Interfaith Action Network Monthly
June 2020

Ready, Set, Action
The combined effects of the coronavirus pandemic and the demonstrations in response to the continued mistreatment and murder of African-American men and women are shaking our country to its core. Amid all the upheaval, the Fair Housing Justice Center continues its work, fighting to eliminate housing discrimination and to foster open, inclusive, accessible communities.

Like so many people of conscience across the country and around the world, we are appalled by the recent killings of George Floyd and others. Click HERE to read FHJC’s statement condemning the murders, our support for Black Lives Matter, and a renewed call to action to end housing discrimination and systemic racism.

In these most uncertain times, we send our best wishes for the health and security of all our friends and supporters. Please stay safe, everybody.
Below are some educational resources we recommend for you to learn more about fair housing.
With all the disturbing, stressful events currently swirling around us, parents are rightfully concerned about the impact on children. Topics like racism and discrimination can be challenging to discuss with our kids. This month’s book recommendation is actually a children’s book, The Fair Housing Five by The Greater New Orleans Fair Housing Action Center. Samaria and her friends like everything about their clubhouse except the haunted house across the street. But when Samaria and her mother need to find a place to live, they realize they are dealing with a much bigger problem than ghosts or monsters. Together, the friends take creative action against housing discrimination in their community. Packed with delightful illustrations, the book offers a gentle story of a diverse group of friends working together to solve a problem, a hopeful message at this uncertain time.
This month’s film recommendation is the 2019 documentary Owned: A Tale of Two Americas. Filmmakers Giorgio Angelini and Maggie Burns trace the ways in which America’s postwar racist housing policies combined with boom-and-bust realities of the for-profit housing market to create our current inequitable, unworkable system. Through the stories of a retired New York City cop, an eccentric Orange County realtor, and an aspiring developer/activist in Baltimore, Owned reveals how the crash of suburbia and urban unrest are not unrelated – they are two sides of the same coin. MSNBC’s Chris Hayes called this award-winning documentary “A freakin’ great film.” Owned is now streaming on Amazon Prime and is available for rent on most digital platforms. Click HERE to learn more.
The FHJC’s mission continues even during the pandemic. In May, we filed a new federal lawsuit alleging disability discrimination at three newly constructed apartment buildings in Westchester County. An FHJC investigation in late 2018 identified numerous violations of accessibility requirements in the building’s design and construction. These requirements have been in place for nearly 30 years, yet they are routinely ignored by developers, architects and others. Click HERE to read details of the lawsuit.
Time to get out and advocate in your community! Below are some advocacy updates and ways that you can get involved.
Impassioned protests, outraged social media posts, phone calls and emails to elected officials… But don’t forget that OTHER method of political self-expression, the VOTE! When We All Vote is a non-profit, nonpartisan organization Launched in 2018 by co-chairs Michelle Obama, Tom Hanks, Lin-Manuel Miranda, Janelle Monae, Chris Paul, Faith Hill and Tim McGraw. Its mission is to increase participation in every election and close the race and age voting gap by changing the culture around voting. Visit their website to “squad up” and make sure every single eligible voter is registered and ready to vote for the 2020 elections.
The FHJC is a proud member of the New York State Fair Housing Network, a coalition of fair housing and civil rights organizations working together to advance the cause of fair housing across the Empire State. The network recently submitted a letter to several state lawmakers offering comments, criticism and support for various fair housing related bills currently making their way through the legislature. Among these bills is S7625, sponsored by State Senator Anna Kaplan. The proposed legislation “sets up a fair housing testing program to identify possible discrimination in the housing market,” and has the full support of the network. The state senate’s website shows the complete text of the bill, and offers an opportunity to add your support. Click HERE to read more.
Looking to learn more about fair housing advocacy? Check out the ADVOCACY section of our Fair Housing Toolkit. You’ll find a clear breakdown of fair housing policy goals, the guiding principles of our policy work at the FHJC. You’ll also find a list of fair housing policy issues that still need to be addressed. Finally, there’s our 30 WAYS YOU CAN ADVANCE FAIR HOUSING, with suggestions on everything from sponsoring seminars and screenings, to simply getting to know your neighbors.
Building the Beloved Community
Want to get involved in the Building the Beloved Community interfaith initiative in some other way? Below are some updates from our interfaith initiative:
The killing of George Floyd and others has been uniting people across the country and around the world who are lifting their voices in protest, including religious leaders from different faith traditions. In a sharp contrast to the protest movements of the 1960s, leaders from conservative denominations and congregations are joining the call to acknowledge and eliminate systemic racism. Click HERE to read a story from Reuters about religious diversity in today’s renewed outcry for civil rights.
We launched this initiative in 2018 in commemoration of the 50 th anniversary of the passage of the Fair Housing Act in the immediate aftermath of the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. To learn more about the initiative, watch this series of videos in which we ask a diverse group of civil rights and religious leaders to explain what the beloved community means to them. Also, watch and share our " Building the Beloved Community - A Renewed Call to Action " video to learn more about why now is the time to make fair housing a living reality for all.
“[America] has failed to hear that large segments of white society are more concerned about tranquility and the status quo than about justice and humanity.”

- Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Fair Housing Justice Center | 30-30 Northern Blvd., Suite 302, Long Island City, NY 11101
| (212) 400 - 8201 | (212) 400 - 8203 |