Monday marked the beginning of the 28-day-long celebration of Black History Month in the Americas. Established in 1926 by Carter G. Woodson as Negro History Week, the week of recognition was expanded and renamed Black History Month in the 1970s. Today, Black History Month is officially celebrated during February in the United States and Canada; and during October in Ireland, the Netherlands, and the United Kingdom.
In honor of Black History Month, in the coming weeks, we will highlight the many achievements of ULI’s African American members and projects with notable impact on the black community. In addition, in the spirit of this month, we would like to highlight what we have done to continue to promote Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion for ULI and the Real Estate Industry. The activities highlighted below are only a snapshot of the work occurring in the institute to foster change.
- In the Fall, we launched the ULI/REAP Virtual Academy and applications are currently being received for the Spring session which begins March 2021. To learn more about our partnership with REAP, please read our Urban Land recap article.
- During the 2020 ULI Virtual Fall Meeting, a three-part series entitled, “Access to Capital” outlined challenges faced by Black developers. You can read the article about the series in Urban Land and view the sessions directly on Knowledge Finder.
- Our District Councils are deploying new DEI focused programming like the 21-Day Equitable Development Challenge. Hosted by ULI Memphis and RegionSmart in 2020, the goal of the program is to spend time in personal reflection, and in groups to identify real actions we can take in our companies, and as a community to address inequities in the real estate industry.
- In November, ULI Washington, New York, Philadelphia, and Boston worked together to provide an event with Dr. Andre Perry, fellow at the Brookings Institution, and author of Know Your Price: Valuing Black Lives and Property in America’s Black Cities. Using both quantitative research and his own life story, Dr. Perry explores the social and economic consequences of systemic racism that have devalued Black people, their assets, and communities.
- ULI’s Real Estate Diversity Initiative (REDI) was first launched 12 years ago by ULI Colorado. Since its inception, REDI, has become a model within the Institute for fostering education and career opportunities for people of color and women. The program continues to grow nationally as it is adopted by more District Councils. Read more about REDI here.
Finally, last summer, ULI acknowledged that the history of urban planning and development in the United States has included racist practices and caused both economic and social harm to our Black communities for generations. We continue to believe that current and future industry actions can—and must—remedy mistakes, thereby creating access and fostering unity. The best way to effect changes within the industry is for ULI to lead by example. To that end, we will continue to create programs that facilitate dialogue about issues of race and equity, and lead to tangible change.
Given the scale of systemic racism in our work, we recognize a great task lies ahead. However, we remain firmly committed to working across the real estate industry to ensure our communities are equitable by design.
To learn more about land use and racism:
- Segregated by Design. This powerful 18-minute video examines the forgotten history of how our federal, state and local governments unconstitutionally segregated every major metropolitan area in America through law and policy.
Additional resources available at Real Estate and Social Equity | ULI Americas
For additional information about ULI Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, contact [email protected].