Make Fair Housing Your Superpower

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Lee Davenport

By Lee Davenport

April is Fair Housing Month, but fair housing is important all year long. People who face denial of fair housing need our concerted efforts 365/24/7. Frankly, fair housing needs to be real estate professionals’ superpower.

Yet, as I speak to brokers and agents throughout the United States, I hear that many are at a loss for how to create constructive, ongoing activism that promotes fair housing and seeks to right wrongs when fair housing has been violated.

The good news is, there’s a new movement growing: The Redress Project: The New Movement to Redress Racial Segregation (NMRRS) is a campaign focused on local organizing and citizen activism. In short, the NMRRS is a coalition of ordinary citizens taking extraordinary, direct action to redress racial segregation by helping those who have been denied fair housing. It is the brainchild of Richard Rothstein, author of Color of Law (Liveright, 2017), but it is not just him at work.

This is no fly-by-night crew. The steering committee for NMRRS includes:

  • Michael Ansara, former executive director of Massachusetts Fair Share
  • Janell Byrd-Chichester, director of NAACP-LDF’s Thurgood Marshall Institute
  • Maria Echaveste, president and CEO of the Opportunity Institute
  • Debra Gore-Mann, president and CEO of the Greenlining Institute
  • Rev. Amy Laura Hall, Professor at Duke University Divinity School
  • Damon Hewitt, executive director of the Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights
  • Jeffrey Hicks, REALTOR® and past president of the National Association of Real Estate Brokers
  • Cashauna Hill, a civil rights lawyer, executive director of the Louisiana Fair Housing Action Center, and board member of the National Fair Housing Alliance
  • Olati Johnson, professor at Columbia University Law School and chair of the Poverty & Race Research Action Council
  • Betsy Julian, civil rights lawyer and founder of the Inclusive Communities Project of Dallas
  • Amanda Lankerd, CEO of the Battle Creek Area Association of REALTORS® (MI)
  • Noerena Limon, senior vice president of public policy and industry relations at the National Association of Hispanic Real Estate Brokers
  • Tiffany Manuel, founder, president, and CEO of TheCaseMade, a social justice leadership training organization.
  • Josie Mooney, partner at Democracy Partners and director of organizations at People’s Action
  • Kori Schneider-Peragine, senior administrator of the Metropolitan Milwaukee Fair Housing Council’s Inclusive Communities Program
  • Natosha Reid Rice, global diversity, equity, and inclusion officer at Habitat for Humanity International, and minister for public life at All Saints Episcopal Church in Atlanta
  • Mary Richardson-Lowry, executive committee chair for The Chicago Community Trust
  • Richard Rothstein, author of The Color of Law, distinguished fellow of the Economic Policy Institute, and a senior fellow (emeritus) at the Thurgood Marshall Institute of the NAACP Legal Defense Fund
  • Nureed Saeed, community activist, interior designer, and owner of NU Interiors
  • Ted Shaw, former president of the NAACP-LDF, and director of the Center for Civil Rights at UNC Chapel Hill School of Law
  • Phil Tegeler, executive director of the Poverty and Race Research Action Council
  • Sarah Watson, associate counsel at the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law


What is NMRRS doing to further fair housing and why should this matter to real estate professionals?

In summary from the video, the NMRRS will broadly have campaigns to: 

• Improve resources for low-income segregated neighborhoods;
• Resist massive displacement from uncontrolled gentrification;
• Create housing opportunities for economically and racially diverse populations in segregated white neighborhoods; and
• Stabilize desegregation in neighborhoods where it exists (control suburban white flight).

Specific examples of these initiatives as discussed in the video include:

• Advocating for property tax assessment equity and refunds in inequitable instances;
• Pushing for a self-auditing body for real estate professionals;
• Campaigning to create a more equitable neighborhood rating system that moves beyond school test scores, which have been proven to be racially biased;
• Increasing creation of downpayment grants from institutions that have historically participated in real estate inequity and segregation (including realty firms, banks, law offices,  developers, and municipalities);
• And much more.

What Can You Do to Make Fair Housing Your Superpower?

If you have been wondering how you, your office, and even the organizations you belong to can take concrete steps to ensure housing is realized as fair for all and redress instances of subpar treatment, then I encourage you to join the mailing list for the NMRRS. And, if you are looking for a good cause to donate to during Fair Housing month (and beyond), the NMRRS needs your help, so please gather those in your offices and associations to support this new movement. How amazing it would be if we, real estate professionals, could help the NMRRS reach their 2021 funding goal of $500,000 before Fair Housing Month ends? Also, donations made before April 30, 2021, will be matched up to $150,000 by the Surdna Foundation.

Find other ways to make fair housing your superpower with resources from the National Association of REALTORS®, including the Fair Housing Month Toolkit and more.

I would love to hear from you. Give me a shout on Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube, or by visiting LearnWithDrLee.com. And, be sure to tell the real estate agents you know to get a copy of the five-star rated workbook, Plan to Win!, to transform their real estate sales game plan. Here’s to your success.


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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Comments 5

  1. Pingback: Make Fair Housing Your Superpower With the Help of This Organization - South Carolina REALTORS

  2. April is communist redistribution month. NAR is redefining home ownership and in the most racist communist move in its history, has taken to use the term EQUITY to mean something very different than that which built the American middle class and equal opportunity. RACIST NAR RACIST HATEFUL NAR.

    1. WOW! Just WOW! There’s always going to be someone like you (politician or not) that can always manage to twist something completely the other direction. Still shaking my head. Very sad.

  3. I am saddened by your comment Lori. Have you educated yourself on the atrocities that were committed against people of color? I have to say until recently I had not….I HIGHLY recommend you read “The Color of Law” it is about the government backed practices that lead to predatory lending practices for people of color, redlining and a host of other things that well…if it doesn’t make you cringe I don’t know what will. What is saddening to me is that these happened in the not too distant past. See we all know that owning a home is the biggest source of wealth building…many people who have money have had land or homes passed down to them by parents. If these government endorsed and backed behaviors went on even into the 1960s…then we have made the biggest source of wealth building nearly impossible for a huge segment of people simply by the color of their skin. I honestly am not smart enough to say that I have a “fix” for what happened but I do think that if we stop and take time to SEE what happened, look at it even though it is uncomfortable and ugly…then maybe we can start working together to find a solution. I am saddened that I am just now learning about things that I feel to the very core I should have been taught about years ago…I live in Oklahoma and in the past year was the first time I read about the Tulsa race riots. I hope to be a part of the solution. I choose to see what has been done. I choose to be a voice for those who have not had a voice previously. I hope to always choose love and grace.

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