Joint Statement: Commitment to Diversity & Inclusion
The unconscionable death of George Floyd, the latest in a series of injustices, has stunned and angered communities across the globe. Throughout the country, and in our regions, millions of voices are crying out and demanding change to systemic and institutional racism. We once again face the stark reality that black Americans are not afforded the same access, opportunity, treatment or sense of security that their fellow citizens take for granted. AAGO and BAAA stand in solidarity with the black community and people of color as we grieve and determine the best path forward.
We can do better. We must do better.
The Apartment Association of Greater Orlando (AAGO) and the Bay Area Apartment Association (BAAA) are committed to providing an environment where people of all ethnicities, genders, ages, races, and orientations feel included, valued, and seen. The professionals that work within the apartment industry, and the residents who call our apartments home, represent a vibrant and diverse fabric of backgrounds and life experiences. This fabric is a major factor in what makes this industry, and our associations, so special and unique. It is incumbent upon each of us as individuals and collectively as associations, to demonstrate leadership and an absolute commitment to diversity and inclusion. We must play our part in providing access and opportunity for all current and future members of our associations.
Words without action can ring hollow.
AAGO & BAAA will demonstrate our commitment through action:
- Fair Housing, a law rooted in equal opportunity, training will be offered for free or at cost for all AAGO/BAAA members through the end of the year.
- We will clearly and openly articulate our values as organizations. One such value is that racism and discrimination will not have safe harbor in our ranks.
- Our Diversity and Inclusion Task Forces will conduct a thorough evaluation of our programs, leadership structures, and communications to ensure these values permeate the network. Our two organizations will share resources and information to ensure that all voices are heard.
- We will celebrate diversity of background, ethnicity, and opinion in our leadership structure. Leadership opportunities, and the path to leadership, will be clearly delineated and advertised to all members.
- We will host “crucial conversations” with experts and leaders to discuss the tough issues and empower members to cultivate a culture of inclusivity and diversity within their own organizations.
Watershed moments like these draw to the forefront the importance of collaborating to effectuate change. Our associations have long valued, championed and prioritized a culture of diversity and inclusion in our volunteer, programming, and leadership structure. We will continue to demonstrate leadership and greatly expand our efforts and resources, ensuring that we are a shining light in these dark days. You can stay abreast of changes and new information through our websites at www.AAGO.org and www.BAAAHQ.org. We welcome and value your engagement. If you would like to participate in the conversation, stay up to date, or volunteer your time and voice please click here to complete a brief interest survey.
Jimmy Chestnut, BAAA President
Lee Rogers, AAGO President
Ricardo Alicea, Chair, AAGO Diversity & Inclusion Task Force
Chanel Herrington & Jay Thompson, Co-Chairs, BAAA Diversity & Inclusion Task Force