Calls for justice against racism and police brutality have manifested in the form of protests all around the U.S. after George Floyd, a black man in Minneapolis, lost his life after a white police officer kept his knee on Floyd's neck for over eight minutes during an attempted arrest.
Nationwide, U.S. residents have responded by taking the message to the streets and on social media, real estate included.
"The RISMedia family sends our sincere sympathies to George Floyd and the Floyd family," says RISMedia Founder and CEO John Featherston. "We believe the entire real estate industry is united in mourning the senseless taking of George Floyd's life. We all hope and pray that his tragic death will ultimately serve to be a catalyst in helping our nation and world move forward and to heal."
Here's what the industry is saying:
President Vince Malta released the following statement:
"The shocking, senseless death of George Floyd is tragic. Our deepest sympathies are with the Floyd family and other families who understand and feel this pain and grief. Our neighbors in the communities where we work and live across America should feel safe and free from discrimination.
As longtime champions of fair housing, equality and inclusion are among NAR's most cherished values. NAR is committed to leading the way on policies that address racial injustice and that build safe and inclusive communities. Building the future begins with equal access to housing and opportunity for all.
We appreciate all you do as REALTORS® to listen, learn and work with others to be a part of the solution. As leaders in your communities, America's 1.4 million REALTORS® are active participants in promoting equality, inclusion and acceptance. We welcome your input and thoughts on how we can improve our communities together."
The following statement was sent to the Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices and Real Living network from Gino Blefari, CEO of HomeServices of America, Chris Stuart, CEO of HSF Affiliates LLC, Allan Dalton, CEO of Real Living Real Estate and Senior VP of Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices, and Teresa Palacios Smith, Vice President of Diversity & Inclusion at HSF Affiliates.
"Today our country cries. We mourn for the senseless death of George Floyd and all of those who have suffered under the cruelty of the injustices of police brutality and racism. We mourn for the family as they grieve the death of their son, and brother. We mourn for the communities and the innocent who have been affected by the anger of those who can no longer withhold their voices. We are saddened to see the destruction and violence that has affected so many cities and pray for restraint, peace and unity. It is these times when we must call for calm and for human kindness.
We are all joined together in seeking to understand and react to the events over the past week, the dialogue and reflection resulting from the national situation is important. While we each process the news and social impact in our search to understand the complex issues that surround this critical time in our nation's history, it is more important now than ever before that we join together in uplifting and enriching an industry which is welcoming, supportive and inclusive.
We are beacons to our communities, and it's critical that we continue to provide the opportunity of home ownership fairly and without bias. We are hopeful that we can all leverage our collective positions in the real estate industry to lead with empathy, compassion and resolve.
We want you to know that we are here for you today, tomorrow and forever.
We thank you all for your dedication, understanding, and professionalism.
President and CEO Ryan Schneider posted the following message on the company's Twitter account:
"Realogy in no way condones or tolerates racism or discrimination. We have the opportunity and responsibility to do more, both in our communities and within our own company. We have demonstrated that when we come together, we can make a difference, and we can leverage this same powerful force now."
CEO Adam Contos released the following statement:
"The world is hurting right now. The brutal killings of George Floyd and too many others before him have shaken us all to the injustices we must face and work together to change.
As a leader in business, it's important that the community hears that we stand together for equality and kindness. RE/MAX is committed to supporting homeownership and equal rights for all. We believe in community and we take fair housing very seriously. But right now, we must question whether that is enough. Today I ask how we—130,000 professionals across 110 countries—can be not only real estate agents, but agents of change.
It's also important I address one fact around this: both Derek Chauvin and his wife were once affiliated with a RE/MAX franchise. Derek was a team member and independent contractor with a franchise from November 2016 to April of 2018. Neither are affiliated with RE/MAX in any way today.
As many people know, I once served as a police officer. I became a Deputy Sheriff in 1993 and served until 2003 because of my passion for helping people. I loved being an officer. I loved helping protect and serve my community. And I appreciate all the officers who continue to do that in a way that upholds the oath that we took and are standing with their community to make it a better place. After seeing the horrific footage from Minneapolis, I can say confidently that this tragedy was contrary to the training I received as an officer, and wrong on a human level.
