What is Juneteenth?
Juneteenth commemorates the ending of slavery in the United States and the freedom of African Americans. On this day in 1865, two years after the formal issue of the Emancipation Proclamation, the last enslaved people living in Galveston, Texas, were finally informed they were free. Approximately 250,000 people were liberated. Imagine not knowing you were free for two years. Today, across the country, people of all races, nationalities, and religions join in acknowledging a period in our history that shaped and continues to influence our society today. Remembering the past is significant in order to make lasting improvements in our society today.
Why is it so important, and how has it affected homeownership rates today?
Al Edwards, a civil rights activist and former Houston legislator who helped make Juneteenth an official holiday stated, “Every year, we must remind successive generations that this event triggered a series of events that one by one defines the challenges and responsibilities of successive generations.” Black people still face discrimination today and are far more likely to face homelessness. According to the United States Census Bureau, while they make up 13 percent of the US population, more than forty percent of people without permanent homes are Black. Racialized housing policies have robbed several generations of Black households of the opportunity to build wealth and equity. We need to remember the past and understand the redlining and deed-restricted covenants that made it impossible for Black families to own homes. History cannot be forgotten. We must address the past and the widening homeownership gap to give everyone the same opportunity to achieve the American dream of owning a home.
As a real estate professional, it is your job to follow The Fair Housing Act and laws put in place to make sure people do not experience discrimination. They were established for a reason. Do you have diversity in your clientele and your staff? Are you trained to communicate with clients from various cultural backgrounds effectively? You need to not only be familiar with the existence of racism in the real estate market but continuously strive to provide equal opportunities for all and be proactive.