THE CPC WAY / Community Development

Celebrating and Honoring Juneteenth

By Rafael E. Cestero, President & CEO

Tomorrow is June 19th, Juneteenth, a holiday that commemorates the emancipation of enslaved people in the U.S.  It is a day that millions of Americans have celebrated to honor their freedom, and a day that until recently millions more didn’t even know people were celebrating.

Let us all spend some time this weekend to honor the significance of Juneteenth and celebrate how far we’ve come, while also recognizing the long road ahead to achieve true equality and justice for all.  Learn about its history and why we should all honor and observe the day – read about it or watch a video, or attend an event to celebrate the day.

In response to the social justice movements that gained strength last year, CPC, like many companies, began to ask ourselves what we could do to advance equality and inclusion through our work and within our own company.  In August, we launched CPC ACCESS (Acquiring Capital and Capacity for Economic Stability and Sustainability), a program that has allowed us to focus on empowering black and brown developers and deploying more capital to the people and places who need it most. We’ve helped a husband and wife team in Rochester acquire a property that they intend to rehab as affordable housing, we provided a construction loan to a couple from Haiti living in Poughkeepsie who were unable to access traditional financing, and will soon close a construction loan for a small property in Syracuse’s 15th Ward that will help revitalize the formerly red-lined community.

Earlier this month, we partnered with New York State to amplify this work, and promote affordable homeownership for black and brown households. The most important way we can close the wealth gap in this country is by creating opportunities to build generational wealth through homeownership.  Legacy Cities is just the beginning of this work for CPC. I couldn’t be prouder of the work done by the ACCESS team in such a short period of time.

I invite you to join me in celebrating Juneteenth by sharing what you know with someone who doesn’t know it yet:  start a conversation about the residual effects of redlining, the racial homeownership gap, or the ways in which biases have been institutionalized in our society and how those things still impact black and brown communities.

I am committed to continuing to ask ourselves how we can do more and push ahead together, and looking forward to continuing the work and the conversation.

 

By Rafael E. Cestero, President & CEO
Rafael E. Cestero is the President and Chief Executive Officer of the Community Preservation Corporation (CPC), and a member of its board of directors.

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