Communities have erupted in protest in the aftermath of the murders of George Floyd, Tony McDade, Sean Reed, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, Joseph Rosenbaum, Anthony Huber, and so many other innocent victims. This justified unrest is happening as our nation is facing a triple pandemic – the COVID-19 health crisis, the ensuing economic crisis, and the crisis of racism that has plagued us since before the country’s inception. It is the culmination of centuries of unfair and discriminatory practices, racial and ethnic violence, lack of enforcement of civil rights laws, systemic racism, and structural barriers that act as roadblocks to advancement for people of color. The protests are a mandate for the nation to deal honestly with the impediments that keep us from realizing our best ideals. They are a clarion call for us to construct a society that provides people with the freedom and support they need to achieve their fullest potential.
Because of entrenched and systemic residential segregation and structural inequality, where people live has become fundamental to the opportunities they have to succeed in life. Your address determines almost everything about you—your chances of graduating from high school or college; how likely you are to get arrested; whether or not you drink clean water or breathe fresh air; how much income you will earn; your net worth, credit score and access to home ownership; your likelihood of contracting or dying from COVID-19, and even how long you will live. Place is inextricably linked with opportunity because segregation is the bedrock of inequality and race-based policies passed over the centuries have embedded bias and inequity into every system of our society.
The opening session will lay the foundation for the remainder of the conference describing how this country can be transformed and how we can create a lasting Reconstruction. Featuring two of the nation’s leading voices on fairness, justice, racial equity, and fair housing, Wade Henderson and Lisa Rice will discuss what it will take for us to shed the cloak of racism and inequality and build a fair, just and prosperous society.
Former President, The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights
President and Chief Executive Officer, National Fair Housing Alliance
Homeownership has always been at the heart of the American dream. It provides stable environments for families and, since the inception of our nation, has been the primary way for people to build wealth. Research has shown homeownership contributes to increased civic engagement, better health, and improved educational outcomes for children.
Yet, far too many people find homeownership out of reach. The racial homeownership gap is not only growing but, at a 30-point gap, and is back to where it was in 1890. The depressed rate of homeownership in Communities of Color is beyond alarming, and the COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated housing and homeownership disparities. Moreover, challenges are growing for young adults who want to obtain stable homeownership. The gap is more acute among millennials of color; their homeownership rate is nearly 15% lower than their White counterparts’.
This session will bring together thought leaders to discuss the structural and systemic barriers driving these precipitous disparities. Panelists will highlight key research, policies, products, and innovations that are key to advancing workable solutions to eliminate the homeownership and racial wealth gap.
International Artist, Writer, Event Coordinator, and Educator
Essayist, Poet, and Activist
Federal investment in affordable housing and community development has a positive impact on every neighborhood and generates untold benefits for our society. Developing and preserving access to affordable housing helps families climb the economic ladder, encourages reinvestment in communities, and expands children’s opportunities to live in well-resourced neighborhoods. However, in cities throughout the U.S., the cost of building affordable housing exceeds that of building market-rate housing. Almost every community has a severe shortage of affordable housing options for its residents. Moreover, each year, the U.S. loses far more affordable units than it builds.
How do we address these major barriers to the collective well-being of our nation in a way that is both economical and equitable? This session will pave the way to the new (re)construction of effective policy implementation, the production and preservation of affordable housing, and on-the-ground partnerships necessary to foster a more prosperous society.