WASHINGTON (April 15, 2021) – Department of Housing and Urban Development Secretary Marcia Fudge joined leadership from the National Association of Realtors® and The Memorial Foundation on Thursday for a conversation about fair housing and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.'s enduring legacy in the fight to secure equal housing opportunity in America. "The Past, Present, and Future of Fair Housing" was held as the nation continues its recognition of Fair Housing Month.
"NAR is a proud champion for fair housing, but as for much of America, it's been a journey to get to this point," NAR President Charlie Oppler, a Realtor® from Franklin Lakes, N.J., and the CEO of Prominent Properties Sotheby's International, said Thursday. "We are committed to the belief that Americans of every background have the right to live where they choose, and NAR strives each day to ensure our 1.4 million members are leading this nation in the fight for fair housing."
Secretary Fudge joined Oppler and The Memorial Foundation CEO Harry Johnson for a discussion centered around the ongoing work to further fair housing in America.
"Fair Housing is the bedrock of what we do every day [at HUD]," Secretary Fudge said Thursday. "But more importantly, it's the law, and we intend to enforce it. We need to… look at what have historically been the systemic policies that have created the inequities we see, and to try to correct them and eradicate discrimination in every way we possibly can."
This year, The Memorial Foundation is recognizing the tenth anniversary of the Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial in Washington D.C. NAR served as a sponsoring organization of the memorial's construction.
"The right to live with dignity and without discrimination in access to housing was one of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.'s central beliefs in his dream where all Americans could truly be free," said Johnson. "We're pleased to join with partners in this critical conversation that furthers Dr. King's vision of democracy, justice, hope and love."
Documentarian and journalist Soledad O'Brien, who hosted Thursday's event, praised the commitment that The Memorial Foundation and NAR have made to building diverse and inclusive communities. She said it will require cooperation and collaboration from businesses, government and community groups to ensure the "Fair Housing Act is more than words on paper."
"Our society will not truly be equal until every family can live where they choose, no matter their race or background," O'Brien continued, noting that an individual's ZIP code is often a better indicator of their life expectancy than their genetic code. "The events of the past year have punctuated how deeply discrimination continues to divide our communities. These communities fare worse not only in wealth and income, but in education, health care, criminal justice and much more. This is why action is so important."
The National Association of Realtors® is America's largest trade association, representing more than 1.4 million members involved in all aspects of the residential and commercial real estate industries.
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