Speakers – NFHA Presents: Meeting the Moment: Reversing Legacies of Exclusion and Disinvestment

About our Program


Please join the National Fair Housing Alliance for this special event that explores how we can begin to reverse the history of exclusion and disinvestment and instead create more affordable and equitable housing opportunities and increase homeownership for households of color.

The event will feature two robust panel discussions: Fair Housing Implications of Zoning and Land Use Reform and New Approaches to Closing the Homeownership Gap.

Below, please find full biographies of our Speakers


Host:


Ms. Lisa Rice is President and CEO of the National Fair Housing Alliance (NFHA) where she leads NFHA to achieve the organization’s strategic goals and objectives. NFHA is the trade association for over 200 member organizations throughout the country. NFHA is the country’s only national civil rights organization dedicated solely to eliminating all forms of housing and lending discrimination and ensuring equal opportunities for all people. Through its homeownership, credit access, tech equity, education, member services, public policy, community development, and enforcement initiatives, NFHA works to dismantle longstanding barriers to equity and build diverse, inclusive, well-resourced communities.

Ms. Rice is a member of the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights Board of Directors, Center for Responsible Lending Board of Directors, JPMorgan Chase Consumer Advisory Council, Mortgage Bankers Association’s Consumer Advisory Council, Freddie Mac Affordable Housing Advisory Council, Quicken Loans Advisory Forum, Bipartisan Policy Center’s Housing Advisory Council, FinRegLab’s Machine Learning Advisory Board, and Berkeley’s The Terner Center Advisory Council.

Keynote Address:



Darrick Hamilton is a university professor, the Henry Cohen Professor of Economics and Urban Policy, and the founding director of the Institute for the Study of Race, Stratification and Political Economy at The New School. Considered one of the nation’s foremost scholars, economists and public intellectuals, Hamilton’s accomplishments include recently being profiled in the New York Times, Mother Jones magazine and the Wall Street Journal and being featured in Politico Magazine’s 2017 50 Ideas Shaping American Politics and the People Behind Them issue. Also, he is a member of the Marguerite Casey Foundation in partnership with the Group Health Foundation’s inaugural class of Freedom Scholars. 

Hamilton has been involved in crafting policy proposals, such as Baby Bonds and a Federal Job Guarantee, which have garnered a great deal of media attention and served as inspirations for legislative proposals at the federal, state and local levels. He has served as a member of the economic committee of the Biden-Sanders Unity Task Force; he has testified before several senate and house committees, including the Joint Economic Committee on the nation’s potential policy responses to the COVID-19 pandemic-induced health and economic crises; he was a surrogate and advisor for the Bernie Sanders presidential campaign; and he has advised numerous other leading Members of Congress, as well as various 2020 presidential candidates.


Panel: “The Fair Housing Implications of Zoning and Land Use Reform”

Moderator:

Thomas Silverstein is the Associate Director of the Fair Housing & Community Development Project at the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law. He oversees the Project’s impact litigation docket, using the Fair Housing Act to foster the development of inclusive communities, expand access to opportunity, and fight displacement.

He also provides technical assistance to states, local governments, and public housing authorities seeking to comply with the duty to affirmatively further fair housing. He is a national leader in the provision of legal and policy support to grassroots housing justice organizers. He has written extensively on the intersection of civil rights law and land use law and frequently participates in conference panels and webinars addressing a range of topics in civil rights and housing law and policy. 

Prior to serving as Associate Director, Thomas was Counsel in the Fair Housing & Community Development Project. He began his legal career as the Lawyers’ Committee’s 2013-2014 George N. Lindsay Civil Rights Legal Fellow after earning his juris doctorate from the University of Virginia School of Law in 2013. He is licensed to practice law in the States of Maryland and New York, as well as the District of Columbia. He is admitted to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit and the U.S. District Courts for the District of Columbia and for the Eastern District of New York. 

Featured Panelists:

Fionnuala Darby-Hudgens has pursued fair housing advocacy and research since 2012, when she completed her thesis, Zoned Out: Linking Residential Zoning and Schooling Performance. During her research, she read 169 municipal zoning regulations and collected and coded over 30 exclusionary land use strategies used across Connecticut. Zoned Out was included in the 2015 Connecticut Analysis of Impediments to Fair Housing. Fionnuala earned a B.A. from Trinity College and a MPA from the University of Connecticut. She is currently the Director of Operations for the Connecticut Fair Housing Center.  


Councilor Lydia Edwards is a career advocate, activist, and voice on behalf of society’s most vulnerable. As a City Councilor, she has led efforts to protect Boston’s affordable housing stock through innovative and bold policy proposals. She has spearheaded reforms to Inclusionary Development and Linkage and passed through the council a real estate transfer fee on the sale of properties valued over $2 million, with all proceeds dedicated to affordable housing.  

Prior to being elected to the Boston City Council, Lydia worked as a public interest attorney with Greater Boston Legal Services. During her time with Greater Boston Legal Services Lydia successfully coordinated a statewide campaign to pass the Domestic Workers Bill of Rights. 

  Lydia has solidified her role in the community as a bridge-builder, convening and organizing community meetings to take on larger conversations like Suffolk Downs in East Boston, the Bunker Hill Redevelopment project in Charlestown, and climate resilience in the historic North End. 

  Lydia has advocated for greater transparency in city government while maintaining fiscal responsibility. She has fought to reform the Zoning Board of Appeals to reduce influence peddling in the development process and is elated to continue fighting for a Boston that works for everyone! 

