Diversity, Equity & Inclusion/Fair Housing
DEI, which stands for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, is a term that is becoming more and more prevalent in all aspects of society, including the business world. DEI is a conceptual framework that promotes the fair treatment and full participation of all people, especially in the workplace, including populations who have historically been underrepresented or subject to discrimination because of their background, identity, disability, etc.
The BNAR is committed to these important principles and has a dedicated staff member, Brenda Alesii, overseeing DEI education and initiatives for our members, staff, board of directors, and constituents. DEI strengthens us as an Association; these ideals will embody our culture moving forward to ensure innovation and organizational success.
February is Black History Month
Black History Month is an annual observance originating in the United States, where it is also known as African-American History Month. It has received official recognition from governments in the United States and Canada, and more recently has been observed in Ireland and the United Kingdom.
In his honor, MLK Day of Service is a defining moment in volunteerism, as Americans across the country step up to make communities more equitable and take action to build the Beloved Community of Dr. King’s dream. While Dr. King believed this community was possible, he acknowledged and fought for systemic change. His example is our call to action. This is the only federal holiday designated as a national day of service to encourage all Americans to volunteer to improve their communities.
“The greatest birthday gift my husband could receive is if people of all racial and ethnic backgrounds celebrated the holiday by performing individual acts of kindness through service to others.” - Coretta Scott King
Since 1990, November has also been officially declared as National Native American Heritage Month, which includes Alaska Native Heritage as well. From shore to shore, every piece of our land in North America has been touched by the hands, love, and care of Native Indigenous peoples, and in November, we honor, celebrate, and show respect for the many contributions that those individuals have made to our culture and country.
Understand the difference between cultural appropriation and cultural appreciation. Appropriation is taking aspects of a culture you do not belong to and claiming it for yourself. Appreciation is seeing all of the aspects of another culture and appreciating it for what it is without trying to claim ownership.
Celebrating and honoring the rich, important heritage of Native Americans and other Indigenous Peoples is worth doing every day, not just in the month of November. As a nation, it is so important that we learn and celebrate the true contributions of those who came before us, as oftentimes those contributions and stories have been lost to history or washed away from the stories we tell. Speaking their experiences out loud, honoring their diverse culture, and knowing their stories shows an appreciation for the Native and Indigenous Peoples, even if you are not among them. Make this November the month you start honoring and celebrating Native American and Indigenous Heritage.
2023 Asian Food & Culture Festival
On a hot and humid Sunday, hundreds of people converged on Canalside in Buffalo to attend the 2023 Asian Food & Culture Festival. The all-day event featured entertainment, numerous food trucks with an Asian focus, community exhibitors and a parade, all coordinated by BNAR member Jasmine Chen. A host of community leaders and elected officials addressed the crowd, including BNAR’s DEI vice-president Brenda Alesii, who addressed how all people should have access to the American dream of home ownership.
Journey's End Refugee Services
The BNAR was proud to donate to Journey’s End Refugee Services at their Buffalo office yesterday. Proceeds were donated from the BNAR’s multicultural event last month, “Loving Our Differences.” Journey’s End assists refugees with resources and support, including housing, so they become successful, contributing members of the WNY community.
The Buffalo Niagara Association of Realtors acknowledges our newest federal holiday - Juneteenth, now recognized every June 19th.
The holiday marks the date when the last enslaved people in the United States learned they were free — which occurred June 19, 1865, when Union soldiers told enslaved Black people in Galveston, Texas, news of their freedom.
“Now I’ve been free, I know what a dreadful condition slavery is. I have seen hundreds of escaped slaves, but I never saw one who was willing to go back and be a slave.” –Harriet Tubman (1820–1913), American abolitionist and political activist
Loving Our Differences
What a phenomenal night celebrating diversity - food, music, performers ranging from Latina to Chinese to Belly Dancers - as we celebrated the Buffalo Niagara Association of REALTORS, Inc. first ever “Loving Our Differences” event on June 1st. Thank you to the DEI committee, especially Maha Hammad, Shufen Judy Lee, Enas Latif, Jasmine Chen, and Britney McClain, for their tireless work and enormous props to the vendors, sponsors, and BNAR staff.
We appreciated the proclamation from Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz and the rousing remarks from Buffalo Deputy Mayor Crystal Rodriguez Dabney. Truly a team effort!
A Career in Real Estate
On May 17, BNAR President Rosalind Burgin and DEI V-P Brenda Alesii spoke at Giulio Colangelo's class at Niagara Falls High School. Topics included careers in real estate and initiatives like the anti-discrimination videos produced by the BNAR. The class was made up of juniors and seniors who expressed interest in the industry. Over the course of the one-hour presentation, the students were engaged and asked many pertinent questions about the education/training required, earning potential, and even what a typical day looks like. As Rosalind often says, "It's a learning day or an earning day".
