Real Estate Leaders Speak Out Against Racism As Protests Grow Nationwide

Real estate leaders speak out against racism as protests grow nationwide
Real Estate


CEOs at Compass, Keller Williams, Redfin and Zillow, among others, detailed steps their companies are taking to address racism in the real estate industry and inside their businesses.

Protests against racism and police brutality broke out across the country in at least 100 cities in the wake of the death of George Floyd, an unarmed Black man, at the hands of a police officer in Minneapolis, over the weekend.

Real estate industry leaders joined a growing chorus of others in the business community who have since spoken out against systemic racism while detailing steps their own organizations are taking to address racism.

Note: Numerous companies have committed to provide Inman with statements today. We will update this article as more companies provide their comments.

Compass

Robert Reffkin | Photo credit: Compass

Compass CEO Robert Reffkin sent an email to all employees Sunday addressing the killing of Floyd, and detailing actionable steps all Compass employees can take.

“When I first heard about the killing of George Floyd, I didn’t feel the need to email the entire company because the injustice was so clear for everyone to see,” Reffkin wrote. “I had nothing to add that the shocking video didn’t say much more powerfully on its own.”

“But as a Black man who has felt out of place his entire life, as the CEO of a company whose mission is to create a sense of belonging and possibility and to help everyone find their place in the world, I woke up this morning feeling like my social media post on this topic on Friday wasn’t enough and I wanted to address the company as a whole.”

Keller Williams

Gary Keller | Photo credit: Keller Williams

Keller Williams CEO Gary Keller, in an email to all Keller Williams employees and associates, announced the company is creating a task force with its International Associate Leadership Council to come forward with recommendations to eliminate racial disparity within the company and industry.

“The truth is that racial injustice and inequality persists,” Keller wrote. “And, in order to help change that, it’s critical to not only say something about it, but to do something about it.”

“I believe that the real estate community has a unique opportunity to promote healing and reform,” Keller added. “The first step is reflection and thoughtful self-examination. Then, we listen. We learn. We speak up. That’s how change happens. We know many of you are past this stage. And, from you, we need your leadership.”

Redfin

Glenn Kelman | Photo credit: Redfin

Redfin CEO Glenn Kelman, in a blog post, detailed all of the work Redfin is currently doing and will continue to address racial inequality at the company. Kelman himself acknowledged it isn’t enough.

“Like most execs at most companies, I thought of myself as a diversity advocate,” Kelman said. “But many of us have had a visceral reaction to the deaths of Ahmaud Arbery, George Floyd, Tony McDade and Breonna Taylor: we haven’t done enough.”

“Redfin has hosted symposia on race and real estate, reported each year on employee diversity, invited undercover journalists to speak to our agents about steering, and required diverse slates of candidates for every management position we fill at headquarters and for many positions in our real estate team,” Kelman added. “But very few of us will retire thinking we did too much to put our companies on the right side of history.”

Zillow

Rich Barton | Photo credit: Zillow Group

Zillow CEO Rich Barton posted on Twitter that he invited Zillow’s Black employees to share their pain and confusion with the company this week. He also noted that racism has no home at Zillow.

Barton also re-tweeted the brand account’s twitter message of and a message from Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer, who is also his first cousin, addressing the protests.

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