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Over the last year, the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR) has taken steps to reaffirm its commitment to Fair Housing. This past summer, for example, NAR launched a Fair Housing extension campaign as part of its “That’s Who We R” efforts. The association also discussed the topic at length during its 2020 REALTORS® Conference & Expo.

And now, on day one of the job for new NAR President Charlie Oppler, the association is showing it will continue to advocate for equality and inclusion in real estate, issuing an apology for NAR policies of the 20th century that contributed to discrimination and racial inequality.

Oppler spoke during the Diversity and Inclusion Summit, co-sponsored by NAR and The Hill, issuing a sobering message that sets the tone for the priorities of his presidency.

“What REALTORS® did was an outrage to our morals and our ideals. It was a betrayal of our commitment to fairness and equality,” said Oppler. “I’m here today, as the president of the National Association of REALTORS®, to say we were wrong.”

“We can’t go back to fix the mistakes of the past,” Oppler continued. “But we can look at this problem squarely in the eye. And we can finally say, on behalf of our industry, that what REALTORS® did was shameful, and we are sorry.”

Oppler recognized the fact that “words aren’t enough,” emphasizing that the association and all REALTORS® should take “positive action to remedy decades’ worth of inequality.”

Oppler was joined by Bryan Greene, NAR’s director of Fair Housing Policy, who discussed the steps NAR is taking to confront racism and inequality in real estate, starting with its Fair Housing Plan, “ACT!”.

“It underscores our commitment to greater accountability, culture change and better training,” said Greene. Accountability is really the key. We recognize we have to do more to self-test and -correct issues when we see them. We need to take a tough look at how existing patterns reinforce each other, and we need to improve the training we provide our members.”

Additionally, Greene stated NAR has partnered with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s Equality of Opportunity Initiative to examine economic inequality and advance economic inclusion. The association is also working with the National Association of Real Estate Brokers and the Urban Institute to address minority homeownership.

In a call to action for all listeners, Greene stated that everyone should visit nar.realtor/fair-housing. On the website, REALTORS® can find the latest information on how NAR is tackling the issue and how they can help. The site also provides resources such as videos, articles and tools on overcoming bias.

“As leaders in our communities, REALTORS® must be active participants in promoting equality, inclusion and acceptance,” said Oppler. “It’s the right thing to do, and it’s long overdue.”

View the entire webinar below:

Liz Dominguez is RISMedia’s senior online editor. Email her your real estate news ideas to ldominguez@rismedia.com.