When was your diversity group formed and how is it structured?
It was informally formed by one of our members, Myssie Cardenas Barajas, at the beginning of 2020 and was approved as a council of our association’s Board of Directors in August of 2020.
What was the catalyst that started it?
In 2019, Myssie Cardenas Barajas was appointed to serve on the Texas REALTORS® Diversity Committee. After attending several meetings and speaking with REALTOR® colleagues about the challenges they faced, she approached our board president and CEO about the possibility of adding a Diversity and Inclusion Committee at our association. While there was support for the initiative, there was also some initial concern about the need in our area—our market is diverse and not predominantly white. However, the pandemic and racial unrest happening throughout the country helped encouraged our leadership to be proactive and make it a priority. The executive leadership recognized a need to better reflect the community that the association serves.
How is your group tackling diversity, equity, and inclusion?
We are in the process of acquiring data from local leaders. We have reached out to NAR, Texas REALTORS®, and other local associations to get guidance on moving forward. We are hoping to host a Leadership with Diversity class and host a video conversation with Bill Dedman, a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist who investigates racial discrimination in real estate. We are working on some exciting solutions to bring more minorities into the real estate industry, and we are actively recruiting leaders to serve at the local, state, and national level.
What advice would you share with others who want to make positive contributions to further diversity in real estate?
Don’t let the fear of a few vocal members stop you from taking action. Don’t let the walls of resistance keep you from take taking the next steps. Change is needed, and it will only happen when we push past the resistance and fear.