When the leadership of the Greater Baltimore Board of REALTORS® decided to make a public stand denouncing racism and other challenges to fair housing, it went big – and took to the airwaves. With the support of a Fair Housing Grant from the REALTOR® Party, the board produced a trio of thirty-second videos to air throughout the region and on social media, featuring messages delivered by GBBR’s Board President, the President-Elect, and the Mayor of the City of Baltimore.
The high-profile campaign was a natural outgrowth of the powerful public condemnation of racism that the GBBR Board of Directors had issued during the eventful summer of 2020, stating, in part:
To be silent is to be complicit. We stand as one with our members and our community in rejecting racism. Our identity is rooted in empowering everyone in our community. We stand for inclusion.
The media effort was devised by GBBR’s newly created Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Taskforce – now a permanent committee – to get out in front of the issue and establish REALTORS® as the face of fair housing and equal opportunity in the Baltimore region. Jenifer League, the board’s Senior Director of Operations, explains that, in brainstorming, the taskforce floated the idea of creating some high-profile commercials. “The board had been very pleased with a production company we’d worked with when the installation of our 2021 officers was forced to go virtual, so we already had a relationship with some real pros. They were great. We scripted the messages and organized ‘the talent,’ and they put together three very polished video spots, with background music, stock footage, and graphics.”
In the first video, 2021 President Patricia Kallmyer and President-Elect Nakia Evans acknowledge the existence of racism in the real estate industry and assert that “Our identity is rooted in empowering everyone in our community.” The second spot features Kallmyer affirming the REALTORS®’ commitment to diversity and inclusion in their ranks, and in Baltimore’s communities. In the final video – shot in one take! – Mayor Brandon Scott stands in front of City Hall stating that equitable and affordable housing is essential to the health of the city, and extolling the REALTORS®’ Code of Ethics and dedication to fair housing. “We’re lucky that the mayor is great on camera,” laughs League. But it was more than just luck that he picked up the phone when Alan Ingraham, GBBR’s CEO, called: “Alan and our RPAC group are extremely active on the local level, and have worked hard at establishing these important relationships,” League notes. “The videos were made possible in part by the grant from the REALTOR® Party, but getting the mayor to participate in the campaign? That’s our RPAC dollars at work.”
Each video directs viewers to www.housing4everyone.com, a new Fair Housing page on the GBBR website that contains information on protected classes, links to fair housing partners’ websites, and other resources for consumers, as well as industry professionals. The production company, well-connected in the local media universe, helped to secure prominent placement for the spots on regional broadcast and cable, and digital streaming services. For several months, says League, GBBR’s powerful ads will reach anyone in Baltimore with access to a screen. “Our message is everywhere!”
To learn more about the Greater Baltimore Board of REALTORS®’ high-profile stance against systemic racism and for fair housing, contact Senior Director of Operations Jenifer League at 410.337.7200 or Jleague@gbbr.org.