Home » Dear America, it’s time to fulfill the promises of the Fair Housing Act

Dear America, it’s time to fulfill the promises of the Fair Housing Act

by The Grio

Editor’s note: The following article is an op-ed, and the views expressed are the author’s own. Read more opinions on theGrio.

April is National Fair Housing Month, and as the month comes to a close, it is important that we reflect on the work that remains to ensure fair housing for all. This is even more important as we continue to stare down a worsening housing and homelessness crisis that disproportionately affects people of color, families with children, women, people with disabilities and other members of protected classes. To truly achieve the promise of fair housing, we must make equitable, long-overdue investments in housing and community development.

President Lyndon B. Johnson signed the Fair Housing Act into law on April 11, 1968, just one week after the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. The country was still reeling from this incalculable loss. Only two years prior, Dr. King had founded the Chicago Freedom Movement to fight against housing and economic inequity. It was this movement work that led to the passage and then the enactment of the Fair Housing Act.

The Fair Housing Act, as amended, prohibits discrimination based on race, color, sex (including sexual orientation and gender identity), national origin, religion, disability and familial status. Unfortunately, as a nation, because we have failed to fully fund and enforce this law, systemic and overt discrimination and inequality continue to plague every facet of American life.

The passage of the Fair Housing Act also came after President Johnson formed the famous Kerner Commission to investigate the impetus of race riots that erupted across the nation in 1967. The commission’s report confirmed that housing discrimination and institutionalized racism were sparking racial tension and contributing to “two societies, one black, one white—separate and unequal.” The commission made several key recommendations on housing, including significantly increasing the…

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