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The Association Embraces Local Multicultural Realtor® Associations And Establishes Active Voting Rights for All Members

ATLANTA - GeorgiaChron -- The Atlanta REALTORS® Association (ARA) recently enhanced its partnership with select local multicultural real estate organizations by approving voting rights for each through a comprehensive and inclusive memorandum of understanding (MOU). The organizations include: Empire Board of Realtists (local branch of NAREB - National Association of Real Estate Brokers), National Association of Hispanic Real Estate Professionals, Asian American Real Estate Association of America, Women's Council of REALTORS®, and the LGBTQ+ Real Estate Alliance in response to improving DEI engagement and representation amongst its multicultural membership base.

In late 2020, newly installed National Association of Realtors® (NAR) President Charlie Oppler formally apologized for the association's past policies that contributed to segregation amongst REALTORS® and racial inequality related to property ownership in America.

In June 2021, in efforts to promote healing and begin reconciliation, the Atlanta REALTORS® Association (ARA) acknowledged their contributions to an exclusionary history and issued a Letter of Apology.

ARA is the largest real estate association in Georgia and is considered one of the strongest and most successful REALTOR® Associations across the nation. They took several steps and established committees dedicated to diversity and inclusion. They pledged to be the voice and driving force of change to ensure all members feel welcomed, supported, heard and valued.

With a historical appointment in 2022 as the first Black woman President of ARA, Karen Hatcher, CPM®, and the first Black-owned brokerage to hold the office, pledged to continue the 'dance' from diversity initiatives to making intentional inclusion part of the DNA of the association.

In Hatcher's inaugural "Let's Dance" speech, she declared the first order of business was to create "seats at the table" and launched her presidency by creating a task force to explore and create a more comprehensive and inclusive MOU between ARA and local multicultural associations.

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"Within the first six months of my presidency, ARA has began to make historical strides towards its promise on inclusion." Hatcher states. "We are doing the work. It's not easy, and there are many layers. But, our association and leadership team is committed to progress and ensuring all members have a seat at the table."

The Empire Board of Realtists, Inc. (EBR) President Bilal Shareef states, "EBR is pleased to now have a voting seat on the Atlanta Realtors Association (ARA) Board of Directors for the first time in its 112-year history. I'm optimistic that ARA will continue to expand diversity in leadership and advocate for actionable policies and legislation that will continue to positively impact the rate of minority homeownership."

ARA hired its first-ever Community Engagement and Diversity Director, Geilia Taylor, in December 2021. "Having worked in the diversity field for over twenty years, I knew how difficult it would be to implement new policies into an existing system." Taylor continues, "Convinced of their sincerity and commitment to doing the work necessary to achieve their goals, I was pleased to join the ARA team."

"This executive role ensures that DEI is a part of our culture and not just a trend," Karen says. "As presidents' platforms change from year to year, DEI will remain part of ARA's DNA."

Hatcher notes the most impactful change to date was converting the non-voting seats of Multicultural Association representatives on ARA's Board of Directors to voting seats. This allows the underrepresented constituents a true and full seat at the table on issues impacting communities today, such as housing affordability, equity, and inclusion.

Another recent policy change ensures that all ARA members who actively participate on committees can impact decisions by having a vote. "ARA committees will no longer have voting and non-voting members. All committee members will have the right to vote as long as they meet the attendance guidelines. Motions pass by majority vote," Karen explains.

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"AREAA commends the Atlanta Realtors Association for their commitment towards ensuring that underrepresented groups have a seat at the table," shares Asian American Real Estate Association of America Metro Atlanta Chapter President Dan Park. "We look forward to working together as industry leaders in DEI."

Other voices of the multicultural association echo that sentiment; Eboni Killian, President of the Women's Council of REALTORS®️ Atlanta Network and Sebastian Riveros, President of the National Association of Hispanic Real Estate Professionals Metro Atlanta Chapter, applaud these efforts.

Riveros explains, "NAHREP Atlanta is very proud to join forces with ARA in promoting diversity and inclusion, not only with our clients but also within the real estate industry. Thanks to the vision of President Karen Hatcher, our mission has expanded, and our voices have been magnified throughout Atlanta Realtors Associations."

"We are excited to be included in ARA's steps to enhancing diversity and inclusion within the association – working together to achieve our goal to be an inclusive association where all of our members feel welcomed," shares Killian.

Justin Ziegler, President of the LGBTQ+ Real Estate Alliance Atlanta Chapter, also shares, "I commend the leadership of ARA. By creating board positions for members of the multicultural organizations, they are not only practicing inclusion but ensuring the voices of our diverse membership are heard and are part of the decision-making that guides the direction of the organization."

ARA hopes these changes will increase membership engagement and opportunities for all members to have a voice, feel welcomed, respected, reflected, and expected to be an active part of ARA.

To read the ARA apology letter, click here (https://www.atlantarealtors.com/resources/news/detail/a-letter-of-apology). To become a member of the Atlanta REALTORS® Association, click here (https://www.atlantarealtors.com/membership/join).

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Source: Karen Hatcher, CPM®; President ARA 2022

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