APAH’s Commitment to Racial Equity

Statement on Racial Equity

Adopted by the APAH Board of Directors on June 16, 2021

After several months of discussion, learning and listening, the APAH board and staff are eager to share the following racial equity statement, which has been drafted to ground and guide us as we seek to embed racial equity into all that we do.  The statement was endorsed unanimously by APAH’s Board of Directors on June 16, 2021.  At the same meeting, the board also unanimously approved adding “Racial Equity” as a seventh APAH value and establishing the Racial Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Committee as a standing committee of the APAH Board.

We recognize that this is one step on our journey to more effectively move the needle on structural racism and inequality in our country, and in the housing sector specifically.  We share our statement below and, for transparency and accountability, will periodically provide updates of our work on the APAH website.

Susan Bell
Chair, APAH Board of Directors

Our Vision for Racial Equity

We acknowledge the history of racial injustice in our country and the specific impact that racial discrimination and structural racism has had on the housing industry.  The legacy of redlining, discriminatory financial practices and disinvestment continue to have an impact on communities of color, particularly for African Americans.

We believe that everyone has a right to housing and having a safe place to call home. Housing is a platform for stability, community connection and economic opportunity, and for too long the benefits afforded by stable housing have been extended inequitably.  As real estate developers, service providers and affordable housing advocates, we strive to approach our work with an anti-racist lens in order to contribute to the creation of a more equitable and inclusive community for all.

The work of racial equity is never done, but at APAH we commit to deepening our focus and strengthening our actions to pursue racial justice and promote equity.

Racial Equity Workplan Update

APAH Board and Staff have committed to the following Racial Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (REDI) Goals:

  1. Create a comprehensive and authentic commitment to promote racial justice through APAH’s work.
  2. Embed inclusion into the APAH culture.
  3. Create measurable opportunities to improve the lives of Black, Indigenous and People of Color among our staff, residents, business partners and communities.

We have established Racial Equity, Diversity and Inclusion (REDI) committees at the staff and board level, in an effort to create and execute on a robust REDI workplan. Our actions so far have included the following:

  • Actively recruiting a more diverse board and staff, including the promotion of Carmen Romero, our new CEO, who brings her lived experience as a Latina from an immigrant family.
  • Seeking and supporting partners and vendors led by Persons of Color and organizations dedicated to racial justice.
  • Piloting new tools to market our affordable housing in high opportunity neighborhoods to descendants of enslaved people.
  • Deepening our data tools to disaggregate outcomes for our residents by race and ethnicity.
  • Working towards ensuring that all staff who work at APAH properties directly or through contractors, are paid a living wage.
  • Leading the Arlington Community Progress Network, where APAH and our partners gather and study data on disparate outcomes, create new ways for underserved voices to be heard (including Get Out the Vote, Census outreach, community roundtables) and advocate for systems change that promotes racial equity.
  • Promoting a culture of ongoing learning and discernment about racial justice to inform all of our work. All APAH staff and board members attended a 5-hour facilitated, interactive workshop about the complexities and impact of structural racism and implicit bias to establish a baseline framework and understanding within our organization.

Letter to the Community | June 2020

Dear Friend,

The murders of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbury, and Breonna Taylor – and the continuing history of violence against so many named and unnamed black and brown people before them – have seared us. Our nation’s deep wound of systemic racism remains painfully open.

This fresh pain is layered on the ongoing toll of COVID-19. We mourn the death of more than 100,000 Americans, including a disproportionate number of people of color.

All of us who work in housing and community development know the impact of discrimination against people of color—we see it every day. APAH exists as an organization to counter the impacts of unjust, unequal treatment of human beings. So many of whom are people of color.

And yet, we are humbled that our actions have not gone far enough.

Today, we stand in solidarity and somber recognition that our residents and community are hurting. Fearing for your life is no way to live, ever.

In the weeks and months ahead, we commit to deepen our focus and actions to stand for antiracist policies that address systemic barriers to equity.  We have much to learn, but we believe we have the power to make change within our own spheres of influence as a developer, an advocate, and an employer.

There is so much work to do together. We are grateful to be a part of this caring community and look forward to joining with our residents, partners, and supporters with hope for the journey ahead.

Nina Janopaul               and            Susan Bell
President and CEO                          Chair

Equity Statement Released April, 2021 in light of the Derek Chauvin verdict.