Interfaith Action Network Monthly
October 2020

Ready, Set, Action
Happy Fall, everyone.

The COVID-19 crisis is entering its seventh painful month, but the cooling temperatures and falling leaves remind us that the world continues to turn, time continues to pass, and the work of fighting injustice continues to challenge us. As New York begins taking cautious steps toward reopening, the Fair Housing Justice Center (FHJC) continues its investigative, policy, and outreach work. Here’s a look at some of our recent activities, and some suggestions for ways to get involved.

Below are some educational resources we recommend for you to learn more about fair housing.
Despite the broad success of FHJC and other organizations in fighting housing discrimination, the persistence of widespread segregation can sometimes be discouraging. But this month’s book recommendation, Moving Toward Integration: The Past and Future of Fair Housing by Richard H. Sander, Yana A. Kucheva, and Jonathan M. Zasloff provides some hope for those who fear that the battle to integrate America’s cities cannot be won. Professors of law, sociology, history, and economics at UCLA and CCNY, the authors write that the pessimism surrounding desegregation in housing stems from an inadequate understanding of how segregation has evolved and how policy interventions have already set many metropolitan areas on the path to integration. The book takes an in-depth look at the history and implementation of fair housing laws, and examines why they had a much larger impact in some parts of the country than others. The authors provide compelling evidence that reducing residential segregation is the best way to reduce overall racial inequality, and demonstrate how public policy can align with demographic trends to achieve broad housing integration within a generation. In these polarized times, Moving Toward Integration proposes a bipartisan anti-poverty, pro-opportunity agenda that every American can champion. Click HERE for more info.
FHJC Executive Director Fred Freiberg was among the panelists for Creating a Home for Everyone: How Can Realtors Promote Integration?, a webinar hosted by The Open Communities Alliance (OCA) and The Greater Hartford Association of Realtors. Freiberg joined Bryan Green from the National Association of REALTORS® and OCA’s Erin Boggs for a dynamic conversation about the historic role of the real estate industry in creating and sustaining housing segregation, as well as concrete steps the industry must take to undo the damage it’s done. The event was hosted by OCA’s Taniqua Huguley, and is available for streaming online HERE.

Time to get out and advocate in your community! Below are some advocacy updates and ways that you can get involved.
In the wake of last year’s groundbreaking Newsday story Long Island Divided three New York State Senate committees held joint public hearings into housing discrimination last December. At that time, only one of the 68 real estate agents and companies that were invited to testify actually attended the hearing. Subpoenas were issued, and despite the pandemic, the second phase of the hearing finally took place last month. (Note – agents from Realty Connect USA defied the subpoena and were ordered to appear at another session the following week.) Despite Newsday’s clear evidence of steering and other unequal treatment, nearly all the agents and companies refused to apologize. Instead they defended or shrugged off their actions, alternately claiming they didn’t know what steering was while insisting they never engaged in it. Most dishearteningly, not one of the agents had been disciplined by their firms.
FHJC’s Fred Freiberg and ERASE Racism’s Elaine Gross were the only participants invited to give testimony at both hearings. Freiberg pointed out that the “implicit bias” excuse given by several of the agents was contradicted by their “not-so-implicit” actions. Gross described the agents attitudes as appalling. “But,” she added, “I hope the state will not appall us further” by not taking action to address the problem. Legislation is currently pending introduction in the legislature, and FHJC is preparing to support several of the bills. Stay tuned for opportunities to join us in pressuring the legislature to make some real change in the fight to end segregation in New York. The September 17th hearing can be viewed HERE, and the final testimony session HERE.
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:
On Saturday October 17, FHJC will take part in the First Presbyterian Church in the City of New York’s third annual advocacy training day, Becoming a Matthew 25 Church: Tools for Advocacy. This year's event, a collaboration between First Presbyterian and the Presbytery of New York City’s Justice Ministries Committee, will be a day of online worship and workshops focused on social justice. The event begins with a worship service at 9:00 AM. The Rev. Adriene Thorne, pastor of the First Presbyterian Church of Brooklyn will be the preacher. Register today at:
This newsletter is sent to all FHJC friends and supporters. If you are interested in hearing more about our work from a faith-based perspective, please consider joining the Interfaith Action Network, if you haven’t already done so. The Interfaith Action Network is comprised of diverse religious congregations and faith communities, ordained clergy and lay leaders who share a commitment to fair housing and willingness to take action to address fair housing issues and concerns as they arise. Sign up for the Network HERE.
“Every proposed reform, every moral deed, is to be tested by whether and to what extent it contributes to the realization of the Beloved Community"

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