A Conversation about Asian Discrimination with Realtor Judy Lee
A disturbing upsurge in violence and discrimination against the Asian community has occurred around the country and in other parts of the world. BNAR Vice-President of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Brenda Alesii talked with Realtor Judy Lee, who was born in Taiwan and speaks fluent Chinese and English. In the aftermath of the Coronavirus and Chinese Spy Balloon, Judy candidly discusses instances of bias she’s experienced as well as kindness and displays of teamwork in real estate transactions. The video can be found on the BNAR website.
The seven day festival of Passover starts this evening. For all who observe, may it be joyful, peaceful and memorable. There is no better time to stand up to anti-Semitism by displaying this blue square.
We Are Beautiful: An Evolution of Black Dolls
The DEI Committee met at the Frank Merriweather, Jr. Library on Jefferson Ave. on March 13, the site of the “We Are Beautiful: An Evolution of Black Dolls” exhibit. Thanks to our guest speakers, Erie county Legislator Howard Johnson, whose district encompasses much of East Buffalo, and author/historian Eva Doyle. Our DEI committee members are passionate about shining a light on discriminatory practices of every kind. We are working to move the needle.
Governor Hochul on I Love NY Black Travel Initiative
Gov. Kathy Hochul on Friday rolled out plans for an I LOVE NY Black travel initiative, designed to grow the state's tourismand encourage Black visitors:
A Conversation About Middle East Prejudice
DEI vice-president Brenda Alesii interviews Realtor Enas Latif and Mortgage Consultant Maha Hammad about anti-Muslim discrimination. The BNAR is proud to continue our ongoing video series, designed to shine a light on cultural awareness and bias. A link to the video is on the home page of this website.
Black History Month
Did you know? February was chosen as Black History Month because it contains the birthdays of Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglass. For more info, please click on this link:
BNAR President Interviewed on WBFO Radio
Rosalind Burgin, President of the Buffalo Niagara Association of Realtors, appeared live this morning with talk host Dave Debo on WBFO Radio. She talked about the discrimination with talk host Dave Debo on WBFO Radio. She talked about the discrimination Realtors have experienced at open houses and in the industry, and a new video series to combat it. The interview will be re-broadcast tonight at 9pm and on demand this afternoon at WBFO.org.
BNAR Press Conference on Anti-Discrimination Videos
Realtors of color say they often experience racial profiling, so the Buffalo Niagara Association of Realtors (BNAR) has launched a series of anti-discrimination videos.
The BNAR hosted a press conference on January 11, 2023, to unveil the professionally-produced videos; they were presented to real estate agents and a host of public officials, saying they are the first in the country to create anti-discrimination videos of this kind.
Here is the link to the recorded press conference: https://youtu.be/bmOgz9O88Bo
The videos can be viewed on the homepage of the BNAR website at www.bnar.org
Housing Opportunities Made Equal (H.O.M.E) Annual Dinner
DEI Vice-President Brenda Alesii attended the annual Housing Opportunities Made Equal (HOME) Dinner & Celebration last week in downtown Buffalo. The BNAR is proud to support the fine work this fair housing organization strives for as they promote equality and the value of diversity for all people.
DEI Committee Met at the Centro Culturale Italiano di Buffalo on Hertel Avenue
What a pleasure it was hosting our Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) meeting at the Centro Cultural Italiano di Buffalo on Hertel Avenue this morning. Celebrating one year since its opening, the beautiful Center was the longtime side of the North Park Library. Speakers included District Councilmember Joel Feroleto, Lindsey Visser, deputy director of the Center and historian/genealogist Angelo Coniglio. Our topics included discrimination against Italians and other immigrants, real estate in the city, and how this abandoned site is now a key part of the city's Northside revitalization. As always, thanks to my committee members, who are engaged and passionate about moving the diversity needle. #diversity #italianculture #Fieldtrip
National Federation for Just Communities
The BNAR’s VP of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, Brenda Alesii, along with Realtor Tamika Murphy, was invited by Rene Petties Jones, president of the National Federation for Just Communities, to their Social Justice summer day camp today. Tamika’s business partner, Mia Mootry, also joint the meeting. Tamika, Mia and Brenda talked about racism in real estate and showed the video and interview the BNAR recently produced, shining a light on the prejudice Realtors of color often experience. The young campers were engaged and asked excellent questions. We welcome opportunities to share our video. Contact Brenda Alesii at 716-636-9110 or at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
BNAR Hosts Diversity, Equity and Inclusion/Fair Housing Summit
The BNAR hosted a Diversity, Equity and Inclusion/Fair Housing Summit at the M Hotel in Cheektowaga on December 5th before a packed room of Realtor professionals. The event was moderated by the BNAR’s John Leonardi and Brenda Alesii.
The panelists - Dr. Henry-Louis Taylor, Dan Corbitt, Diana Patton, Julie Snow, Brian Archie, Rhonda Frederick - offered perspectives on discrimination among protected classes, redlining policies that have thwarted the dream of home ownership, appraisal disparities, and how Realtors can help better serve the community. Our audience was engaged and passionate about learning more about overt and subtle racism, the history of harmful policies, and a desire to make substantive changes in our region.