So you’re ready to learn more about racism in America’s real estate industry.
Maybe you attended a Black Lives Matter event. Maybe you’ve started to notice that the neighborhoods in your city are starkly segregated and that Black, Indigenous, Latinx, and families of color seem to have a hard time building generational wealth.
Or maybe, like me when I first started this journey, you’ve just had a growing sense that the real estate industry is only helping the rich get richer, and you want to be part of creating a more equitable society.
Whatever your path here, you’ve arrived at the big question: What can I do? What can I do as a community member to create more access to homeownership for People of Color?
There is so much you can do. But where do you start?
You commit. And then you keep committing. As with anything you care about, you make it a priority and you work at it. You’ll continue to find new ways to be better, to do better.
The work I do has brought me to this place where I am committed to exploring and challenging the way racism is embedded within the real estate industry as a whole. I practice this work in a way that is rooted in justice, transparency, and accountability to those most marginalized. Part of the commitment is to continue educating myself. I want to share that education with you. The list of resources that I’ve curated for you is a great start to becoming effective allies to Black and Brown homebuyers.
But before you dive into the resources, remember that the process of unlearning, opening yourself up to new truths, and unpacking your biases is one that you can’t complete on your own. It’s crucial to engage in conversation and review what you’re taking in with someone you trust, someone who is willing to go on the journey with you and support you as you navigate it.
It may seem overwhelming, but it doesn’t need to be. Commit to engaging with one of these resources every week and put it on your calendar. When you have a plan, you are more likely to succeed.
It’s time for all of us to take responsibility for our education and our desire for justice to change the narrative.
Sara Alvarado* is available for workshops, teachings, facilitated conversations, video viewings and talkbacks, presentations, keynote speaking, panels, and regularly offer leadership circles, and courses for Realtors, Brokerages, and Associations. Visit this link for ways to work with me.
- Book: The Color of Law, A Forgotten History of How Our Government Segregated America, by Richard Rothstein
- Book: An Indigenous People’s History of the United States, by Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz
- Article: The Case for Reparations, by Ta-Nehisi Coates
- Article: This Is What Racism Sounds Like in the Banking Industry (JPMorgan employee investigation)
- Article: Black Poverty Is Rooted in Real-Estate Exploitation
- Article: Brokers Get Candid About Race in a New Study
- Video: Long Island Real Estate Agents Investigation (Newsday). Read the article or watch the 40-minute documentary (scroll down to the first video)
- Video: Race: The Power of An Illusion The House We Live In Video (3rd video) – 1 hour
- Video: Segregated by Design (17 minutes)
- Podcast: Code Switch (NPR)
- Podcast series: Seeing White (Scene on Radio)
Organizations to Follow
- Seek local Black-led organization for racial justice learning opportunities, partnerships, ways to contribute financially, and engage in the real issues in your community.
- PolicyLink (Housing): a national research and action institute advancing racial and economic equity
- NAREB: The National Association of Real Estate Brokers, Inc. (NAREB) was founded in Tampa, Florida, in 1947 as an equal opportunity and civil rights advocacy organization for African American real estate professionals, consumers, and communities in America.
- Commit to this free Conversation Challenge – 7 guided conversations about race that you can have as part of your neighborhood association, with a friend/family member, or a group of friends.
Taking it further
As you work your way through these resources, let them transform your daily habits. Start donating to Black-led organizations fighting for social justice. Look for opportunities to support Black-owned businesses in your community. Examine where your money goes—rent, taxes, grocery bills, whatever—and ask what good your money is doing in the world.
Learn about your own participation in the system by uncovering your own biases and internalized racism. Learn how white culture and white privilege impacts power dynamics in our relationships, our learned beliefs, and our socialization.
And finally, begin to question everything about the systems you are a part of. The resources in this list will start to open your eyes to the stories behind the injustices that we accept as normal. Don’t look away.
*Sara Alvarado has worked in the real estate industry for 20+ years as a Leasing Agent, REALTOR/Salesperson, Residential Broker/Owner, Real Estate Investor, multi-unit and commercial property owner, Real Estate Trainer, and Coach. Sara began working in the racial justice arena in 2014 and is the co-founder of Step Up: Equity Matters and is a trained facilitator, teacher, speaker, coach, and consultant with a way of speaking fiery passion with love.
“Sara Alvarado offers the real estate industry a wide range of knowledge and passion for real estate and social justice. Her work to deepen diversity and inclusion efforts for Realtors, Brokerages, and Associations is innovative and important work that we all need as the future of real estate continues to change. I highly recommend her insights and teachings.” ~James R. Imhoff, Jr, Chairman of First Weber Group, a Berkshire Hathaway Affiliate