An Easter message by Rick Beech, VP of Faith Relations
In the Christian tradition, we are in the Easter season. Easter pivots around two days. On Friday, there is the crucifixion. It is as dark as it gets. It appears that darkness wins. On Sunday, there is the resurrection. It is as light as it gets. Hope wins.
As we look at our community’s affordable housing crisis and the work to build the Beloved Community -- of justice, equal opportunity, and love for all -- it often feels like we are stuck in Friday.
In Wake and Johnston counties, 1 in 4 families is cost burdened, meaning they pay too much of their income toward housing at the expense of other necessities like groceries, healthcare and education. The shameful racist housing polices of the past are indeed not old news at all, but continue to shape the trajectory of families everywhere. The rate of Black homeownership is now lower than it was before overt discrimination was legal (44 percent compared to 74 percent for white households). The racial divide of household net worth is even more stark -- $17,000 for Black families compared to $171,000 for white families.
It sure looks and feels like we are in Friday, but Sunday is coming. Last month, we had 50 Advocacy Ambassadors meeting with 11 local elected officials to advocate for greater access to affordable housing. And the Advocacy Ambassador program, now with 180 participants, is just getting warmed up! We have a lot more Fridays in front of us, but Sunday is coming with our advocacy work.
After months of Fridays waiting for building permits at Old Poole Place, Sunday has come. We are raising walls and roofs now on 13 homes with many more behind them. We recently had our biggest day ever at Old Poole Place with 150 volunteers, with other new construction and home preservation projects also underway.
While the cultural, racial and religious divisions seem Friday-wide, Sunday is coming. 130 congregations from nine religious traditions have bridged that divide on the Habitat Wake construction sites. Since October, 325 of you have attended Race and Housing Dialogues to make sure the Beloved Community has the final word.
Loving God, it sure feels like Friday in so many ways. Help us not to lose hope. Fuel us with your courage and strength today to be Sunday people. Builders of your Beloved Community of justice, equal opportunity and love for all! Amen