February first marked the beginning of the month-long celebration of Black History Month in the Americas. What started as one week of recognition, established in 1926 by Carter G. Woodson with the name “Negro History Week”, was expanded and renamed Black History Month in the 1970s. Today, Black History Month is officially celebrated during February in the United States and Canada.
In the coming weeks, ULI will spotlight the many achievements of ULI’s African American members and projects with notable impact on the Black community. The activities highlighted below are only a snapshot of the work that has occurred at ULI in the last year to foster change.
- Last year, ULI officially began celebrating heritage months with the launch of the ULI Amplifies campaign. The campaign seeks to celebrate, recognize, and amplify causes, voices, initiatives, and projects across ULI while highlighting the history and importance of underrepresented groups during months of activism and awareness.
- ULI debuted the DEI Hub and DEI Reception as part of the programming during our annual 2021 Fall Meeting in Chicago.
- Our District Councils continue to focus on members of BIPOC communities in their work. For example, ULI Cincinnati’s Real Estate Accelerator Lab (REAL) is making a tremendous impact in educating and mentoring the next generation of Greater Cincinnati real estate professionals, with 81% of participants identifying as part of the BIPOC community.
- The ULI/REAP Virtual Academy continues to provide real estate education for students, professionals, and the public. This strategic partnership aims to build on a long-standing relationship and commitment to bridge the gap between talented diverse professionals and the world of commercial real estate. Launched in 2020, last year the academy celebrated 127 graduates!
- The ULI Etkin Scholars Program, which introduces college and university students to the resources available through ULI membership, has welcomed a diverse cohort of students, including those from several historically Black colleges and universities.
- ULI has embarked on the development of a report that will educate on 10 principles to embed social and racial equity into organizations across the real estate industry, to be published this spring.
- In a collaborative effort of members, staff, and consultants, ULI created a statement for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, emphasizing our commitment to “pursue unrelenting efforts to shape the built environment toward diverse, equitable, inclusive communities.”
It is important to acknowledge that the history of urban planning and development in the United States has included racist practices and caused both economic and social harm to Black and Brown communities for generations. ULI believes that current and future industry actions can—and must—remedy the impact of exclusionary practices, thereby creating access and fostering unity. ULI will continue to create programs that facilitate dialogue about issues of race and equity, and that lead to tangible change.
To learn more about land use and racism:
- Segregated by Design. This powerful 18-minute video examines the forgotten history of how our federal, state, and local governments unconstitutionally segregated every major metropolitan area in America through law and policy.
For additional information about ULI Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, contact [email protected]
W. Edward Walter
Senior Vice President, Diversity, Equity & Inclusion