The brutal killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis – and of Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, and too many others – shocks the conscience of decent people everywhere. The lens that the Black Lives Matter movement has trained on racism, deplorable acts of violence, and the other assaults on human dignity that occur too often in America under color of law, is rightly damning.
We need to be honest in our understanding of how deeply rooted and debilitating racism is in our society. Outrage is overdue. Silence during this moment of reckoning for institutional racism and unequal justice would be complicity. Words alone won’t do. As we stand up and speak out for justice, we also must get down to the business of directing our individual, collective, and corporate energies toward effecting meaningful change.
At FHLBank San Francisco, we work every day to make communities more vibrant, equitable, and resilient by providing our member financial institutions with reliable access to low-cost funding for making home mortgages and lending to small businesses. We also offer access to resources for building quality affordable housing and making homeownership a reality for low- and moderate-income families. Our housing and economic development programs, delivered through our members, change lives and communities for the better.
So, what more will we do to respond to this moment’s change imperative?
We will redouble our efforts to make homeownership possible for more Black households. With many decades of discriminatory social policy and practices designed to limit access to homeownership based on color still reverberating today, closing the gap between White and Black homeownership rates needs to be much higher on our list of national priorities.
We will partner with our member financial institutions – banks, credit unions, CDFIs, industrial loan companies, and insurance companies in Arizona, California, and Nevada – and with community organizations, including the National Association of Real Estate Brokers and the Urban Institute, that are working to open the door to increasing levels of Black homeownership.
We will support our network of community partners – affordable housing developers and providers, organizations focused on enabling homeownership and financial literacy, and an array of diverse nonprofits that provide essential services and life-changing programs for individuals, families, and communities – with additional resources delivered through our members.
The urgent Black Lives Matter conversation taking place all around us is one we are having within our organization, too. We are committed to diversity and inclusion and we strive to provide a fair and equitable experience for all. But we know that we need to also listen more actively, make room for engaging in uncomfortable conversations about racism, and continue on the journey to being better, together.