The National Association of REALTORS®, representing more than 1.4 million REALTORS® in diverse communities across the country fully embraces perspectives from all walks of life. NAR commits to bringing out the best in themselves, uncovering hidden talents and celebrating differences in day-to-day interactions. These beliefs are essential in serving its members, who help fulfill the dream of home and property ownership in America.
As your REALTOR® association, we are doing our part to identify opportunities for diversity and inclusion conversation and education, and to promote the practice of inclusion and equity among our leadership, members, staff and within the industry.
The following are a few examples of GCAAR’s work in this area.
GCAAR is invested in helping all individuals and families in our community achieve the dream of homeownership. To demonstrate our commitment, in April 2021 GCAAR and the nonprofit organization Capital Area Asset Builders (CAAB) launched a strategic partnership to offer a series of educational opportunities to help underprivileged individuals and families get on the path toward homeownership.
The three-year partnership features a series of real-time, online workshops in both the District and in Montgomery County. Each workshop offers one, hour-long class daily during a five-day period on relevant topics, taught in part by GCAAR’s REALTOR® and affiliate members as instructors.
Through the partnership, CAAB’s financial tools and resources will also be more broadly distributed to potential first-time homebuyers who may not otherwise receive them.
Established in 2021, the mission of the Diversity and Inclusion Committee aligns completely with our goals at GCAAR to identify opportunities for conversation and education, establish expectations of diversity and promote the practice of inclusion within our membership base and industry. The committee focuses its efforts on both personal growth and business development.
Our Diversity & Inclusion Committee has established GCAAR’s Diversity & Inclusion Champions Program to give our REALTOR® and affiliate members the opportunity to enhance their knowledge and understanding of diversity, equity and inclusion and to achieve personal growth and support their business. The program features three key diversity training elements, which we encourage all interested members to take part in - including completion of the At Home with Diversity (AHWD) certification course, NAR's Fairhaven fair housing simulation and NAR's Bias Override: Overcoming Barriers to Fair Housing video.
While in 2022 we will give strong preference to GCAAR committee applicants who have completed this program, beginning in 2023 with the board nomination process and selection of committee members, applicants will be required to become GCAAR Diversity & Inclusion Champions. We encourage all other members to do so as well.
History & Power of Real Estate webinar series
Soon after the tragedies and anti-discrimination protests that gained a national spotlight in 2020, GCAAR took action to continue the conversation about racism and discrimination – particularly as they relate to real estate. We launched the History & Power of Real Estate webinar series to generate a healthy discussion around the history of our nation’s legislative barriers to homeownership based on race – and how those barriers still affect today’s society, both nationally and in our local communities. To date, we’ve held five webinars in the series attracting more than 750 registrants, including both neighborhood history sessions and a presentation by Richard Rothstein, renowned author of “The Color of Law.”
Our Profession Sessions, offered exclusively to GCAAR members, bring important topics to the forefront for discussion in a virtual format – at no cost to our membership. A recent session brought in a representative from the Equal Rights Center to highlight developments in fair housing at the local and federal levels related to new protected identities in the region, along with new guidance from HUD about how it views discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity.
At Home with Diversity® courses
GCAAR regularly offers NAR’s At Home with Diversity® (AHWD) certification course at a deeply subsidized rate because we’re so passionate about encouraging our members to take the course. AHWD covers how to work effectively with diverse populations by developing business practices rooted in inclusion and equality to help buyers of all cultural backgrounds achieve the dream of homeownership. More than 300 members have participated in the course thus far.
Other NAR program promotions
In addition to offering AHWD, GCAAR regularly encourages members to become actively involved in NAR’s own diversity and inclusion initiatives. We actively promote the fall 2020 changes in the Code of Ethics prohibiting discriminatory speech and conduct; Fairhaven, NAR’s innovative training platform that helps REALTORS® identify, prevent and address discriminatory practices in real estate; implicit bias training and other important programs.
We are staunch advocates for fair housing-related legislation in both Montgomery County and the District of Columbia. We advocate for transparency and education on Montgomery County and the District of Columbia’s laws and rules as they relate to fair housing, so our members are continuously educated on them, and we seek to close any gaps in fair housing laws with sound legislative measures.
Strategic partnership, GCAAR and Capital Area Asset Builders:Diversity & Inclusion Champions Program