Last weekend, I was in Washington, D.C., for the Martin Luther King, Jr., memorial dedication festivities. And what a powerful and memorable couple of days it was. I was very happy to see two of NAR’s former presidents, 2009 President Charles McMillan and 2007 President Pat V. Combs, who guided NAR’s participation in the building of the memorial.
A special highlight of the weekend was when I took my 13-year-old cousin to visit the new memorial the day before the dedication. It was night time when we were visiting, and very moving and peaceful, despite the fact that there were armed secret service in the trees, this because the Obama daughters were soon to visit the memorial as well.
The park ranger who was present discussed what the memorial meant. She said, “When you’re here, one of your jobs is to reflect on what you are going to do in your lifetime to affect others and make a difference.” As I did that, I realized there are so many different types of leadership: quiet, bold, natural, just to name a few. But whatever the style, leadership above all has to be intentional, and ensure that the intent is to embrace and involve everyone who is part of your organization.
Inclusivity is something that is protected in our industry, through housing laws. It’s another reminder that in our practices in leadership and with members, as well, every person matters. When you know the values of your organization, such as inclusivity, do you live up to them? Like Martin Luther King, Jr., an intentional leader shows the courage to act on those values.
Significantly, the MLK memorial is in perfect alignment with the Jefferson memorial, which it faces, and is backed by Lincoln. That says so much about the nature of our country. The man who had a dream looks towards America’s sacred creed of “life, liberty and pursuit of happiness”, while being backed by the belief that we move forward “with malice towards none.” This perfectly encapsulates the highest hopes of our nation, and I also believe our great association. At NAR, we try to do the same, keeping our industry moving towards the highest of our ideals, while still forgiving the problems in our past. Sometimes leadership at NAR falls short in reflecting the entire spectrum of our current membership, but I know that NAR will always continue to pursue these ideals and create change in our future.
Looking up at the statue of MLK, called the “Stone of Hope,” I was so proud and grateful for NAR’s contribution towards the formation of this powerful memorial to Martin Luther King, Jr., and his courageous and intentional acts of leadership.
You can see a video recap of the dedication from REALTOR® Magazine, below.