with the Karen B. Smith Award for Outstanding Chapter Achievement due to its “becoming a leader in chapter-level equity, diversity and inclusion efforts and also an outstanding leader in ongoing advocacy and policy-related efforts that provide training to their members and supports their efforts to advocate on behalf of the planning profession.”
“We are thrilled and honored by this distinction,” APA Florida Chapter President Wiatt Bowers, AICP said. “Our chapter’s Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion Committee [EDI] has been recognized as an EDI model for other chapters. We are also excited that our increased policy and advocacy efforts, including our first-ever Planners Month in the Districts, were recognized by APA.”
The chapter’s EDI committee was created in 2019 to help it develop a strategic diversity and inclusion plan. Since then, the committee has hosted a handful of online forums and is developing a strategic plan for the chapter. Both Wiatt and Immediate Past President Laura Everitt, AICP, Esq., LEED GA, thank committee founders Andre Anderson, AICP, and Alissa Barber Torres, FAICP, Ph.D., CLTD for their efforts in establishing the committee and recruiting members.
Also in 2019, the chapter Legislative Policy Committee established the Planners Month in the District program as in-person visits with state legislators at their district offices, but moved online due to the COVID-19 pandemic. In December 2020, more than a dozen volunteers conducted virtual meetings with legislators or their staff to advocate on these important topics leading up to the 2021 session:
- Economic Recovery & Resilience
- Virtual Meetings & Broadband Investment
- Economic Workforce Housing
- Preemption of Local Government Authority