2020 has rocked us in many ways, not least by stark illustrations – the killings of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and many more black people – of endemic racism and broken criminal justice systems. The leadership of ULI Louisiana took the call to double-down on efforts to focus on issues of race in our industry. Having formed a Diversity Committee in the fall of 2019, we already had a group ready and willing to lead that charge.
The following is ULI Louisiana’s Diversity Statement, crafted to be enduring rather than just for this point in time. We have much to learn, much need to listen and be vulnerable, and a strong desire to have a stronger, more diverse industry. We invite you and would be humbled to have you join us in our journey.
The mission of ULI Louisiana is to promote responsible land use and support sustainable communities for all, regardless of race, physical disability, gender identity, age, national origin, religion or sexual orientation. We welcome, support, and celebrate diversity in all its forms.
In 2020, the Black Lives Matter movement catalyzed the country towards undoing systemic violence and discrimination against black people in America. ULI Louisiana proudly supports and seeks ways to participate in this movement. Black people are demanding equity, visibility, and access to matters necessary for a just society. Part of this access includes the space our communities take up, making land development a central influence on black people’s quality of life. Our state has an extensive history of racial inequity, and the real estate industry has played a significant role in maintaining that inequity and systemic racism. ULI Louisiana is committed engaging our membership on these issues and having the difficult conversations racial inequity demands, sharing best practices aimed to combat systemic racism, and continuing to address the ongoing inequity in the real estate industry that has resulted from its historical and strategic implementation of a racial hierarchy.
Our mission and our dedication to diversity have led our chapter to yield the following endeavors:
The ULI Louisiana Diversity Committee inaugurated in Fall 2019:
The committee works to support the chapter’s programming by strategizing how ULI Louisiana can reach a more assorted audience. The Black Lives Matter movement necessitates the amplification of underrepresented voices and identities. Our chapter will continue to advance inclusive representation on our panels, in our leadership, and through our membership. These efforts will fortify just practices beneficial to all our communities.
The ULI Louisiana Diversity Book Club Series:
ULI Louisiana and ULI Triangle began a diversity book club in Summer 2020. The club’s first selection, Richard Rothstein’s acclaimed The Color of Law, offers participants a broader context for development’s impact on the black community. The book club has been open to all ULI Louisiana/ULI Triangle members as well as nonmembers. The next book club will focus on Matthew Desmond’s Evicted, and will be co-hosted by ULI St. Louis. Future selections will be announced as they are organized. Join us for this series of book readings and discussion about the important intersection between race, poverty, and the real estate industry.
The ULI Louisiana Real Estate Diversity Initiative (REDI) launching February 2021:
The REDI program bridges participants to careers and business opportunities in real estate. Teams of participants will create pro formas and development plans based on a local site. For fifteen weeks, the teams will learn each step of the development process with the guidance of regional leaders in the field. We invite ULI members to participate in the program as mentors, consultants, sponsors, developers, and discussion panelists. The inaugural class begins in February 2021. (more information can be found here)
Working with community partners who share our mission is vital to reaching our goal of eradicating racism. The ULI Louisiana Diversity Committee is continuously seeking to partner with non-profits, government agencies, private companies, business chambers, and other organizations on initiatives that foster opportunities for women and people of color in the real estate industry, including ventures that build, renovate and maintain affordable housing in the state. ULI Louisiana uses its platform to encourage and showcase the important work our community partners are doing to combat systemic racism.
These endeavors will usher us towards a more inclusive society by changing the real estate industry as we support the equity efforts yet ahead.
Anne Teague Landis, Chair, ULI Louisiana
Chris LeBato, Chair for Mission Advancement, ULI Louisiana
Michael Billiot, Chair, ULI Louisiana Diversity Committee
Maddy Fox, Vice Chair, ULI Louisiana Diversity Committee
Nicole DePietro, District Manager, ULI Louisiana