GATEWAY PERSPECTIVES: Realtors Must be Part of the Solution

GATEWAY PERSPECTIVES: Realtors Must be Part of the Solution
Richard Haggerty, HGAR CEO

On June 3rd in HGAR’s daily e-mail update I addressed the pain, suffering and turmoil since the senseless killing of George Floyd. Since then, there have been more protests and tragically more deaths. There is justifiable anger, and 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.

As I indicated on June 3rd, 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.

One positive outcome from the protests and the pain is an ongoing conversation about racial inequality, a conversation that must continue. Much of the conversation has been centered around police reform. We can’t let the conversation stop there. We must also address the socio-economic inequalities that plague our communities, and from my perspective we must recognize the importance of safe, affordable housing in this on-going discussion. COVID-19 had a much greater impact and higher mortality rate in minority communities. I believe there are correlations between this disparate impact on minority communities and access to safe and affordable housing.

As Realtors we know we have a clear and unequivocal obligation to promote fair housing and equal access to all of our customers and clients. I also believe we have additional responsibilities to the communities we serve and live in. We have a responsibility to help build strong, vibrant and inclusive communities. We have a responsibility to make sure we are not a part of the problem, but rather a part of the solution.

The conversations that are occurring right now are necessary and require honesty and self-reflection. Those conversations must also lead to action—action, which addresses the racial inequalities that have plagued our communities for too long—action, which addresses the socio-economic inequalities, and action which addresses the need for safe and affordable housing.

We need to stand up and be leaders in our communities to bring about impactful and lasting change.

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