NAIOP San Francisco Bay Area joins other organizations and companies in condemning the recent racial violence and discrimination that this country has witnessed. We are proud that so many Americans have come together to protest this violence and to lay witness to desired change.
Our collective condemnation is the easiest step for us to take; the fact that it feels profound is incredibly sad and telling of how distant we are – individually and as a group – from the reality that our fellow citizens, neighbors, colleagues and friends confront in their lives. We have consistently failed to live up to this country’s stated ideals, and we need to do better.
In 2020, sleeping in your bed at night, going for a jog, birdwatching in the world’s most famous park, or even being arrested should not result in death or racial harassment. However, our members of color would knowingly nod that these documented recent events are not new, they are not aberrations, and they are not the product of a few “bad apples.” This is the America in which they live and work.
This separation and disconnect – literal and figurative – are products of generations of actions and policy-making that lead us to today. This is not a recent phenomenon. Many of us are just talking about it for the first time, and it is uncomfortable and awkward. It should be. We need to keep talking about it.
The actions that we have not witnessed cannot and should not be easily dismissed as something that happens to other people, to people with different politics, or to those who live in other parts of the country. Racism happens here: in California, in the Bay Area, and in San Francisco. Daily.
Each of us needs to acknowledge that we are a product of this system, consciously or unconsciously. That feels harsh, but even if we ourselves are not overtly racist, most of us benefit by not having to think about blending in or needing to explain ourselves. We have benefitted and continue to benefit from a set of scales tilted in our favor. This is the definition of privilege. This is true no matter our individual or familial circumstances, how hard we have worked, or what we have overcome to get to our place in life.
However, since a system is a product of our collective energy and beliefs, each of us can be part of the solution. If each of us no longer accepts the status quo, then real lasting change will occur. This is the enduring challenge and the difficult part to moving forward – because to change systemic racism, we need concerted, collective action by the many that bends the accepted narrative.
At a local level, the NAIOP San Francisco Bay Area Chapter has been committed to improving and growing its contributions and innovations – the Real Estate Challenge, Young Professionals Group, Executive Development program, CREATE, and the Inclusion, Diversity, Equity, and Accountability (I.D.E.A.) Committee – but we recognize these are not enough, and that much more needs to be done if we want the Bay Area and our community to lead the way and be all that it should be.
As Chapter leadership, we acknowledge this challenge and commit to listening, learning, and acting. We commit to our members that we will identify “best practices” that we can all incorporate into our lives and companies. We commit to finding partner organizations and exploring programs to which we will dedicate resources to help change society to be more inclusive and benefit all of us. In addition to financial resources, we commit to sharing our time and knowledge and, at a minimum, to prioritize the following initiatives:
- Creating inclusive hiring and career development programs
- Evaluating and ending discriminatory lending and credit practices
- Supporting Black-owned businesses financially
- Evaluating and ending land use and environmental practices that negatively impact lower socioeconomic communities
- Advocating for CEQA reform to enable more housing to be built closer to employment centers, most importantly in our inner suburbs near transit
We commit to continuing this conversation and doing our part, and we invite you to work with us. It is time for change.
NAIOP San Francisco Bay Area Chapter Board of Directors
Dave Karol, President 2020
Adam Lasoff, President-Elect 2021
Richard Morisky, Treasurer
Cori English, Secretary
Alison Trejo, Executive Director
Jay Atkinson, Past President
Drew Hess, Past President
Alex Mast, Past President
Lauren Young, Past President
Inclusion, Diversity, Equity and Accountability (I.D.E.A.) Committee
Margo Bradish, Chair