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.
Coldwell Banker CEO Ryan Gorman, in a letter to all agents and employees, which was subsequently shared publicly across social, addressed, “the heartbreaking events related to racial injustice taking place across America.”
He highlighted the company’s own actions, like its diversity in ownership initiative and Fair Housing Act trainings.
“Today, I feel true leadership will come from truly listening — especially listening to African American members of our Coldwell Banker and larger communities,” Gorman said. “And, after and while listening, action must flow and accelerate.”
“Across the country and around the world, Coldwell Banker stands with our communities for equality of opportunity — from housing to employment to entrepreneurship,” Gorman added. “We can, should, must, and will do more.”
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.”
My thoughts on George Floyd, what’s happening in America today, and how we need to turn pain into progress. pic.twitter.com/lWZDrYRlTC
— Robert Reffkin (@RobReffkin) May 31, 2020
Glenn Sanford, the CEO of eXp World Holdings, the brokerage’s parent company, announced in a letter to all employees Tuesday, increased funding to ONE eXp, the company’s diversity and inclusion group. Specifically, the company is increasing funding for Black eXp Network, to raise awareness, conduct teach-in for agents and brokers as well as provide additional financial support for affected agents.
The company also announced Tuesday, a Cultural Integrity Group to ensure our agents live up to these guidelines and eXp’s core values.
“We are in challenging times. In the midst of a global pandemic, racial divides are testing all of us as we process the recent deaths of Ahmaud Arbery, George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and countless others in our communities,” Sanford said.
“We mourn these losses and our thoughts are with their families and communities,” Sanford added. “We also stand with our black staff members, agents and clients in the fight against racism.”
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.”
National Association of Realtors
National Association of Realtors (NAR) President Vince Malta, said in a statement, that NAR is committed to leading the way on policies that address racial justice, while highlighting that fair housing, equality and inclusion, are among the association’s most cherished values.
“The shocking, senseless death of George Floyd is tragic,” Malta said, in a statement.
“Our deepest sympathies are with the Floyd family and other families who understand and feel this pain and grief,” Malta added. “Our neighbors in the communities where we work and live across America should feel safe and free from discrimination.”
RE/MAX CEO Adam Contos, a retired police officer, addressed the killings from the perspective of both a CEO and a retired cop, in a blog post. He also confirmed that, Derek Chauvin, the cop arrested for killing Floyd and his wife were once affiliated with a RE/MAX franchise — Chauvin as a team member and independent contractor with a franchise — but neither are anymore.
“As a leader in business, it’s important that the community hears that we stand together for equality and kindness,” Contos said. “RE/MAX is committed to supporting homeownership and equal rights for all.”
“We believe in community and we take fair housing very seriously,” Contos added. “But right now, we must question whether that is enough. Today I ask how we – 130,000 professionals across 110 countries – can be not only real estate agents, but agents of change.”
Realogy CEO Ryan Schneider sent an email to all Realogy staff and agents, Monday, acknowledging the events in Minneapolis and stating that Realogy does not tolerate racism or discrimination. Realogy also changed a scheduled event focused on economic recovery, to instead be a session on critical issues led by Black employees at the company.
“While the social issues we face as a nation are much broader than real estate, we must recognize that our industry plays an important role helping communities and individuals achieve their dreams, whether through homeownership, entrepreneurship, or employment opportunities for developing a career,” Schneider said. “With that responsibility, we must ensure that our actions reflect our commitment to diversity and inclusion, providing equal opportunities for all people within the communities we serve.”
“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 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.
This week I was invited to listen to our black employees share their pain and fear and confusion.
For their children.
Every time they leave their homes.
I am an ally.
Racism has no home here. https://t.co/j7riPeq116
— Rich Barton (@Rich_Barton) May 31, 2020