REALTORS® share stories of Fair Housing Act’s impact for upcoming video

Chicago REALTORS® Zeke Morris and Vicky Silvano work at the local, state and national levels of the REALTOR® organization to advance housing opportunity for multicultural groups including the Asian American Real Estate Association, the National Association of Real Estate Brokers, the National Association of Hispanic Real Estate Professionals and the Women’s Council of REALTORS®.

Filming wrapped up this week in Chicago for a video commemorating the 50th anniversary of the Fair Housing Act, a project that has allowed several Illinois REALTORS® to share personal stories about how the landmark legislation affected their lives.

The Dearborn Realtist® Board has served Chicago since 1941 and has its headquarters on Stoney Island Avenue.  Left to right: Ron Branch of RLB Realty Group in Chicago, board treasurer and past president of the National Association of Real Estate Brokers (NAREB); Millie Reyes-Williams, vice president, community reinvestment for BMO Harris Bank, Evergreen Park and board Director/Membership Chair; Courtney Q. Jones, 2017-2018 board president and principal owner of Chicago Homes Realty Group. Photo Ann Londrigan

The video project is led by Illinois REALTOR® Zeke Morris, 2018 chair of the National Association of REALTORS® Fair Housing Act Anniversary Working Group. The goal of the video is to share the stories and challenges of Illinois fair housing pioneers, to look back at the battles waged, and assess the progress made over the past 50 years.

The video also calls for continued work to realize the goal of fair housing opportunity for all.

The video will premier at the January Illinois REALTORS® Public Policy Meetings and be accompanied by a panel discussion.

Illinois was at the epicenter of the Civil Rights movement and fair housing in particular with the Chicago Freedom Movement led by Martin Luther King Jr. to promote open housing.

Fred Underwood, senior director of diversity and community outreach for the National Association of REALTORS® shared the history of the REALTORS® Code of Ethics and actions related to fair housing. The National Association of REALTORS® plans a full year of education and awareness for the Fair Housing Act with the theme “Fair Housing Makes U.S. Stronger.” Photo: Ann Londrigan

This week’s interviews included Morris, Chicago REALTOR® Vicky Silvano, Fred Underwood of the National Association of REALTORS® and Courtney Q. Jones, president of the Dearborn Realtist® Board.

The Fair Housing Act was signed into law April 11, 1968, by President Lyndon B. Johnson, just days after King’s assassination. The Act prohibited discrimination in the sale, rental and financing of housing based on race, color, religion and national origin. In 1974 the Act was amended to prohibit discrimination based on sex.

The National Association of REALTORS® plans a full year of education and awareness for the Fair Housing Act with the theme “Fair Housing Makes U.S. Stronger.”

Learn more at

April is Fair Housing Month

April 2010 marks the 42nd anniversary of the 1968 landmark Fair Housing Act. Each year REALTORS® recognize the significance of this event and reconfirm our commitment to upholding fair housing law as well as our commitment to offering equal professional service to all in their search for real property.

REALTOR® Fair Housing Declaration

I agree to:

  • Provide equal professional service without regard to the race, color, religion, sex, handicap, familial status, or national origin of any prospective client, customer, or of the residents of any community.
  • Keep informed about fair housing law and practices, improving my clients’ and customers’ opportunities and my business.
  • Develop advertising that indicates that everyone is welcome and no one is excluded;, expanding my client’s and customer’s opportunities to see, buy, or lease property.
  • Inform my clients and customers about their rights and responsibilities under the fair housing laws by providing brochures and other information.
  • Document my efforts to provide professional service, which will assist me in becoming a more responsive and successful REALTOR®.
  • Refuse to tolerate non-compliance.
  • Learn about those who are different from me, and celebrate those differences.
  • Take a positive approach to fair housing practices and aspire to follow the spirit as well as the letter of the law.
  • Develop and implement fair housing practices for my firm to carry out the spirit of this declaration.

Learn more about fair housing from the Illinois Association of REALTORS® and the National Association of REALTORS®, and download a fair housing poster.