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  • Writer's picturepascalesablan

Excited for the New Year

Updated: Jan 4, 2020

2019 contained many phenomenal personal blessings for me and my family! Things I've prayed for years, came true and I am so very grateful!

For my advocacy efforts however, I've dubbed 2019, "The Year of the No's." Every award, grant, fellowship I applied for this year has returned with a "we regret to inform you" response. I started to think perhaps the work I've dedicated my focus, passion, and time was not work of importance.

Then I took a step back, took a deep breath and realized a few things......

SAY IT LOUD - Exhibitions

By curating eight exhibitions this year I elevated and celebrated 188 women / diverse designers in 5 states (Texas, Nevada, Pennsylvania, Virginia, Illinois) and 9 countries (Bujumbura, Geneva, Harare, Lagos, Lome, Nairobi, New Delhi, Minsk and Yaounde).

  • SAY IT LOUD: United Nations Worldwide March 2019

  • SAY IT LOUD: SXSW Conference March 2019

  • SAY IT LOUD: SXSW(ER) AIA Austin March 2019

  • SAY IT LOUD: A’19 Convention June 2019

  • SAY IT LOUD: NOMA’19 Convention October 2019

  • SAY IT LOUD: Pennsylvania November 2019

  • SAY IT LOUD: Virginia November 2019

  • SAY IT LOUD: Illinois November 2019


Lectured and even keynoted in 6 states (Washington DC, New York, Illinois, Virginia, Minnesota, Pennsylvania) to approximately 2,600 people in crowds as large as 750 people.

This year when I gave the Mary Louis Academy graduation Commencement address, I became the first African American to do so in the schools 83 year history. In these 13 speaking engagements, I shared my journey, passion and encouraged them to stand with me to make the built environment and the profession more equitable and just.

  • AIA National Grassroots, Keynote Panel Discussion People with Purposes: 03/07/2019

  • AIA National Grassroots, Design Justice Panel: 03/07/2019

  • Civic Leadership Program, Keynote Advocacy: 06/01/2019

  • Mary Louis Academy, Commencement Address: 06/02/2019

  • NeoCon, Walking Through a Hidden Door: 06/11/2019

  • AIAS Grassroots, I Was Asked to Stand: 07/20/2019

  • AIAS Grassroots, Understanding Unconscious Bias Panel: 07/20/2019

  • AIA Women’s Leadership Summit, I Was Asked to Stand: 09/13/2019

  • NOMA National Conference, I Was Asked to Stand: 10/17/2019

  • NOMA National Conference, Power to the People: 10/17/2019

  • [yaf]CON'19, Architect of the New Era: 11/8/2019

  • AIA Virginia Exchange East, I Was Asked to Stand: 11/7/2019

  • NOMAPGH Design In Color Panel Discussion 11/23/2019


Understanding that a primary source of sharing information is social media I also founded an Instagram page. Beyond the Built IG account was launched as a take-over platform, where 4 times a month a different architect, engineer, planner, designer and student takes over the account and shares their journey, their experience and their impact to the design profession. We elevated 50 people, in over 20 states and 2 countries. Thank you to the brave souls who shared their journey and their impact to the world with us!

2019 expanded my network and connected me with some brilliant people who are literally changing the world. I called my Tribe of powerful designers, architects, advocates and activist to help me plan and strategize for 2020.


2020 is shaping up to be a great year with some incredible opportunities to continue to grow the SAY IT LOUD Program and its international reach. If you have women or diverse professionals in the following cities, please share your experience and encourage them to submit. 

January - Georgia

January 15-29, 2020 (Deadline to submit 1/5) We will be displaying SAY IT LOUD - Georgia at Georgia Institute of Technology in Atlanta.

February - United Kingdom

February 3-14, 2020 (Deadline to submit 1/12) We will be displaying SAY IT LOUD - United Kingdom at RIBA's location 66 Portland Place in London.

February 8, 2020 (Deadline to register 1/26) We will host a SEE IT LOUD Augmented Reality Camp at the Serpentine Sackler Gallery from 8am-12pm in the Zaha Hadid Design to engage pre-teens and teenagers and introduce them to the profession. March - Ohio March 12-15, 2020 (Deadline to submit 2/9) We will be displaying SAY IT LOUD - Ohio Karamu Performing Arts Theatre in the oldest African American Theatre in the country in Cleveland. April - Nevada April 1-30, 2020 (Deadline to submit 2/23) We will be displaying SAY IT LOUD - Nevada at the University of Nevada in Las Vegas.

Thank you so much for supporting Beyond the Built Environment, looking forward to changing the world with you all in 2020!

If you are wondering why I chose to send you this email, please know your support means everything to me. You are a part of my community and someone I aspire to make proud.

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