Greater Baltimore Community Housing Resource Board, Inc. (GBCHRB)....................August, 2006 / Vol.12, No. 4

FAIR HOUSING NEWS

A newsletter about fair housing, community development, and neighborhood quality of life


GREETINGS!

Welcome to Fair Housing News!, a newsletter produced by the GBCHRB as a public service. Contact us for a free copy of any article or if you would like this e-mailed to you: 410-453-9500 / 800-895-6302 / mail@gbchrb.org. More info/resources: http://www.gbchrb.org.


IN THE NATIONAL NEWS

Katrina Anniversary Marked with New Anti-Discrimination Campaign in New Orleans. The Greater New Orleans Fair Housing Action Center has begun an advertising campaign featuring print, TV, and radio public service announcements. Download or view them at www.gnofairhousing.org. As the Center's director commented, "A just rebuilding of New Orleans requires equal housing opportunity for everyone." (Press Release by the Center, August 29, 2006; www.civilrights.org)

craigslist.com Accused of Fair Housing Act Violations. In the last year, the site's listings for housing around Chicago, for example, have included advertisements such as "African Americans and Arabians tend to clash with me so that won't work out" & "Requirements: Clean Godly Christian Male," according to the Chicago Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights Under Law. The popular list (54th according to Alexa stats) was sued by the Committee earlier in 2006. The list's defense is that it is exempt from the Fair Housing Act via the Communications Decency Act. craigslist, Amazon, and eBay claim that holding Internet service providers responsible for third-party content "would hurt the public's ability to post free ads online" & prove unworkable. Sounds like the old arguments against civil rights to me. (www.knowledgeplex.org/news, August 30, 2006)

Settlement Reached on "Active Adult" Community. This increasingly popular type of subdivision discourages families with children but doesn't comply with more stringent federal housing laws allowing senior-citizen-only complexes. As a result of the lawsuit brought by the Toledo Fair Housing Center, a mostly completed 600-unit villa and condo development in Toledo, Ohio, will market itself as a "55 and older community," a type of development allowed under federal fair Housing laws. (Toledo Blade, August 29, 2006)

HUD Charges Illinois Landlord with Violating Fair Housing Act by Not Providing an Accessible Parking Space. A Schaumburg, Illinois property owner was charged for refusing to provide an accessible parking space to a tenant with physical disabilities. The tenant needs to use a cane to walk. HUD Assistant Secretary for Fair Housing & Equal Opportunity Kim Kendrick commented, "No one who has a physical disability should be denied a reasonable accommodation needed in order to function on a daily basis. Only through continuous education efforts & aggressive enforcement actions can we end the unlawful practice of denying these requests." (www.hud.gov, August 30, 2006)

Civil Rights Attorney Fred Gray Given Ming Award by NAACP. The Alabama attorney was presented the William Robert Ming Advocacy Award at the NAACP's annual convention. Gray represented Rosa Parks following her historic refusal to give up a bus seat in Montgomery, consulted with then NAACP chief counsel Thurgood Marshall, represented many times the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., & helped lead the Tuskegee Syphilis Study class-action lawsuit against the federal government. Gray also has received the American Bar Association's 2004 Thurgood Marshall Award, recognizing long-term contributions to the advancement of civil rights, civil liberties, & rights in the USA. (www.naacp.org, August 30, 2006)

Good Neighbor Awards Finalists Recognized by the National Association of Realtors in REALTOR® Magazine. The 7th annual Awards recognize Realtoras "who are shining examples of the power of one person to improve the quality of life for others." Among the 2006 finalists are Chuck Ayala who founded Centro Latino de San Francisco, a community center serving 2,000 low-income seniors with meals, transportation, bilingual assistance, & health assessments. The Awards are sponsored by eNeighborhoods, Inc., Fannie Mae, & LandAmerica. More info: www.realtor.org/realtormag.

