Real (Estate) Talk: The Courage to Advocate for Change with Elaine Gross

As featured in Inman News.

Did you know that we -- the National Association of REALTORS® -- are known as "America's largest trade association"?

Did you know we REALTORS® hired our first lobbyist in 1973, making it just under 50 years of experience?

Did you know that the national, formalized REALTOR® Political Action Committee began in 1969 and sometimes included an agenda of UN-fair housing?

“With great power, comes great responsibility,” Uncle Ben, Spiderman

Over the years, NAR has collectively shifted to advocate for fair housing (thankfully!). But there is always room for improvement. To that point, I personally have written about the uneasiness some of us still have supporting RPAC when historically (dating back to its inception in 1969) and arguably at times today, approved candidates and/or policies have not always encouraged fair and equitable housing (with some actively undermining it).

In this Real (Estate) Talk episode, I had the privilege to chat with the recently retired Elaine Gross, the Founding President of ERASE Racism, the civil rights organization based on New York’s Long Island. Yes, that Elaine Gross, who was working concurrently as the Newsday exposè on housing discrimination was unfolding and was a key expert witness during subsequent hearings.

We discuss:

  • How her inspiring work (along with her colleagues and partner organizations) led to the state of New York remarkably adopting “source of income” as a protected class

  • The words a real estate agent said to her that left a lingering, positive impact and why she sought him out when it was time to sell her personal home (hint: this is a good motto for all real estate pros)

  • Some lobbying priorities and/or ideal candidate platforms (not the actual people but the ideologies) that reflect the inclusion and protection of fair housing

  • How it only takes a few to champion fair housing to see change

  • How your state and local RPAC can help to erase racism (pun intended!) and other unfair housing practices

  • Why we need the news media to highlight more instances of unfair housing to facilitate fair housing

  • And so much more

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