GATEWAY PERSPECTIVES: It’s Time for a New Conversation to Address Racial Inequality

GATEWAY PERSPECTIVES: It’s Time for a New Conversation to Address Racial Inequality
Richard Haggerty, HGAR CEO

I would like to share my thoughts on the pain, suffering and turmoil that has gripped our region, our state and our nation since the tragic and senseless killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis during the last week.

Two and a half months ago COVID-19 began its onslaught in New York, creating what can best be described for me as a bad dream, a dream filled with fear and uncertainty. In May there began to be glimmers of light, a flattening of the curve, discussions about reopening New York. As those hopes for recovery took root, a video was released of a police officer in Minneapolis with his knee on George Floyd’s neck as he was lying on the ground pleading that he couldn’t breathe. Several minutes later Mr. Floyd was dead. The bad dream suddenly became a nightmare.

During the last week protests, marches and demonstrations have occurred across the country. There is justifiable anger. From my perspective that anger is rooted in the fact that this country seems to repeat this scenario of outrage and calls for action when these horrible instances are caught on tape but ultimately, nothing changes. Racism and bigotry continue to plague us as a society. The same inequities continue, including those inequities that are not caught on a cell phone camera.

The Hudson Gateway Association of Realtors has a long history of being at the forefront of positive change on fair housing and diversity issues, and we will continue to repudiate any and all forms of prejudice and discrimination. However, I believe we must do more. We must recognize that the status quo is not an option. How many people of color must die, how many minority communities must be plagued by poverty, grief and lack of opportunity, before change can occur? There must be meaningful, honest and difficult conversations about race and diversity, and we as Realtors must be a part of those conversations. In fact, I believe we are interconnected with our communities in ways that make us uniquely qualified to lead those conversations.

In the days and weeks ahead, I encourage you to actively listen and participate in these difficult conversations and be open to other points of view with a willingness to challenge long-held beliefs. If lasting change, based upon unity and respect, is going to happen, it must involve all of us coming together to forge a new path forward.

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