Housing and Resistance for Black History Month 

Black History Month is an annual celebration of achievements by African Americans and a time for recognizing Black Americans’ central role in U.S. history. Since 1976, every U.S. president has officially designated the month of February as Black History Month. The 2023 theme, “Black Resistance,” explores how “African Americans have resisted historic and ongoing oppression, in all forms, especially the racial terrorism of lynching, racial pogroms, and police killings,” since the nation’s earliest days. As HDC, we are dedicating time this Black History Month to reflect on the past but more importantly focus our efforts on addressing systemic inequities for the generations to come.  

It is well known that families thrive when they can build assets and pass them down to future generations. For wealthier households, building intergenerational wealth typically includes owning property. But decades of systemic barriers have excluded many Black families from accessing this path to prosperity creating a deep wealth gap that persists today, with only 31% of Black households in our county owning homes, compared to 60% of white households.  

The Black Home Initiative (BHI) is a new regional effort that targets the racial inequities at the core of the housing ecosystem to increase homeownership among Black households. Through this work we are building a BHI Network of people inspired and driven to take action, who are ready to roll up their sleeves and advocate for homeownership across the Puget Sound Region.  

As the leading advocacy partner of the Black Home Initiative, HDC is beyond thrilled by recent legislative efforts that are on the cusp of groundbreaking solutions to close the racial homeownership gap. This week, we showed up in droves in Olympia, with 1000 others signing in pro in support of the Covenant Homeownership Account (CHA) bill, which would support homeownership for those affected by generations of systematic and discriminatory housing policies through a first-in-the-nation use of a Special Purpose Credit Program by a government agency. The passage of this bill will be a trailblazing outcome in the fight for housing justice. 

This work will take all of us coming together to make change possible. If you are ready to advocate for this and other bills that can help close the racial homeownership gap, please sign up for BHI Advocacy Alerts today.  

As John Lewis advised, “Do not get lost in a sea of despair. Be hopeful, be optimistic. Our struggle is not the struggle of a day, a week, a month, or a year, it is the struggle of a lifetime. Never, ever be afraid to make some noise and get in good trouble, necessary trouble.” 

Let’s come together this month to show appreciation for those who have paved the way for our community! Check out this curated list of events from across King County related to Black history, housing, architecture, art, and equity.   

Additional Reading 

  • Watch our Executive Director Patience Malaba, and the bill sponsors Representative Jamila Taylor and Frank Chopp talk about the importance of the Covenant Homeownership Account bill in the news.  
  • Read more about the Covenant Homeownership Account bill here
  • Read the bill summary here.