The past week has been tremendously painful, eye-opening, and thought-provoking. The senseless and brutal killing of George Floyd, the latest tragic example of anti-Black violence by a police officer, has yet again brought to light the systemic racism that plagues our communities. Members of the Black community and communities of colour across Canada have for decades dealt with systemic racism, intolerance and police violence. Today, we stand in solidarity with the millions of Americans and Canadians who are speaking out and taking action in hopes to achieve what should be a basic human right and way of life for us all: equality.
I continue to ask myself, where do we go from here? This past week, I have listened. And, I have learned. I am still listening and learning. What can I, my Brokerage, our local Boards, our provincial Association and industry as a whole do to educate ourselves and ensure that equality is not just a concept we loosely subscribe to, but a concept that is fully entrenched in everything we do. In other words, “a way of life.”
I don’t have all the answers, but I have the will and desire, together with the entire OREA Board of Directors, to do whatever we can to drive positive change and dismantle the barriers that stand in the way of free and equitable societies and workplaces.
My commitment to OREA Members, our Member Boards, our staff and communities, is that OREA will do better. And while words are important, action is better.
- We know that our Membership is perhaps one of the most diverse anywhere in Canada. However, that diversity is not reflected in leadership roles across brokerages, franchises and at OREA. The OREA Board of Directors will be coming together this month to discuss ways that we can lead in supporting diversity, stemming discrimination in our profession, and elevating our visible minority Members within the profession to equal ground.
- We also pledge to champion a more inclusive vision of the Canadian dream of home ownership. Within our very own communities, we see racial segregation and a lack of equal access to affordable homes. One of our strengths is government relations, and as a provincial Association that represents the interests of Ontario REALTORS®, home owners, buyers and sellers we plan to leverage our strength and voice to fight for equal access to housing and strong, healthy communities.
- OREA values tolerance, diversity and inclusivity. We will look at training and resources for staff and volunteers on biases and diversity, expand our outreach opportunities and partnerships, especially those that are Black and BIPOC-led.
We have a lot of work ahead of us, and it will not be easy. Our journey to be better starts today and I am committed to action.
I know you are too.