Words matter.
They help us express grief and solidarity. They shape how we understand events and frame issues.
But words alone are not enough. We must also act.
At Housing Action Illinois, we stand with #BlackLivesMatter and the protesters marching throughout the state and country for racial justice. We have long known that racial justice demands fair, affordable, and accessible housing. Who lives where—and in what kind of home—is deeply constrained by systemic and individual discriminatory policies and practices that may have shifted forms but have persisted for centuries.
Our nation’s history of racist housing policies and practices is directly connected to today’s over-policing and disinvestment of Black and Brown communities, as well as the tragedy of how disasters like the COVID-19 pandemic disproportionately harm people of color. Controlling access to quality, affordable homes has underpinned racism for far too long, in far too many ways. Redlining in the 1930s denied Black households access to home mortgages and drew community lines along racial boundaries that still exist today. Individuals and families continue to be denied rental housing because of their race. Government and private investments and policies benefit majority White communities over everyone else, again and again. This has to change.
Today, Housing Action Illinois renews our commitment to advancing racial justice throughout our society, particularly by expanding access to affordable, good homes for all.
We commit to listening to communities of color and communities that have not received investment, and we commit to shaping our programs and policy agenda with this expertise.
We commit to raising racial equity issues with policymakers and people in power who make decisions that affect us all.
We commit to reevaluating our own organization’s policies and practices through a racial justice lens and identifying ways for our staff and Board to grow.
We commit to urging fellow housing and homelessness organizations to examine the inequities within our own collective programs and systems.
We commit to continual action. We commit to advancing racial justice and housing justice today, tomorrow, and all the days after, until we live in a society where everyone has a real opportunity to thrive.