Greater Baltimore Community Housing Resource Board, Inc. (GBCHRB)                      October, 2007 / Vol.1, No. 5

 

 FAIR HOUSING NEWS

 

  A newsletter about fair housing, community development, & 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.

 

 

NATIONAL NEWS

 

Mortgage Lending News.....

 

NAACP Sues 14 Mortgage Lenders Alleging Steerage to Subprime Loans.  In July, the NAACP filed suit in Los Angeles Federal Court against 14 of the country’s largest lenders, alleging "systematic, institutionalized racism" in their sub-prime home mortgage lending. The first known lawsuit that challenges such lending practices on a broad scale, the suit was announced at the NAACP’s 98th annual convention, themed “Power Beyond Measure,” in Detroit.  According to the lawsuit, African American homeowners who received sub-prime mortgage loans from these lenders were over 30% more likely to be issued a higher rate loan than white borrowers with the same qualifications.  Mortgage lenders named in the lawsuit include Ameriquest, Fremont Investment & Loan, Option One, WMC Mortgage, Long Beach Mortgage, BNC Mortgage, Accredited Home Lenders, Encore Credit, Bear Sterns First Franklin Financial, HSBC Finance and Washington Mutual.  “The NAACP is bringing this suit as part of its longstanding demand that offending lenders stop discriminatory practices and bring their activities into compliance with federal law including the Fair Housing Act, the Equal Credit Opportunity Act, and the Civil Rights Act,” said NAACP Interim General Counsel Angela Ciccolo.   According to the lawsuit, these statistical disparities are not mere coincidences, but instead are "a result of systematic and predatory targeting of African-American borrowers."   (http://www.naacp.org/news/press/2007-07-11/index.htm)

 

Study Finds Significant Racial Disparities in NYC Mortgages.  The study using 2006 HMDA data by NYU's Furman Center for Real Estate and Urban Policy found that home purchasers in Black and Hispanic neighborhoods in New York were much more likely to get their mortgage from a subprime lender than white purchasers in white areas, with similar income levels.  The 10 neighborhoods with the highest percentage of subprime had Black and Hispanic majorities, while the 10 lowest areas were primarily non-Hispanic whites.  (New York Times, October 15, 2007:A20)

 

 

In Other News.....

 

October is National Disability Employment Awareness Month.  National Disability Employment Awareness Month is the "foundation for continued efforts to educate the American public about issues related to disability and employment as well as to expand employment opportunities for individuals with disabilities."  Originally enacted by Congress in 1945 as National “Employ the Physically Handicapped Week,” this year's theme for National Disability Employment Awareness Month is "Workers with Disabilities: Talent for a Winning Team!"  (http://www.nod.org)

 

Rights Groups Sue Prince William County Over Illegal Immigration Crackdown.  Several civil rights groups filed a lawsuit against the County's nationally-watched measure ordering police to check the immigration status of people in custody violates federal law.  The County supervisors raised immigration enforcement by local police and planned curbing public services for illegal immigrants.  "This is instilling fear; it's causing racial divisions and it's making our community a place that is uninhabitable for people of color," commented a spokesperson for the Woodbridge Workers Committee, one of the plaintiffs.  Plaintiffs said that the County's actions had resulted in increased discrimination against Hispanics and other immigrants.  (Washington Post, October 11, 2007:B6)

 

Census Finds Immigrants are Increasingly Moving Directly to the Suburbs.  The Census Bureau's annual survey found that about 4 in 10 immigrants are moving directly from abroad to the suburbs.  Data are from the Annual Social and Economic Supplement to the Current Population Survey.  The package of tables, Geographical Mobility: 2006, describes migration in the US.  Some of this year’s findings included:  in 2006, 39.8 million United States residents moved within the previous year; the moving rate remained statistically unchanged from 2005 at 14%; almost half of the reasons given for moving (18.4 million) were housing related, such as wanting a bigger or smaller house; the West had the highest moving rate (16%), followed by the South (15%), the Midwest (13%) and the Northeast (10%); Hispanics had the highest moving rate (18%), followed by Blacks (17%), Asians (14%) and non-Hispanic whites (12%); and in 2006, 30% of all people living in renter-occupied housing units lived elsewhere a year earlier, while the moving rate for people in owner-occupied housing was 7%.  (http://www.census.gov/pubinfo/www/news/index.html)

 

Gene Roberts and Hank Klibanoff Won the Just-Announced 2007 Pulitzer Prize for History for their The Race Beat.  Their book, which was reviewed in this publication some months ago and was just published in paperback, is an excellent chronicle of the media's coverage of the Civil Rights Movement.  Take a look at our review in the "Interesting Books" section of this newsletter.  (http://www.pulitzer.org)

 

Compensation for Baltimore Disability Access Lawsuit Settled.  756 People Will Share $1 Million.  Advocated for the disabled announced that the 756 people with disabilities will be compensated by a fund established as part of a 2004 settlement of a lawsuit alleging thousands were intentionally or illegally excluded from public housing in Baltimore.  The Maryland Disability Law Center and the U. S. Department of Justice had sued the Housing Authority of Baltimore City.  Those recommended for compensation include those denied housing because they used a wheelchair, and one who had requested grab bars and fell repeatedly in the shower.  (Baltimore Sun, August 18, 2007:3B)

 

 

DID YOU KNOW?

