August 9, 2018

To Create Communities Where Everyone Can Thrive, We Must Confront Racism & Hate

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Challenging hate and intolerance to create communities where everyone can thrive.

One of the reasons I’m so energized to lead Enterprise and work with all of our partners, is that I’m constantly surrounded and inspired by people who genuinely care – about the well-being of families, the success of communities, and the future of the country we all call home.

This makes it all the more disturbing to witness divisive events, hate-filled rhetoric and racism when they rear their ugly heads. It is sickening and unconscionable.

As part of our mission to connect people to opportunity, we must support the elements that are necessary to succeed in life. We know that an affordable, stable home is essential; so is access to jobs, education, health care and transit. And so too is a climate of openness and acceptance, where people are not held back and harmed because of how they look or where they come from.

As leaders, we are responsible for challenging hate and intolerance to create communities where everyone can thrive. I’m proud of Enterprise’s commitment to Racial Equity Here, a national movement of more than 200 organizations committed to advancing racial equity. This includes clear, practical steps to move us towards a future where race no longer determines what someone can achieve.

Our involvement was driven by our Advancing Racial Equity Working Group, which is helping us normalize the conversation around racial equity and enhance both our internal capacity and external relationships to influence the necessary systems change.

Enterprise is dedicated to fair housing outcomes and undoing the harm inflicted on people of color by decades of discriminatory lending practices. A technical assistance provider, we work with HUD and localities across the country on their Assessments of Fair Housing (AFHs) to identify and eliminate barriers to integration.

For more than two years, we’ve worked with social impact firm Designing the WE on their Undesign the Redline interactive exhibit, which will travel to several of our markets this fall and into 2019 to generate discussion on the grave impact of systemic racist housing policies and what we can do to right this injustice.

We are taking a hard look at ourselves as an organization. Driven by our Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) director, Dr. Carmen Phelps, and DEI Council, we are working to become better and stronger as a diverse, inclusive workplace where all employees are empowered to succeed.

There is nothing easy about confronting bias in ourselves and hate in the world – but this is essential to bring opportunity home for everyone.

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