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The Fair Housing Center in Toledo, Ohio is dedicated to eliminating housing discrimination and working to create inclusive communities for all people. We do this work year in and year out, and while progress has been made, there are times when the reality of how far we have to go in order to achieve a truly fair and equitable society hits us especially hard.

Now is one of those times.

The Fair Housing Center and its Board proudly stand with the protesters who are marching to demand the dismantling of the systemic inequality plaguing communities across our country, to be replaced with structures and institutions that ensure fairness and equity for every person. Residential segregation is the bedrock of the inequalities we see.

Like so many across our country, we have watched events unfold over recent weeks with shock and sadness. At the same time, our spirits are inspired by the diverse voices coming together to demand equality and mutual respect.

Seven days after the assassination of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. in 1968, as the country erupted in protest, the Fair Housing Act was finally passed after languishing in Congress for decades. With this law, Congress intended to ban housing discrimination and dismantle segregation. The full promise of the Fair Housing Act is yet to be realized, however, because of systemic racism and policies that have a disparate impact on black Americans, such as redlining, which have allowed residential segregation to worsen.

The Fair Housing Center’s journey to fight racism and discrimination in the greater Toledo area and throughout the nation began more than 45 years ago. We have seen firsthand the effects of institutional racism and bias. We have held financial institutions, government entities, landlords, homeowners insurance companies, and real estate professionals accountable for discriminatory practices.

As we understand words without action behind them fail to enact lasting and meaningful change, The Board and Staff of The Fair Housing Center remain committed to championing and advancing education, enforcement, programs, and policies that, at their core, address systemic racism and bias.

The Fair Housing Center will continue to shine the light on injustice and inequalities that exist within financial institutions, homeowners insurance companies, local, state, and national government entities, and with housing professionals.

We will use the Fair Housing Act to further justice, equality, and equity so that all Americans have the opportunity and ability to live in safe, healthy, well-resourced, resilient neighborhoods, free from discrimination and where BLACK LIVES MATTER.