Blog Community Real Estate on Stolen Land: Building a More Inclusive and Equitable Future

Real Estate on Stolen Land: Building a More Inclusive and Equitable Future

By Lydia Hallay, October 10, 2023

I love helping clients achieve their dreams of home ownership. But the land I practice real estate on has a painful history. It was stolen from Indigenous communities through colonization and displacement. The history of real estate is riddled with systemic racism that has resulted in housing disparities in our communities. Acknowledging past (and current) oppression on the land we realtors work on is important. So is using our power and influence to actively contribute to just society and a more inclusive and equitable future.

Acknowledgment Matters

Have you incorporated a land acknowledgment statement into your realtor profile or website? Land acknowledgements aren’t just symbolic. They’re a powerful step towards reconciliation and change. As realtors, we make a living helping folks buy and sell property. Thus, it’s important to recognize the history of racism (and sexism, homophobia, and transphobia) in this industry and pay tribute to the Indigenous peoples who have cared for this land for centuries.

The Portland Metro area rests on the ancestral lands of the Cowlitz, Multnomah, Kathlamet, Clackamas, Tumwater, Tualatin Kalapuya, Wasco, Molalla, Watlala, Bands of the Chinook, and so many other nations who made this area their home. In addition to the federally recognized tribes mentioned, there are numerous “unrecognized” tribes and Indigenous groups whose stories are also important.

Acknowledging our failures and flaws (collectively and individually) opens the door for us to do better.

Advocate for Change

As realtors, we advocate for our clients all the time. We can also advocate for policies and initiatives that address housing disparities and promote equitable access to housing for all. Whether marching in the streets, engaging in conversation with our clients/peers, or in lobbying elected decision-makers- even small actions turn the wheels of justice ’round.

Providing direct support to organizations that serve and uplift historically marginalized/oppressed communities is one way we as Realtors can address injustice. In Portland, we’re fortunate to have organizations like Native American Youth and Family Center (NAYA) and Q Center (among many others) doing critical work to build more inclusive and equitable communities. I give a portion of every paycheck to Taking Ownership PDX and donate to organizations and mutual aid efforts in my community. I’m proud to hang my license at Living Room Realty, a Certified B-corp. The brokerage gives 5 percent of annual profits to local charities.

Embrace Learning & Growth

No one gets it right all the time. That’s okay. We can all try to do better- as professionals in our industry, as members of our communities, and as human beings trying not to be assholes in our short stint here. Self-reflection is essential- as is being willing to show up authentically (and politically) in our professional lives.

As a broker body, we have a responsibility to understand the racist history of our industry, including redlining policies, discriminatory lending practices, and the displacement of communities of color. There are lots of resources to learn from- like this great podcast about the history of racism and housing discrimination in Portland. We should know whose land we’re on. Here’s a great resource, if you’re not quite sure.

Stronger Together

It can feel scary to advocate for progressive change in our communities, our cities, and our industry. Even though I’ve spent most of my adult life engaged in justice work, I still feel anxious putting posts like this out into the world. What if I get called out for not being radical enough? What if my words aren’t perfect? What if clients decide not to work with me? What if I lose followers on social media? What if my peers think I’m a joke?

As professionals in an industry very much rooted in exploitative capitalism, white supremacy, & colonialism, we as realtors can and should use our voices and privilege to support a more inclusive and equitable future. If a potential client doesn’t want to work with me because I’m vocal about those things- well, that’s okay. I’m not for everyone (and, they’re probably not for me).

Interested in talking more? I’d love to connect with other folks who are working towards positive change in our community. Reach out!

 

 

Lydia Hallay

Broker | OR

She/They

Buying or selling a home is often one of the biggest (and most stressful) decisions you'll ever make. I'm here to make your experience as seamless (and fun) as possible. Looking to buy? Whether you're a design-minded dreamer looking for that mid-century unicorn, an investor on the hunt for a fixer (or a 5-plex) to tear into, or a first-time buyer in need of a gentle guide - I'm a skilled negotiator with an eye for design and a knack for finding homes with "good bones." I'm on a mission to ensure you feel empowered and cared for throughout the home-buying process. Ready to sell? If you want to maximize your sales price, you've come to the right place! With a background in landscape/interior design and construction/project management, I've got the tools it takes to make your house shine. When it comes to catching buyer attention, I go beyond the traditional (ex. open houses, RMLS, etc.)- incorporating cutting-edge tools and outside-the-box strategy to build the hype. When it's time to negotiate, my years of experience bargaining contracts mean I'm calm under pressure and know what it takes to get to YES. Like many folks working in real estate, I've got a grab-bag of past lives that inform how I show up. Most of my 20's and 30's (17 years), I worked as a union organizer/negotiator on the state and national level- helping workers across sectors and industries join together and become leaders in the fight for better wages & benefits, a voice on the job, and political power. I've been an entrepreneur, a landscape designer, freelance florist, and have a deep well of personal experience with home renovation & property management under my belt. Aside from working with buyers & sellers, I volunteer my time as the Integrity Chair on Living Room Realty's Broker Advisory Group.  In that role, I serve as Living Room's broker representative for our B-Corp status. A portion of every one of my paychecks goes to Taking Ownership PDX, a community collective of contractors, realtors, neighbors, and businesses who support Black homeowners to age in place, generate wealth, and deflect the gentrification process by deterring predatory investors and realtors.  
About Me: I was born in Memphis, raised in the Sonoran desert (Phoenix), and have been in the PNW since 2003. I identify as queer, and use she/they pronouns. I'm married with sweeties (i.e., I practice ethical non-monogamy) and nest with my spouse, dog, and two cats in the Lents neighborhood of outer SE Portland. I'm a people person, music nerd, avid gardener, and seed-sower/organizer. Since coming to Portland in 2004, I've witnessed many iterations of the city. I'm bullish on the future here- and excited about all our region has to offer. Good food, proximity to nature, an incredible local music scene, and an inclusive community are just a handful of the reasons I love this area. As your realtor, I promise to show up as myself. I'll hustle hard on your behalf with patience, a good listening ear, professionalism, and a goofy sense of humor. What you see is what you get, friends. And if we decide to work together, that's the kind of authenticity I hope you feel comfortable showing too. Ready to make magic happen? Feel free to shoot me a text/email, or give me an old fashioned ring. I'm excited to meet you!
Land Acknowledgement & Mission Statement As a Realtor, the land I do business on is unceded Indigenous land. The Portland Metro area rests on the ancestral lands of the Cowlitz, Multnomah, Kathlamet, Clackamas, Tumwater, Tualatin Kalapuya, Wasco, Molalla, Watlala, Bands of the Chinook, and so many other nations who made this area their home. In addition to the federally recognized tribes mentioned, there are numerous “unrecognized” tribes and Indigenous groups whose stories are also important. I recognize these tribes' legacy, lives, and descendants, and acknowledge my role and responsibility as a guest on stolen lands. I am committed to using my voice and influence as a real estate professional (and, as a human being) to actively contribute to a more just and equitable future- one that promotes dignity, respect, and repair for the damaged caused by systemic oppression, white supremacy, homophobia/transphobia, and exploitative capitalism. If you can't get behind all that. We're probably not a good fit. :)    
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  • T: 503-807-0156
  • lydiah@livingroomre.com

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