In light of all of the recent (and continuing) dialogue related to the Trayvon Martin/George Zimmerman matter, Fair Housing Lady thought that she would post here a blog she wrote for NAA (National Apartment Association) more than 4 years ago..

I’ve decided this time to wax more philosophical than educational (assuming my former articles or postings can be said to have been educational!) because I have been hanging out with royalty. In recent weeks I found myself in the company of six princesses, all four and five years old and as darling as can be. The occasion was the celebration of the 4th birthday of my favorite little girl, Kelsey. There was face painting, the designing of sparkly pink foam crowns, and manicures complete with flower and heart decals. How precious! And there were lots of snapshots taken, as you can well imagine. It was one of those photos that not only caught my eye and captured my heart, but which amazed me from a fair housing standpoint as well. There were all of the princesses, lined up in a row, beaming and curtseying (although I guess technically we adults should have been the ones curtseying before the regal little ones). In the photographs of my childhood all of the children are white, as am I. I grew up more than a half century ago in the Midwest and that is simply the way it was. No racial agenda, just a fact of life. But that is not the case for Kelsey today. Six princesses…one African American, two Asian, and three white (including a blonde, redhead and brunette). Such remarkable diversity. But Kelsey does not see it that way, because this is simply her “normal”. A few weeks after her birthday Kelsey did a sleepover at our house. As is often the case, bedtime was preceded by the reading of “Spookley the Square Pumpkin”, a favorite book with the message that variety in life and in people is a good thing. Always looking for that “teaching moment”, I commented to Kelsey, “Think about the beautiful princesses at your party. They were all different and isn’t that wonderful!” “Yes!” she replied, “All the princesses were different. It is wonderful.” And as I beamed that we had had this moment together to appreciate diversity, Kelsey went on to add “There was Snow White, and Cinderella, and Ariel, and Sleeping Beauty…” Yes, all of the princesses were different, not a duplicated Disney character in the group. And that was what was remarkable in the eyes of this four-year-old. So does all of this mean that someday there will be no need for fair housing and the protections for whatever is the current disfavored group? No, of course not. But is there potential for better relationships among us as to racial, ethnic and national origin differences. Yes, I believe so. Because in the words of the late Justice Thurgood Marshall, “The legal system can force open doors and sometimes even knock down walls, but it cannot build bridges. That job belongs to you and me.” And I will pass that job along to Kelsey and the Princesses, confident that their generation has the tools with which to build bridges that will be strong and that they are already working on that. c

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