February is a celebration of resilience, progress, and the rich tapestry of Black history. At CAI, we embrace this opportunity to reflect on our commitment to equality, especially in the realm of housing.

The journey toward fair and equitable housing for all Americans is marked by significant milestones, but challenges persist. In the 1960s, while Congress addressed discrimination in public accommodations through the Civil Rights Act of 1964, housing discrimination remained a pressing issue, segregating Black Americans into low-income areas with subpar housing conditions.

President Joe Biden’s Executive Order 13988, signed on January 20, 2021, expanded civil rights by combating discrimination based on gender identity or sexual orientation. This underscores the principle that every person deserves respect and dignity, regardless of who they are or whom they love.

CAI stands firm in its support of the Fair Housing Act, advocating for equal housing opportunities irrespective of race, color, religion, sex, national origin, gender identity, or sexual orientation. Our dedication extends to pursuing state legislation that simplifies the process for community associations to amend discriminatory covenants, aligning with the evolving landscape of inclusivity.

Recognizing the ongoing battle against discrimination, CAI urges community associations to adopt behaviors that eliminate bias and inequality. Education is key, empowering individuals to shape minds and refine character, serving as beacons of equality in their communities. The CAI Civility Pledge outlines these essential behaviors, providing a roadmap to foster inclusivity.

As we celebrate Black History Month, CAI acknowledges the progress made in the community association housing industry over the last half-century. Twenty-two states have taken steps to help associations with the simplified removal of discriminatory covenants, and in 2024, there are 15 more states introduced legislation for a simplified removal process of these covenants. CAI supports nationwide legislative language that streamlines the process for association boards to amend discriminatory covenants, reinforcing our commitment to equality.

Arizona, Nebraska, Washington, West Virginia, and the District of Columbia introduced language drafted in July 2023 by the Uniform Law Commission for the simplified removal of discriminatory covenants in land records.

CAI supports the adoption of uniform legislative language like this and has made efforts over the past several years to support the process of simplified removal of discriminatory covenants, including creating model legislative language and a public policy in 2020.

CAI’s public policy backs legislation that enables the removal of outdated, illegal, and unenforceable covenant restrictions considered discriminatory under federal Fair Housing Act or state anti-discrimination laws. CAI supports a streamlined process for the governing board of a community association to remove such restrictions. Additionally, CAI supports legislation requiring the removal of discriminatory restrictions upon receiving a petition from an individual owner addressed to the governing board or a court.

Black History Month serves as a reminder of the strides we’ve made and the work ahead. CAI is dedicated to fostering diverse, equitable, and inclusive communities, ensuring that the legacy of equality continues to thrive.

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