The Florida Chapter of the American Planning Association (APA) has been named Outstanding Chapter of the Year by the National APA. The award was given partly due to the Florida APA’s establishment of the Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (EDI) committee, an effort that was spearheaded by City of St. Cloud Community Development Director Andre Anderson during his two-year term as Immediate Past President of the Florida Chapter APA. The Florida EDI model has been recognized as a model for other chapters nationwide.
During an online ceremony, Sara Copeland, AICP, 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] have been recognized as an EDI model for other chapters.”
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.