The murder of George Floyd, and the countless other acts of violence against black Americans—decade after decade after decade—is devastating.
Like you, the staff at NEF is heartsick at what has transpired, struggling with how to make sense of it and what we should do to respond. Systemic discrimination seems to endure through strong economic times and weak ones, liberal political leadership and conservative, in urban neighborhoods and rural towns, seemingly without change. The pandemic, which has disproportionately affected people of color, is surely evidence of the fact that race and class continue to define so much of daily life, even down to questions of life and death.
How then, as an affordable housing partner and investor, do we channel our grief into sustained action? At NEF, we are fortunate to spend our days working with remarkable local partners on projects that strengthen the outlook for families and communities, especially in communities of color. But, I think we can do more. As a mission-driven investor, it is not enough for us to deliver capital to important developments; we must listen more closely, and we must also be intentional about leveraging our investments to eliminate racism, discrimination, and inequity.
As CEO, I am committed to this more deliberate purpose, both in our business practices and our internal operations, as well as an even deeper level of community engagement. We continue to stand with our many partners who have been fighting for racial justice for years and pledge to address racism and discrimination wherever we see it.
My thoughts are with everyone who is dealing with fear and anxiety right now. Please take care of yourselves, your families and your communities.