A Statement from CHAPA's CEO, Rachel Heller

We at CHAPA are outraged by the murders of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, Tony McDade, David McAtee, and so many more. 

We are outraged by the continuous harassment of black and brown people as they birdwatch, go for a run, or shop in a store - harassed as they go about their daily lives.

We are outraged by the disproportionate impact of COVID-19 on black people, indigenous people, and people of color. 

These murders, harassment, and health disparities are not unfortunate coincidences; they are the direct result of intentional and systemic decisions made for centuries, rooted in racism and classism. Decisions that affect every aspect of life – healthcare, education, economic opportunity, housing, and more. Decisions like redlining, exclusionary zoning, and discriminatory housing policies.

The policies that intentionally created segregation must intentionally be changed. And yet, that change depends on people who do not see the barriers, who do not know what it is like to have the police called on them because they are walking down the street, who don’t understand how people of color are systemically set up to fail. And so, our zoning and housing decisions continue to perpetuate segregation, limiting opportunities for people and keeping people out. 

How does this moment become an opportunity to collectively recognize the role that zoning and access to housing play in systemic racism and that we put racial and economic equity front and center? Can this moment in time - the pandemic, the spotlight on the harassment and murders of black people, the national demonstrations and unrest - provide an opportunity to right the wrongs moving forward?

For CHAPA, it means pushing even harder to make sure that all people have the opportunity for a safe, healthy, and affordable home in any community they choose. It means working at every level – local, state, and federal - to dismantle the barriers we constructed through zoning and land use that perpetuate segregation and inequality. It also means recommitting to listening to those closest to the pain and using our platform to elevate their voices.

Over CHAPA’s more than fifty-year history, we have borne witness to the causes and effects of exclusionary housing policies. We hope you will join us in working for effective change and just outcomes for all.

Rachel Heller
Chief Executive Officer
Citizens' Housing & Planning Association