The recent killings of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, and untold others have sparked much-needed dialogue and action related to the systemic racism prevalent in our country and communities.
While many organizations have released statements over the past two weeks, at ULI Indiana, we felt it was critical to take time to listen first. So far, that has included listening to scholars participating in our Diversity Initiative and people of color in our Women’s Leadership Initiative. We’ve also engaged in the impassioned discussions occurring throughout ULI’s global network of members and councils and have invited perspectives from our local management committee. As one of our Diversity Initiative scholars pointed out, “This is more than a ‘hashtag moment.’” These conversations should and will continue. But it’s time to speak up.
We acknowledge some unfortunate truths. Decisions made related to land use, transportation, and real estate—like redlining development investments and constructing highways through Black neighborhoods—have exacerbated oppression, racism, and economic inequalities. And at the Indiana district council level, while we strive to be inclusive, we recognize that our leadership, our membership, and our programming suffer from a lack of diversity, as does the real estate industry as a whole.
We have much work to do.
Some of that work has already begun, and some is just beginning. We commit to:
Building upon our Diversity Initiative program. Last year, ULI Indiana was one of four ULI District Councils selected to receive a Real Estate Diversity Initiative grant from ULI and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. The Central Indiana Community Foundation matched that grant, as part of its role supporting those fighting to overturn racist and unfair systems. This funding supports the first two years of our Diversity Initiative, a 15-week program that prepares participating scholars for opportunities in real estate development. Throughout this past fiscal year, our Chair of Mission Advancement position has been solely focused on our Diversity & Inclusion steering committee and Diversity Initiative program. We look forward to building on our momentum and expanding these efforts.
Creating an action plan for change in our communities and our district council. The ULI mission centers around leadership in the responsible use of land and creating and sustaining thriving communities worldwide. Thriving communities are diverse, inclusive, and equitable. That means housing choices that are attainable and maintainable. Communities that are walkable and connected. Opportunities that are accessible for all. From continuing to invest in Technical Assistance Panels that address these needs to setting new goals and metrics that remove barriers and create positive impact, we will continue to pursue the support of land use decisions that work for everyone. Within ULI Indiana, we commit to setting strategies that help our membership reflect the diversity of the places in which we live and work. If you would like to be part of conversations on how we best achieve these objectives, please let us know.
Sharing resources. At the individual level, a variety of opportunities exist to affect change, and some of those opportunities depend on each person’s unique situations and where they have power and influence. On this website we will be sharing a variety of resource recommendations curated from our membership. We invite you to share articles, books, organizations, and other resources that have inspired you—contact us here.
Continuing the dialogue. As one of our WLI members shared this week, “Keep speaking up. Don’t lose the momentum and clarity we are trying to achieve from these conversations.” We know our work will require candid discussions, and we invite you to be part of that dialogue.
ULI has a way of bringing together people to make changes that improve our communities. We encourage you engage with us over the coming months and years as we do our part to promote anti-racism and address racial inequities in our cities, our state of Indiana, and our industry.
Adam Thies, Chair
Trinity Hart, Chair for Mission Advancement
Jennifer Milliken, Senior Director