One of the best ways to support diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) in Texas real estate is to work together. Some local associations of REALTORS® are creating DEI committees to make inclusivity a priority.
But that’s not the only way to make a difference. Here are examples of internal efforts and external programming that can start conversations.
Amplify Other Groups
The Amarillo Association of REALTORS® Diversity Committee encourages diversity in member involvement, inclusion, and leadership opportunities. Formed in January, the committee promotes and advances fair housing across all demographics.
“As one of our first DEI initiatives, we contacted many area organizations to find out how we can better serve their needs. We have also applied for an NAR grant to obtain funds to conduct a housing study in the Amarillo area,” the committee says.
Diversify Volunteers and Leadership
The Austin Board of REALTORS® Diversity Committee’s goal is to strengthen leadership and membership participation to mirror the region’s rich diversity and culture.
Following the association’s first diversity survey, ABoR adopted benchmarks and strategies to increase diversity among its volunteers and leaders. Committee members serve as ambassadors to allied multicultural real estate organizations, identify diversity and fair housing education needs and goals, and provide recommendations and programs toward ABoR’s goal.
The Collin County Association of REALTORS® Global Diversity Committee started in 2019. CCAR leadership saw a need for a group to look at diversity in the real estate industry and champion an inclusive, diverse environment.
CCAR’s Global Diversity Committee believes educational opportunities are the key to tackling DEI. During its Passport member event, guests visited tables representing different nations, sampled regional food, and asked questions of committee members from those countries.
At the beginning of 2020, CCAR unveiled a series of 26 videos regarding the importance of participating in the U.S. census. The videos feature members of the Global Diversity Committee providing information about the census in their native languages.
Reach Out to Members
The Corpus Christi Association of REALTORS® Diversity Committee started in January after four months of meetings. The committee is reaching out to members by offering continuing education and promoting training such as NAR’s Fairhaven fair housing simulation. It also shares fair housing videos and NAR tips and welcomes guest speakers. The committee believes no one should feel left behind.
“We are also currently looking for local diverse organizations who would like to partner with us,” the committee says.
The Greater El Paso Association of REALTORS® formed an Equal Opportunity Committee in 2005. The committee creates education awareness programs, communicates changes in fair housing laws, and helps implement fair housing procedures.
“We made fair housing a central part of our recent virtual education day by hosting Window to the Law: Fair Housing Update. The committee chair actively encourages our membership to take advantage of the fair housing materials and videos available through NAR’s Right Tools, Right Now, and shares these resources through our weekly newsletter and Facebook page,” the committee says.
The Greater Fort Worth Association of REALTORS® Diversity Committee works to increase association participation among diverse REALTORS®, integrate key stakeholder diversity groups into the life and mission of the association, and expand awareness of the diversity of REALTORS® among consumers and consumer groups.
Committee leaders saw the need to raise the profile of the committee and its activities. The committee produced a video encouraging members to participate in the 2020 census, which highlighted the diversity of the membership, including those with different language backgrounds. The committee also began hosting a series of DEI panels.
Ask for Advice
The Greater McAllen Association of REALTORS® Diversity and Inclusion Committee got started in August 2020.
“The pandemic and racial unrest happening throughout the country helped encourage 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,” according to the organization.
The McAllen committee is in the process of acquiring data from local leaders and has asked local, state, and national REALTOR® groups for advice moving forward.
Listen to Stakeholders
The Houston Association of REALTORS® formed a Diversity and Inclusion Task Force in 2020.
“Several things spurred us to start the group. Obviously, the murder of George Floyd opened up many people’s eyes to the systemic racism that exists in society as a whole. Both the Newsday investigation in Long Island and a professor’s research that revealed similar patterns in the Houston area pointed to the impact of racism in our industry. It was time for us to bring all the diversity-related projects and programs we have done in the past together into one integrated strategy,” the association says.
HAR is being deliberate and intentional in its efforts, and the task force is initially focusing on racism. “We are taking it slowly and trying to really listen, so we can develop long-term ways to make sure our members, consumers, and staff are all treated respectfully and equitably. The task force is identifying priorities for member education, engagement of leaders, and partnership with other industry groups.”
Make Diversity Your Business
The MetroTex Association of REALTORS® Diversity Committee explores how businesses and governments respond to diversity issues. The committee, formed in 2010, also explores multiple housing programs and options to advance the availability of homeownership.
The association itself has a diversity mission statement, which states: “We, the members of the MetroTex Association of REALTORS®, Inc. recognize diversity as essential to achieving our mission of providing the highest standards of goods and services to our members and to the public in an ethical and professional manner. For us, diversity includes race, color, national origin, religion, familial status, disability, sexual orientation, culture, ethnicity, gender, economic status, and age, all of which enrich our organization and the real estate industry.”
The association focuses on building relationships and partnerships with industry partners, affiliates, and more.
Quantify Your Goals
The San Antonio Board of REALTORS® Diversity Committee formed task groups to focus on community influence, board diversity, fair housing, and techniques for diverse members to work together.
SABOR’s task groups worked on highlighting education from the city of San Antonio, hosting the At Home with Diversity training, pushing for diversity within the board of directors, partnering with the Professional Development Committee to host a housing opportunity series, and partnering with Centro San Antonio to clean up downtown following protests surrounding the racial injustices of 2020.
Ready to Start Your Committee?
Advice from those who have done it
“Do your research and utilize the resources available from NAR and Texas REALTORS®. There are so many existing resources available that can help you make those positive contributions.”
—Amarillo Association of REALTORS®
“Listen to your membership. Encourage their feedback and voice in everything you do. And look around the table to make sure you have diverse representation as you solicit that feedback.”
—Austin Board of REALTORS®
“Ask questions. It all starts by asking questions to learn about other cultures, what areas in the community may be underserved, and how best to meet the needs of those you may be unfamiliar with.”
—Collin County Association of REALTORS®
“Involvement is very important. Always ask for suggestions and comments from your membership so that the committee can provide the tools, tips, and updates on important topics going on in today’s world.”
—Corpus Christi Association of REALTORS®
“By forming committees and working together once a month, we can accomplish our goals of solving issues in the news, events, education, real estate, and politics. We must be united in the cause.”
—Greater El Paso Association of REALTORS®
“It’s important to be willing to have difficult and uncomfortable discussions about the industry and association in order to make progress.”
—Greater Fort Worth Association of REALTORS®
“Don’t let the fear of a few vocal members stop you from taking action. Don’t let walls of resistance keep you from taking the next steps. Change is needed and it will only happen when we push past the resistance and fear.”
—Greater McAllen Association of REALTORS®
“Include people representing different viewpoints. Encourage members to share their experiences and learn from each other. Not all members will feel the same way about racism, so it’s important to hear all voices. That being said, know you can’t make everyone happy. Have the resolve to take whatever steps are necessary to further diversity in real estate. Be able to explain how more diversity contributes to a profitable business, a better association, a healthier community, and a better economy.”
—Houston Association of REALTORS®
“Don’t be afraid to make new friends. As associations, we all have similar missions although we serve different communities, and we must be able to find ways to highlight the strengths and benefits of each association in a way that adds value for members and increases awareness of the goodwill of REALTORS®.”
—MetroTex Association of REALTORS®
“Diversity and inclusion in real estate begins with an open and honest conversation. Giving everyone a chance to have a seat at the table, then pulling up a chair for your fellow member is key.”
—San Antonio Board of REALTORS®