Inspiring change: Promoting diversity and inclusion in our communities

Two friends sitting in a park, having a discussion about diversity and inclusion.

by Daniel Brannigan | May 6,2021


Long simmering and intricately intwined with our country’s history, equality, diversity and inclusion came back to the forefront in 2020 after the racially charged death of George Floyd in Minneapolis and the subsequent protests that touched small towns and large cities.

Racism and discrimination became discussion topics at home, in corporate and nonprofit boardrooms, in the sports world, and in our communities. According to a Pew Research Center report from June 2020, roughly seven in 10 Americans say they’ve had conversations about race and racial equity with family or friends.

These difficult, necessary, and honest conversations have brought about some change; more is coming.

In community associations, particularly in Southern states, some of the focus has turned to owners who fly the Confederate flag and rules regarding flags and signs. In “Symbol of Change,” from the May/June 2021 issue of Common Ground magazine, you’ll read how a few communities have handled the flag and why fair housing becomes a concern. A good policy will help your board head off disputes.

Cultural clashes and fair housing concerns extend far beyond flags.

Creating Harmony in Diverse Communities, a report recently released by the Foundation for Community Association Research, quantifies and categorizes discrimination complaints in community associations, details response procedures, and offers preventive measures.

The Foundation report shows that communities have work to do to promote diversity and inclusion.

CAI has released resources to help address the shortcomings. The Diverse and Inclusive Communities Guide includes an equality commitment for communities to adopt, a nondiscrimination policy, harassment education and policy, and more. The resources in CAI’s guide are just a start, and we don’t have all the answers.

CAI members—community association volunteers, managers, management company executives, and business partners—have been making strides of their own. We’ve highlighted a few of those who are developing educational materials, creating policy, writing articles, and instituting business practices, and we’d love to feature more. Share your efforts to be more inclusive, fight discrimination, and level the playing field by emailing

Community associations should be promoting togetherness, neighborliness, belonging, and connection. The conversation about diversity and discrimination starts at home, and that’s where it needs to continue.

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