ULI Global and Americas leadership recently provided an update to members about the actions the organization is taking and the changes it is making to promote diversity, equity and inclusion. These efforts apply to and affect all of ULI, including local District Councils.
As leaders of ULI Utah, we are committed to our organization actively participating in the community dialogue about systemic racism in our society. It’s particularly important for us to explore and understand the role that societal injustices have played within the real estate industry, so we can unmask bias and support thoughtful and deliberate change.
Our first task is the simplest … and the most difficult. We must open our eyes, our ears, our minds, and our hearts to become aware of and learn from the experiences of others. The reality is that most Utah communities, and the real estate industry, are predominately white, meaning we must consciously create equal access for all Utahns to participate in creating and enjoying the thriving, resilient and equitable communities espoused by ULI’s mission.
Here’s how ULI Utah is taking concrete steps to effect change:
Operational Changes: Led by ULI Utah Chair Ibi Guevara, we are assessing everything about our District Council with racial and social equity in mind and making needed changes, such as working to expand the diversity of our membership and leadership. Our Community Outreach Committee is taking the lead to raise awareness about racial, social and other inequities in the local real estate industry, and work with stakeholders and the public to reduce barriers and encourage inclusivity in our communities. It’s a big task and we need your help; please consider joining a ULI Utah committee.
Raising Awareness: Eliminating systemic inequities requires relentless awareness-raising about them; once, twice or even 10 times isn’t enough. It’s especially important that we learn from the personal stories and experiences of Black people and people of color in Utah’s real estate industry; we encourage members to share their stories and suggest other opportunities.
Facilitating Change: ULI Utah is committed to consciously viewing all of our offerings – programs, information-sharing, Trends conference, workshops, Urban Plan – through a lens of diversity, equity and inclusion, and we’ll actively seek feedback from our members and others. We are currently assembling a variety of reading materials and videos about racial equity and real estate, including information about experiences from other ULI district councils around the country. These will be added to our website, feel free to recommend additional resources to include.
ULI Utah’s first initiative is a two-part series Diversity, Inclusion, and Social Equity in Land Use on Tuesday, September 29 and Thursday, October 1. Part one will explore Past-Present-Future: Lessons We Can Learn from Our Industry’s Past as We Build a More Equitable Future. Part two is an Inclusive Leadership Workshop, watch your email for more details coming soon. We are also planning a significant discussion on racial equity at our annual Trends conference on Thursday, October 29.
With ULI Utah’s unique ability to convene industry leaders around sharing best practices and developing strategies to guide us through times of uncertainty and change, we look forward to coming together, whether in person or virtually, to have these conversations, learn from each other, hear from new voices, and contribute to solutions that deliver meaningful change. We welcome questions and comments from members and encourage you to join a committee or participate in another way. Please reach out to Rachel McIllece to learn more about ways to get involved.
The time is always right to do what’s right. It’s been more than half a century since Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. said those words, and they’re more applicable today than ever. Please join us in striving to create an inclusive organization and community.