Why we STILL say their names

May 14, 2021
May 14, 2021


Our Why
Nearly a year ago, the world watched in horror as George Floyd took his last breaths under the knee of former police officer Derek Chauvin. The protests and calls for justice that followed flooded our television screens and inboxes. HAND also issued its own statement condemning the manifestations of white supremacy and systemic racism that still exist today – from the most subtle to the most blatant. As America reacts to today’s guilty verdict in the Chauvin trial and in the hope for continued justice, we know our work must continue as the impacts with race and racism will not end with one just verdict. HAND’s Board of Directors & staff remain committed to centering a racially equitable housing agenda and invite our members to join us in these efforts. We are still standing with the families of those who lost their lives to senseless police brutality. We still say their names. We will not be silenced as we center the lived experiences of people of color. We will move boldly and unapologetically in our commitment to dismantling the violent system of white supremacy. Our vision statement speaks of “a region where everyone shares equitably in the knowledge, wealth and resources uniquely represented in and between Baltimore, Washington and Richmond.” This language was not crafted to give lip service or performative promises of the work we hope to accomplish. This is our North Star.
For the last six years, we have 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. The organization has been deliberate in the curation and design of programming to build our members’ capacity in operationalizing racial equity within their respective organizations. Our conferences are infusing content that challenges our thinking around gentrification and the history of discrimination, segregation and housing policy. Breaking the cycles of poverty and disinvestment are critical to supporting our sisters and brothers in living their fullest lives. Further, so many of these communities look like HAND – from our minority-led Board of Directors to the staff. This work is not simply a response to the recent social injustices we’ve seen, this is ingrained in our DNA. This is who we are. 
From the Inside Out
We are proud of our journey thus far and hope that each of you have found value in our offerings created to equip our members with critical tools and resources in this moment. What you may not know is that behind the scenes HAND’s Board has been hard at work along the way, building our own muscle in this space. And when we lost George Floyd in the middle of our racial equity learning series, we felt affirmed that the work of the preceding five years positioned us to be nimble in our response over the weeks and months to follow. 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. This year alone, we have launched both the Housing Indicator Tool (HIT) – 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. At every level, 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. Simply put, HAND’s Board of Directors, staff and committees are working in lock step to ensure our racial equity agenda is consistent, ongoing and grounded in action.
What we know for sure
Today’s decision is one important stop on the path toward equity and justice, but our work does not end here by any means. Oppression thrives on risk-adverse behavior. As a change association committed to centering racial equity, our role is to continually observe patterns around us, identify and solve for the problems that persist, and activate our members to lead with collective action. We’re humbled by the opportunities before us to create a real legacy that empowers our communities. The Board, staff and Design Team will be moving to discern more ways to engage our membership around this work. We invite you to join us over the coming months as we continue to agitate for a more equitable region.
Board of Directors
Monica Warren-Jones
Raymond Skinner
Past President
Consulting Services
Winell Belfonte
Sasha-Gaye Angus
Meghan C. Altidor
Nixon Peabody



Art Bowen
Virginia Housing
Sarah S. Constant
Mission First
Housing Group
Maria Day-Marshall
University of Maryland Colvin Institute of Real Estate Development
Edmund K. Delany
Capital One
Christopher E. Donald
DC Housing
Finance Agency
Gregory Hare
MD Department of Housing and Community Development
Brett Macleod
JPMorgan Chase, Community Development Banking Group
Derrick N. Perkins
Bank of America
Ernst Valery
Jessica Venegas
Community Solutions
John Welsh
AHC, Inc.
Stephanie Williams
Management Company
Heather Raspberry
Executive Director
Courtney Battle
Membership Director
Trianna Overton
Program Associate

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