 

ADA Anniversary Marked

Advocates Continue to Push for Rights on the 16th Anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act. The Act, signed on July 26, 1990, protects individuals with physical and mental disabilities against discrimination in the areas of employment, public accommodations, & transportation, among others. As a direct result of the ADA, (some) buses now have chairlifts, (most) hotels have ramps, and (some) restrooms are wheelchair accessible. (www.civilrights.org, July 28, 2006) At the anniversary event of the American Association of People with Disabilities on July 26th, JPMorgan Chase, Adapt, Pennsylvania SLIC, & two Congressmen received 2006 Justice for All Awards.

Adapt Wheelchair Users Seek Catholic Support for Community Living Law. Over 30 Adapt members in wheelchairs occupied the lobby of the U. S. Conference of Catholic Bishops on July 27th seeking support for a federal law helping people with disabilities live in their communities instead of nursing homes. The Medicaid Community-based Attendant Services & Support Act (MiCASSA) has been introduced in Congress. Adapt is a national organization fighting for disability rights. After meeting with Adapt, top officials of the Conference agreed to a follow-up meeting. (Catholic News Service, July 28, 2006; www.catholicnews.com)


LOCAL NEWS

The Deadline for Baltimore County Good Neighbor Week Nominations is September 8th. The submission deadline for Bridge Builder Awards (activities or events advancing harmony & understanding among different races, ethnicities, and/or faiths) and Volunteer Service Awards (service that helps neighbors and strengthens community) is September 8th for this wonderful 11th annual program. You are urged to nominate an individual or organization. Let's recognize good works! Contact Jay Doyle at 410-887-2483 / jdoyle@co.ba.md.us.


DID YOU KNOW?

Check out the E-Newsletter of the National Organization on Disability. It has great facts, news, religious congregational participation, and more. Info: www.nod.org.

Part of the www.civilrights.org network, www.fairhousinglaw.org is a Great Fair Housing Resource. The site has excellent Fair Housing definitions & summaries, radio ads in five languages, multilingual ads in 12 languages, & good links.

Contact the GBCHRB for FREE Fair Housing Info, Brochures, & Posters in English, Spanish, Korean, and Russia. We have informational brochures, Self-Help Guides to Fair Housing for individual counties, curricula for renting & buying housing, & much more! 410-453-9500 / 800-895-6302 / mail@gbchrb.org.

The GBCHRB's Neighborhood Beat TV Show Is on Cable Stations Throughout Maryland! Hosted by Dr. Bill Kladky, the 30-minute interview show runs in Baltimore City, and the counties of Anne Arundel, Baltimore, Carroll, Harford, Howard, Calvert, St. Mary's, Talbot, Prince George's, the City of Takoma Park, & Montgomery! Contact us at 410-453-9500 / 800-895-6302 / mail@gbchrb.org for days and times!

 

INTERESTING BOOKS

There Goes My Everything: White Southerners in the Age of Civil Rights, 1945-1975. by Jason Sokol. Knopf, 2006. $27.95. 448pp. hardcover. Sokol presents a complex portrait of the individual personal lives of white Southerners living under tidal change. To me, the intensely human emotions - good & bad, understandable & deplorable - make this an important part of the story. However, as one reviewer commented, "To this day, when the racial landscape of the South has changed almost beyond recognition, resistance & denial are widespread." Much work remains to be done.


REST IN PEACE

Dr. Gilbert R. Mason, Sr., Civil Rights Advocate, 77. A close friend of NAACP Field Secretary Medgar Evers who was shot in 1963, Mason probably is best remembered for organizing wade-ins at Biloxi, Mississippi, beaches to protest whites-only access. Mason was the first African American admitted to the Mississippi Academy of Physicians in 1970. In 2000, Mason published his autobiography Beaches, Blood and Ballots: A Black Doctor's Civil Rights Struggle. In a 2000 interview with The Clarion-Ledger, a local newspaper, Mason recalled the state's history in which he played such a pivotal role. "We've been a part of Mississippi soil and grit for over 100 years. This is the day the Lord has made. I will be proud and rejoice in it." Amen. (www.naacp.org, August 30, 2006)