Leaders from the Raleigh Regional Association of REALTORS® and the Durham Regional Association of REALTORS® signed a memorandum of understanding on Friday, December 4, 2020 to work together for the exchange of ideas, facilitation of networking and educational events, and to provide other meaningful benefits to their respective members and communities in the area of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI).
Present at the signing were Wallace Peiffer, the 2020 DRAR President, Lewis Grubbs, the 2020 RRAR President, Larry Terry, the 2020 RRAR Diversity Committee Chair, and Sharon Sunkel, the 2021 DRAR Diversity Chair.
The two organizations, representing more than 10,000 REALTORS® and industry partners in the Triangle region, will begin 2021 by working to explore and promote opportunities for DEI training between its members for the advancement of inclusion and equality in housing and development, the enforcement of the standards of professionalism and Code of Ethics in the real estate industry, and working to host collaborative meetings and educational events.
“It makes a powerful statement to our respective association members when we are able to work collaboratively within our region for the advancement of our industry and communities,” said RRAR President Lewis Grubbs. “These partnerships are especially critical right now as we work to address equality and fair access to housing within our growing cities. We want to make sure our association remains as open and inclusive to all our members as they can be, and that each of them feel like they are able to become engaged with and make the association their home.”
Promoting fair and equitable housing is one of the core pillars of the REALTOR® Code of Ethics. Recently the National Association of REALTORS® made important updates to its 100-year-old Code of Ethics and association core standards in the area of DEI and addressing hateful and discriminating speech.
“Recently the real estate industry has made a big and powerful statement that it is going to take a more hands-on approach to addressing systemic discrimination and steering that sadly still exists across our country when it comes to obtaining and accessing housing,” said RRAR CEO Andrew Sims. “I am proud of our REALTOR® leaders taking a proactive role to making sure our respective organizations are true leaders in these efforts not only here in the Triangle, but across the entire state of North Carolina and the country.”
The two Associations will begin working with their respective Diversity Committees to plan panels, webinars, and seminars on fair lending practices, working with the public and private sector, the history of fair housing in America, and hosting the At Home with Diversity designation.
RRAR recently formed a Presidential Advisory Group (PAG) with a mission to create an ongoing collaborative space for members of RRAR to share their own personal experiences and feelings of discrimination within the real estate industry, and to facilitate idea sharing on how RRAR can better foster more inclusivity at the association to develop leaders within the real estate community.
“This PAG's make up touched every country of origin, faith, identity, and affiliation we could find,” Grubbs said. “It was so amazing, and frankly life changing for many of us, to see the true mosaic of cultures that exists within our membership. I am so proud of the very real and honest conversations that took place within this group of REALTORS® over several months and the ideas they generated.”
The Board of Directors for the RRAR will be hearing several recommendations from the PAG that will become part of the association’s strategic plan moving forward.
For more information about the RRAR and its work in the areas of DEI, visit www.RRAR.com/Together.