I initially read the words inscribed on the Lincoln Memorial almost three decades ago. As a young foreign student, staring upwards at the enormous edifice, I was startled by the frankness with which President Lincoln addressed the nation on March 4, 1865 about the Civil War and the consequences of the gruesome legacy of slavery.
A portion of the second Inaugural Address inscribed on the walls of the memorial reads thus:
“Fondly do we hope-fervently do we pray-that this mighty scourge of war, may speedily pass away. Yet, if God will that it continue until all the wealth piled by the bondsman’s two hundred and fifty years of unrequited toil shall be sunk, and until every drop of blood drawn by the lash shall be paid by another drawn with the sword, as was said three thousand years ago, so still it must be said, “The judgments of the Lord are true and righteous altogether.”
Almost one hundred years later, the backdrop of these words scripted within the context of the brutal horror of war makes the words of Dr. Martin Luther King who stood on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial in 1963 to deliver, the “I Have a Dream” speech particularly compelling as he reminded us that:
"But one hundred years later, we just face the tragic fact that the Negro is still not free. One hundred years later, the life of the Negro is still sadly crippled by the manacles of segregation and the chains of discrimination"
April marks the traditional observance of Fair Housing month. Words like 'steering, block busting, and redlining' are the painful reminders of the reality segregation and separation have played in the struggle for housing equality. In the real estate community, the issue of Fair Housing is not a 30 day period which we pay respect to once a year. As our country becomes increasingly diverse, Fair Housing is an everyday issue which must govern the way in which we facilitate the transitions which occur as people move in our society.
But advocacy and education will only take us so far. Education can determine the correct answer to pass a Fair Housing test, but it will not change prejudice in the human heart. I've attended classes about Fair Housing where the discomfort is often palpable. This is still a very real and painful part of our American landscape on an emotional level...both past and present. Transforming this legacy is still a work in progress.
True freedom requires the ability to love oneself appropriately and completely enough to recognize the magnificence of God's creation in every single human being regardless of color, creed, national origin, sex, familial status, physical handicap, marital status or religion. True freedom gives us the strength and ability to examine a painful mistake and to choose a better path.
Dr. Martin Luther King spoke about the intricate web that binds us together when he said, “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly.”
As REALTORS, we have the unique privilege of serving people in a manner which honors the dignity of the human spirit. Undermining justice and dignity for one impacts all of us. Today’s digital culture reminds us of how intricately woven together we are. Fair Housing is not about ‘someone else’, it’s about recognizing that what we do to another, we have really done to ourselves. That’s the essential core of the Golden Rule.
Photo of Lincoln Memorial courtesy of NCinDC on flickr.com
Lola Audu, is the Designated Broker & Owner of Audu Real Estate. Our company specializes in helping people buy and sell homes in the greater Grand Rapids, West Michigan area. You can contact us via e-mail @ email@example.com or by phone at 616-791-0511. Thanks for visiting our blog. Here are links to some of our most popular posts for you to enjoy!