Discrimination in housing is forbidden by Title VIII of the 1968 Civil Rights Act, the National Fair Housing Law. Freedom in the choice of housing is a promise deeply rooted in American history and tradition.
Yet, today, ten years after passage of the National Fair Housing Law, many Americans still experience discrimination when they attempt to purchase or rent or finance a home or apartment for themselves or their family. Some of us-whether through fear or prejudice or superstition or through plain selfishness-still attempt to limit the freedoms of other Americans.
Unless we can overcome these limitations, we will be unable to meet the challenges we face as a people. The denial of equal housing opportunity is a serious impediment to the cooperative, harmonious sense of community and brotherhood we need to meet our problems head on.
As we commemorate this tenth anniversary of the passage of the National Fair Housing Law, I call upon those in Federal, State and local government-and all who are directly involved in the housing industry and real estate profession-to intensify those efforts that promote fair housing. I hope this step will be followed by like-minded actions on the part of all Americans. The freedoms that we believe in, enjoy and benefit from cannot be secure unless they are shared by all Americans. As long as equal opportunity is denied to one person, the promise of equality for all will be unfulfilled.
During this April commemoration of Fair Housing Month, let us not just celebrate the passage of a benchmark law, but let us determine to put fully into practice the principles for which it stands. Let us make ourselves aware of the ways in which this law applies to us and to our communities. And let us earnestly examine both personal and professional attitudes that might be a barrier to equal opportunity for others. Nothing could be more important to the future of our society.