“The actual foundation of racism is not ignorance and hate, but self- interest, particularly economic and political and cultural. Self-interest drives racist policies that benefit that self-interest. When the policies are challenged because they produce inequalities, racist ideas spring up to justify those policies. Hate flows freely from there.”-Ibram X. Kendi
For the last six years, HAND has been intentional in our approach of reaching beyond the symptoms of inequity to address the root causes that amplify housing disparities and restrict access to opportunity for communities of color. If you’ve been following our journey, you know we have prioritized educating our members on racial equity issues and how they intersect with our work in real estate and community development – from 2015 when we began integrating trainings on fair housing and best practices for working with returning citizens; to the 2018 Annual Meeting featuring the “Undesign the Redline” exhibit on the history of discrimination and housing policy; and last year’s launch of the “Red Lines, White Papers, and Blue Prints” learning series designed to further build members’ capacity in operationalizing racial equity.
Over the years as we saw an increasing need for this work, we doubled down on our commitment to provide ongoing learning; while also modeling for our members what it looks like to implement racial equity in our work. In 2020 alone, we launched both the Housing Indicator Tool – a policy platform grounded in a racial equity framework; and Equity in Action – a debt and equity platform designed to support black and brown real estate developers who too often face the obstacle of accessing the capital needed to execute their visions for equitable communities. Here at HAND, we believe that the change we seek is the cumulative impact of anti-racist interventions on the institutional and personal levels. In each of these spaces we must consider what role we play in dismantling these toxic systems and structures designed to benefit a select few at the expense of others.
Today we are excited to release, “Still We Rise: A Collection of Learnings & Toolkit for Advancing Racial Equity.” This toolkit captures the learnings of HAND to date and will be useful for members wherever they are in their racial equity journey. Each section includes a session summary, how it relates to the housing industry, a series of reflection questions and search terms for continued education. We encourage you to take advantage of the toolkit, and share with your colleagues, family and friends. We look forward to hearing how you are leveraging this work to create positive change in the office, your home and our communities.