 

The Maryland Humanities Council Has a Grant Program to Fund Community Promotion of Racial Dialogue.  Timed to be around 2008's 40th anniversary of the assassination of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., the King Initiative Grants totalling $500,000 will be for forums, seminars, and community events.  To celebrate the legacy of  King, the MHC is launching a statewide initiative to engage Marylanders in an examination of Dr. King's legacy and race relations in their communities.  Dr. King's writings and speeches will be used as the starting point for a community conversation led by MHC-trained facilitators.  (http://www.mdhc.org/programs/mlk.htm)  (Baltimore Sun, April 25, 2007:1B)

 

Take a look at the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture.  Its current exhibitions include "Color Pictures and Road to Freedom: Photographs of the Civil Rights Movement, 1956 - 1968."  "Let Your Motto Be Resistance: African American Portraits" is the museum's inaugural exhibition from the collection of the National Portrait Gallery.  The Inaugural Exhibition, Let Your Motto Be Resistance: African American Portraits, is on view from October 19 through March 2, 2008 at the National Portrait Gallery, Eighth and F streets N.W., Washington, D.C.  The exhibition's theme, African American resistance across 150 years of U.S. history, was inspired by the words of Henry Highland Garnet, an abolitionist and clergyman.  On August 16, 1843, Garnet spoke to a group of northern free blacks gathered to discuss the future prospects of black America. Frustrated at the lack of progress, he advocated action:  “Strike for your lives and liberties. Let your motto be Resistance! Resistance! RESISTANCE! What kind of resistance you make you must decide by the circumstances that surround you.”  (http://nmaahc.si.edu/section/programs)

 

Contact the GBCHRB for FREE Fair Housing Info, Brochures, & Posters in English, Spanish, Korean, and Russian.   We have brochures, Self-Help Guides to Fair Housing for individual counties, curricula for renting & buying housing, and much more!  Quantities available for no charge!  Contact us at: 410-453-9500 / 800-895-6302 / mail@gbchrb.org.

 

The GBCHRB's Neighborhood Beat TV Show Is on Cable Stations Across Maryland! Hosted by Dr. Bill Kladky, the 30-minute interview show runs in Baltimore City, the counties of Anne Arundel, Baltimore, Carroll, Harford, Howard, Calvert, St. Mary's, Talbot, Prince George's, and Montgomery, and the City of Takoma Park.  Call 410-453-9500 for days and times - or for a copy of a show.

 

 

INTERESTING BOOKS

 

Gene Roberts and Hank Klibanoff, The Race Beat: The Press, the Civil Rights Struggle, and the Awakening of a Nation.  New York: Vintage.  544pp.  $15.95 pbk.  From the Publishers Weekly review:  "This gripping account of how America and the world found out about the Civil Rights movement is written by two veteran journalists of the 'race beat' from 1954 to 1965. Building on an exhaustive base of interviews, oral histories and memoirs, news stories and editorials, they reveal how prescient Gunnar Myrdal was in asserting that 'to get publicity is of the highest strategic importance to the Negro people.'  The authors provide a fresh account of the black press's trajectory from a time when black reporters searched "for stories white reporters didn't even know about" through the loss of the black press's "eyewitness position on the story" in Little Rock to its recovery with the Freedom Rides."

 

 

 

REST IN PEACE

 

Albert Armendariz, Sr., Civil Rights Lawyer, 88.  Founder of the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund (MALDEF) and President of the League of United Latin American Citizens, Armendariz helped argue Hernandez v. the State of Texas, establishing Hispanics as a distinct legal class entitled to protection under the 14th Amendment in 1954.  He worked as an immigration judge from 1976 to 1985 and later was appointed to the Texas Court of Appeals.  As a MALDEF representative summed, "His legacy is... another generation of leaders of organizations and people using their legal education to defend the rights of Latinos, whether they're the newest newcomers or have been here for a few generations and still face discrimination."  (Washington Post, October 10, 2007:B8)

 

Frank Bowe, Professor and Activist for People with Disabilities, 60.  Bowe, the first head of the American Coalition of Citizens With Disabilities, helped direct the 1977 sit-ins leading to enforcement of the first major law against discrimination of the disabled, preparing the way for the Americans With Disabilities Act of 1990.  A Hofstra University special education professor, Bowe studied the effects of public policy on communication by the disabled, as well as the financial and educational disadvantages faced by those with disabilities.  (Washington Post, August 31, 2007:B8)

 

Oliver White Hill, Sr., Civil Rights Lawyer, 100.  Awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President William J. Clinton in 1999, Hill was the lead lawyer in Davis v. County School Board of Prince Edward County, Virginia, one of five cases the U. S. Supreme Court combined in its landmark Brown v. Board of Education decision declaring public school segregation illegal.  (Washington Post, August 13, 2007:B1)

 

Donald Sullivan, Interfaith Activist, 82.  Sullivan was the long-time head of the National Conference of Christians and Jews (NCCJ), which promotes religious and interracial harmony.  Dr. Sullivan worked with Mayor Walter Washington and the Urban Coalition to raise funds for food and clothing for those displaced by Washington's 1968 riots.  He also helped facilitate dialogue among community officials to improve race relations in the District and Virginia.  After retiring from the NCCJ, Sullivan cteated Urban Partnerships, which created intrernship and professional opportunities for Southeast Washington high school students.  (Washington Post, September 7, 2007:B7)

 

Ernest Withers, Civil Rights Photographer, 85.   The freelancer Withers' "arresting black-and-white images" documented civil rights history, including the trial of the killers of Emmett Till, the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. resting at the Lorraine Motel in Memphis, on one of the first desegregated buses in Montgomery, AL, in 1956, a mass of men all holding "I am a Man" placards at the Memphis garbage workers' strike (above pictured), and so many more.  His work, including music and baseball, has been collected in four books.  As the historymakers.com tells it, he "told the story of the Civil Rights Movement in ways no one else ever could – by viewing key periods of the Movement firsthand through the lens of his camera."  (New York Times, October 17, 2007:C12; http://www.thehistorymakers.com)