On April 11, 1968, President Johnson signed the Fair Housing Act into law. This marked an important and historic change in our nation’s commitment to property rights, recognizing that property rights should not be abridged because of discrimination based on race, color, national origin or religion. In later years, the law was amended to prohibit discrimination based on gender, disability and familial status.
The National Association of REALTORS® (NAR) will commemorate this historic piece of legislation with a year-long campaign beginning in January and highlighted by a reception at the National Museum of African American History and Culture during NAR’s 2018 Legislative Meetings & Trade Expo in May. The campaign will incorporate a review of history that recognizes our early opposition to fair housing and celebrates real estate leaders and organizations that helped change our policies. Today, we’re leading efforts to expand fair housing protections based on sexual orientation and gender identity.
We’ll also look at ongoing fair housing issues affecting our communities. Fair housing isn’t just about the transaction. Our livelihood and business as REALTORS® depend on a free and open market that embraces equal opportunity. We need to take a leadership role in identifying and addressing these issues. Whether it’s school quality or access to healthy communities and economic opportunity, these issues not only affect the choices of homebuyers and renters; they make it harder in some communities to be a successful REALTOR®.
By commemorating this law, NAR, as the “Voice for Real Estate” and a champion for private property rights and homeownership, will raise awareness about the importance of equal housing opportunities. The National Association of Real Estate Brokers, the Women’s Council of REALTORS®, the National Association of Hispanic Real Estate Professionals, the Asian Real Estate Association of America, and the National Association of Gay and Lesbian Real Estate Professionals will join NAR in commemorating the fair housing anniversary. These organizations are firmly committed to equal housing opportunities and recognize the unique and important role each organization has in this noble endeavor.
You can go to fairhousing.realtor to learn more about the commemoration and to find materials and resources you can use to participate. Consider the following actions to join in this commemoration:
- Help your company, community, and local and state association identify and commemorate fair housing history and champions in your state.
- Post what you’re doing on fairhousing.realtor. Share ideas, adapt what others are doing to meet your needs and work with local chapters of our national partners.
- Work in your committees to support efforts to get Congress to pass changes to the Fair Housing Act to expand fair housing protections based on sexual orientation and gender identity.
This column is brought to you by the NAR Real Estate Services group.
Fred Underwood is the director of Diversity and Inclusion, NAR Community and Political Affairs. For more information, please visit www.nar.realtor.
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