Half a century after the federal Fair Housing Act became law in 1968, Columbia Mayor Brian Treece addressed a group of attorneys and real estate agents Thursday at the Fair Housing and Lending Seminar, part of “Fair Housing and Lending Month” in the city. The seminar provided a forum to address historical and current disparities in housing between white people and people of color.
Treece encouraged the gathered crowd “to roll up our sleeves and pool our resources and tear down those walls of injustice that have permeated our community, not only here in Columbia, but across the country.”
The seminar included discussion of unjust and racially biased historical practices, from loans being denied on the basis of race to racially restrictive housing covenants. It also came with the acknowledgement that significant structural challenges remain.
“Participants who are in those industries of lending, of renting, of buying and selling real estate, can have a chance to learn about how they might contain implicit biases and work to better fulfill the mission of their profession,” said Zach Rubin, chair of the City of Columbia Human Rights Commission. “There is an awareness-building component and an educational component.”
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