The Courage to Advocate for Change with Elaine Gross

Lee Davenport, Ph.D Fair Housing 1 Comment

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On this day of remembrance, we think about all that Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. stood for:

  • Nonviolence
  • Equality for Black Americans
  • Peace for all
  • The eradication of poverty
  • Equal access to wealth, health and happiness

We also recognize that we cannot move forward without looking into the past. It’s important to understand where we come from and our role in history. For the National Association of REALTORS® and all of us who are members, it’s a must for us to know the association’s past so we can work toward a more equitable future when it comes to housing. Here are some things you need to know:

  • Did you know that we —the National Association of REALTORS— are known as “America’s largest trade association”
  • Did you know that the association hired our first lobbyist in 1973, making it just under 50 years of experience?
  • Did you know that the association once advocated for UN-fair housing practices? For instance,

“With great power comes great responsibility,” Uncle Ben, Spiderman. And part of that responsibility means righting wrongs.

Over the years, NAR has publicly acknowledged how it contributed to the perpetuation of housing discrimination and collectively shifted to advocate for fair housing. But there is always room for improvement, and to keep moving forward to ensure fair housing for all, we must ensure that we regularly and consistently take stock of our policies and practices. When we find something that’s no longer equitably serving the community, we must also have the courage to make change.

In this Real (Estate) Talk episode, I had the privilege to chat with the recently retired Elaine Gross, the Founding President of ERASE Racism, the civil rights organization based on New York’s Long Island. Yes, that Elaine Gross, who was working concurrently as the Newsday exposè on housing discrimination, was unfolding and was a key expert witness during subsequent hearings.

It’s no exaggeration to say that Gross is one of the foremost experts on the topic and is keenly aware of what we must do to move forward in more equitable ways.

In this episode, we discuss:

  • How her inspiring work (along with her colleagues and partner organizations) led to the state of New York remarkably adopting “source of income” as a protected class
  • The words a real estate agent said to her, which left a lingering, positive impact and why she sought him out when it was time to sell her home (hint: this is a good motto for all real estate pros)
  • Some lobbying priorities and/or ideal candidate platforms (not the actual people but the ideologies) that reflect the inclusion and protection of fair housing
  • How it only takes a few to champion fair housing to see change
  • How your state and local eradicate unfair housing practices through various means
  • Why we need the news media to highlight more instances of unfair housing to facilitate fair housing

Dr. Lee Davenport is an Atlanta-based real estate coach who trains agents, teams, brokerages, and other business organizations on how to use today’s technology to work smarter. Join Lee’s free RE Tech Insider’s Club by visiting www.LearnWithLee.REALTOR.

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