The Galveston Association of REALTORS®, GAR, represents numerous REALTORS® from diverse backgrounds and communities. The DEI Committee was created to help ensure and reinforce the principles of inclusive collaboration and respect for and among our colleagues and community members. GAR embraces perspectives from all walks of life—regardless of race, ethnicity, gender, religion, age, sexual orientation, gender identity, disabilities or impairments, national origin, socioeconomic status, or political affiliation. The committee strives to encourage members to do the same, so that they can serve the community, all while helping clients to achieve their dreams of property ownership.
When was your diversity group formed and how is it structured?
At the GAR Board of Directors meeting, June 17, 2020, the directors approved the creation of the President’s Diversity Advisory Group, DAG, and nominated seven members to serve on the committee. It became known at the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, DEI, Committee in the fall of 2021. It currently has one chairman, one vice chairman, and 5 members.
What was the catalyst that started it?
The president and members of the GAR Board were discussing the diversity in the Galveston community. With knowledge and informative articles from NAR and TR, the board felt it was “past time” to have a DAG/DEI committee to help inform and educate our GAR membership about issues dealing with diversity, equity and inclusion.
How is your group tackling diversity, equity and inclusion?
We have a $500 scholarship, awarded four times per year, for individuals pursuing a career in any type of field that involves real estate. The scholarship is for individuals that are part of the populations described in our mission statement.
Our DEI committee recently had a field trip to a Hindu Temple, in Stafford, TX, and was informed about the culture and religion of the Hindu religion.
This summer of 2022, our committee members are encouraged to read a book, Caste, by Isabel Wilkerson, which was a recommended reading selection from NAR.
Our GAR/DEI is promoting Juneteenth celebrations that are being held here locally in Galveston, TX.
We have a FB page for GAR’s DEI Committee. Hopefully, this will become more active in the future.
What’s one piece of advice you’d share with other local associations or members who want to make positive contributions to further diversity in real estate?
Educate yourselves and get involved. We want to change the perception and face of real estate professionals in Galveston. You have to make it a priority, not just talk about it, but take action.