We have a lot of work ahead of us to bring healing. I'm asking our membership to listen, learn and lead with love and kindness. Listen to those hurting and hear them. Learn how to be a better ally. And be leaders within your communities, with empathy, kindness and love for all.
We will continue to partner with minority and advocacy organizations within our industry to educate and drive change. We will continue to push training and awareness with our membership and our headquarter employees to eradicate unconscious bias and discrimination. And we will continue to make diversity and inclusion a priority. This problem won't be solved overnight, but today we restate our long-term commitment and declaration: At RE/MAX Holdings, we stand for justice. We stand with the Black community. And we stand against racism."
The organization posted the following message on Twitter:
"The racial disparities in homeownership are at the core of racism in the U.S. The Fair Housing Act of 1968 was only signed into law after the Assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. followed by a week of protests and riots."
The company posted a simple Twitter message on a black background: "Racism has no home here." They captioned the post "We stand with the black community in the fight against violence and for equality."
HUD Secretary Ben Carson posted the following message on his Twitter account:
"George Floyd was a man of faith, a man of color, and a father to the young men in his community and church. My heart breaks for his family and for our country being torn apart by violence. Honor the legacy of Floyd by protesting in peace. There will be justice for him and his family."
CEO Bess Freedman posted the following statement on her Instagram account:
"Please continue to educate others about this attack on humanity. Police need to be educated and screened. THIS HAS TO STOP! Bryan…please be the voice. We need change. We need education. For the sake of Kalief, Trayvon, Eric, Ahmed, George…these are our warriors, our prophets. I will not sit still."
In addition, Freedman stated she donated to the Equal Justice Initiative in memory of George Floyd.
Below is an excerpt from an email sent by Gary Keller, chairman, co-founder and CEO of Keller Williams.
"Dear Keller Williams family,
I'd like to make one thing clear: Racism is wrong and Keller Williams stands with the Black community and wholeheartedly supports equality.
Right now, communities across America are experiencing tremendous pain. This pain builds and grows exponentially with each name: George Floyd. Ahmaud Arbery. Breonna Taylor. Eric Garner. Sandra Bland. Michael Brown, and too many more. Each person had a story, a family, a home, and a life that mattered that was taken away from them.
To our Black Keller Williams associates and clients: We are with you. You matter. Your family, friends and community matter. Your lives matter. You are in our hearts and in our prayers.
The truth is that racial injustice and inequality persists. And, in order to help change that, it's critical to not only say something about it, but to do something about it. I believe that the real estate community has a unique opportunity to promote healing and reform. The first step is reflection and thoughtful self-examination. Then, we listen. We learn. We speak up. That's how change happens. We know many of you are past this stage. And, from you, we need your leadership."
The following is an excerpt from the company's blog, published by CEO Glenn Kelman.
"As protests sweep major U.S. cities, businesses large and small are posting on social media our opposition to racism and violence. It's important for Black folks within a company and across society to see America unite in opposition to racism. But is that enough?
What's behind the protests' rage and despair is the sense that talk is cheap, and change is painfully slow. We love to denounce someone else's racism, but it would matter more if businesses looked at our own contribution to a divided America and decided what to do about it.
The most obvious thing is hiring and developing more people of color to positions of power. We say that we believe talent is equally distributed between people of different races, but most businesses, including Redfin, are run mostly by white people. Changing that can't be the only priority of a CEO, but it has to be one of our top priorities, now, and long after the protests are over."
The company posted an image on Twitter with the copy stating, "Together We Stand in Solidarity With Our Black Employees, Agents, Clients and Communities." The caption stated, "We are devastated by the violence against Black communities across America. This is not new, and drastic measures are needed to end systematic racism."
In addition, the post says the company put together a fundraiser through Compass Cares, through which agents can donate to the Equal Justice Initiative and NAACP.
Stay tuned to RISMedia for more information.