Cultural Diversity Committee Moves Onward to DEI

 Debbi Conrad, WRA Senior Attorney and Director of Legal Affairs  |    March 01, 2023

Before it was the Equal Opportunity in Housing Committee. Then it became the Cultural Diversity in Housing Committee. This same committee is once again expanding its horizons and shifting to a new focus under the new name: the WRA Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) Committee.

Accessibility features reports

The Cultural Diversity in Housing Committee has an admirable list of accomplishments, an impressive catalog of great success. Its most recent projects include the Modern Era Accessibility Features Reports. The WRA Basic Sellers’ Accessibility Features Report is two pages long and focuses on physical features or attributes of the seller’s home that would tend to be of the greatest interest to a buyer with mobility concerns, although the items regarding motions sensors, good illumination and strobe light alerts will appeal to a broader spectrum. The WRA Sellers’ Accessibility Features Report is five pages long, is in slightly larger font, and includes more property features that persons with vision and hearing disabilities may desire. Reading through the reports is sure to educate everyone about all the various features that may be incorporated in a home to make it more comfortable for persons with different special needs. The two new AFR forms may be found in Transactions (zipForm edition) and on the WRA Customers with Disabilities resource webpage at

Implicit bias

Launched in the February 2022 issue of Wisconsin Real Estate Magazine and designed to educate the REALTOR® community about implicit bias, the WRA implicit bias posters highlight various simple images of individuals with three arbitrary nouns as descriptions of the individual. The campaign images may be the faces of your prospective clients, customers, buyers, sellers, renters, landlords, investors, lenders, title agents, attorneys, members of your community or your fellow REALTORS®. The posters challenge the viewer, “who do you see?” Does your conscious mind or your subconscious brain — your implicit bias — provide the first answer?

The NAR video “Bias Override: Overcoming Barriers to Fair Housing,” was an important aspect of this implicit bias campaign. After watching the video, the committee felt the video was a bit complex and hard to watch because it was full of so many important concepts packed back-to-back. The committee decided to watch the video, pinpoint important segments that resonated with the committee members, and have committee members share a summary of the concept and their personal observations and reactions. This content provided short summaries of some of the key lessons in the video for the benefit of WRA members. You can meet some of these awesome committee members and read how implicit bias concepts apply in their real estate business and personal life experiences by following the “read full narrative” links at

The Color of Law

The next project tackled was to find a way to share with WRA members the story of de jure segregation as told in the documented account, The Color of Law. The historical account of the measures taken by the government to ensure that segregation would prevail, to prevent integration and to exclude Blacks from reasonable mortgage loans and the purchase of even modest homes in nice neighborhoods is very unpleasant if not shocking. It is a tough read for many, so the committee members decided they would read the book and provide Readers’ Digest snippets to give a taste of the information found in the chapters of The Color of Law. Thus committee members read The Color of Law and revealed some of facts they learned and their reactions to this information so that WRA members can get a sense of what the book divulges and hopefully want to learn more about the history of segregation in this country via the resources found at

Partnership for success program

In the background to all of these activities, the committee has administered the Partnership for Success Program. As reported in the January 2023 issue of Wisconsin Real Estate Magazine, that program is undergoing exciting new changes to enhance the success of new minority agents. Thus, it seems fitting that the committee also undergo exciting new changes. One thing that will not change, however, is that a subcommittee within the new DEI Committee will continue to administer the Partnership for Success Program.

Diversity, equity and inclusion

The DEI Committee is turning the page and focusing on new issues and goals. Many of the committee members have changed over the years, yet there is a core group that has stayed the same that is embarking upon the journey to determine how to bring a culture of diversity, equity and inclusion to the WRA. 

First, the basics. DEI terms are related, but each carries its own meaning

  • Diversity describes differences in characteristics like race, religion, age, gender, sexual orientation and ability
  • Equity ensures everyone receives fair treatment and equal access to resources, opportunities and success
  • Inclusion is about fostering a sense of value and empowerment and engaging everyone to contribute, participate and succeed.

The concepts of diversity, equity and inclusion are intended to address and eliminate societal divisions and disparities we might find in our midst or in our communities. The committee will look for ways to increase DEI within the WRA. Committee members will explore appropriate training that leadership, committees and others might benefit from to ground them and give them perspective to implement DEI initiatives within this organization, including the development of a DEI policy. DEI should become an integral component of the WRA’s values and culture, and the committee will seek ways to achieve that mission.

Additional resources

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