  


Allan Lazo is the executive director of the Fair Housing Council of Oregon (FHCO), a statewide civil rights organization founded in 1990 whose mission is to end housing discrimination and ensure equal opportunity to housing.

 FHCO provides access to education, enforcement, and public policy advocacy. He has been a long-time community advocate for civil rights and social justice, especially in the areas of housing, homelessness, and racial equity.

Allan currently serves on the City of Portland Housing Bureau’s Affordable Housing Bond Oversight Committee and served on the state of Oregon Department of Land Conservation and Development Housing Rulemaking Advisory Committee. He is a long-time resident of Portland. 


Poetry Performance

Host:


Pages Matam (They/He) is a genderqueer award-winning multi-hyphenate, born and raised in Cameroon, Central Africa, blossomed in the DMV and residing in Los Angeles.

A polyglot National poetry slam champion, National Fair Housing Alliance Cultural Ambassador, Callaloo Fellow, and recipient of the DC Commissions Arts and Humanities Fellowship. Pages is a gummy bear elitist, anime fanatic, and fried plantains connoisseur whose work is fueled by the words of Toni Morrison: “the function of freedom, is to free someone else.” 

@pagesofle on Twitter. 

Featuring:


Ed Mobrey is the greatest poet in the history of Poetry Slam—4 World Championships, 6 Regional Championships, and over 500 wins. An NAACP Image Award Nominee, Ed’s been on TV One, as well as ABC, FOX, HBO, CNN. Ed has performed at over 200 colleges. 

A Watering Hole graduate fellow, Ed is a Pushcart nominee and was commissioned to craft a speech encompassing the Freedom Award recipients for 2017-2019. 

Instagram: edmabrey 
Twitter: Ed_Mabrey 
Community: 310-496-347


Panel: “New Approaches to Closing the Racial Homeownership Gap

Moderator:


Ms. Lisa Rice is President and CEO of the National Fair Housing Alliance (NFHA) where she leads NFHA to achieve the organization’s strategic goals and objectives. NFHA is the trade association for over 200 member organizations throughout the country. NFHA is the country’s only national civil rights organization dedicated solely to eliminating all forms of housing and lending discrimination and ensuring equal opportunities for all people. Through its homeownership, credit access, tech equity, education, member services, public policy, community development, and enforcement initiatives, NFHA works to dismantle longstanding barriers to equity and build diverse, inclusive, well-resourced communities.

Ms. Rice is a member of the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights Board of Directors, Center for Responsible Lending Board of Directors, JPMorgan Chase Consumer Advisory Council, Mortgage Bankers Association’s Consumer Advisory Council, Freddie Mac Affordable Housing Advisory Council, Quicken Loans Advisory Forum, Bipartisan Policy Center’s Housing Advisory Council, FinRegLab’s Machine Learning Advisory Board, and Berkeley’s The Terner Center Advisory Council.


Featured Panelists:

Nikitra Bailey is the Senior Vice President of Public Policy at the National Fair Housing Alliance (NFHA). Ms. Bailey manages the Public Policy department and is responsible for developing and spearheading a visionary, comprehensive policy strategy to implement NFHA’s mission. Ms. Bailey provides thought leadership for the organization; liaises with policymakers and other stakeholders; supports resource development; and works collaboratively with NFHA’s departments, membership, and Board of Directors to promote housing equity. 

Previously, she served as an Executive Vice President at the Center for Responsible Lending (CRL). She played an integral role in designing and driving CRL’s consumer protection and fair lending agenda. She directed mortgage advocacy; supervised resource development; and served as the principal strategist for coalition partnerships that span civil rights, faith, women, labor, and community advocates across the nation. Recently, she led advocacy to secure passage of the Homeowners Assistance Fund (HAF) in the American Rescue Plan legislation, which provides billions in relief for COVID-19’s hardest-hit homeowners.

She is the author of articles and reports on the impact of predatory lending on people of color and women. Ms. Bailey has provided expert testimony to the Congress on housing issues, and she serves on the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Consumer Advisory Board (CAB).  She also appears frequently in national media. 


Symone Crawford joined MAHA’s staff in 2018 after serving on the board of directors since 2014. Symone lives in Mattapan and worked for Encompass Insurance for seventeen years, most recently as a claims service leader. She serves on the state’s Racial Equity Advisory Council for Homeownership (REACH) and as secretary of the board of the Midas Collaborative. 

Symone is an immigrant from the island of Jamaica, migrating to the United States in 1998 and coming to Boston in 1999. She is a graduate of Roxbury Community College, Northeastern University and Southern New Hampshire University online MBA finance concentration program. She is very passionate about her faith, her family and the needs of her community. 

  

  

Glenn Schlactus is a Partner at Relman Colfax. Glenn joined the firm in 2006. He practices in the firm’s civil rights litigation and civil rights counseling groups. He handles a broad variety of matters, with a focus on lending and housing. 

Glenn’s litigation practice emphasizes ensuring access to quality credit products and challenging companies that target predatory credit-related products based on race and ethnicity.

His cases include Fair Housing Center of Central Indiana v. Rainbow Realty Group, Inc., a pending class action challenging a scheme in which minority neighborhoods were targeted for toxic “rent-to-own” contracts on rundown houses, reminiscent of twentieth-century wealth-stripping land contract practices. Morgan v. Richmond School of Health & Technology was the first reverse redlining case against a for-profit college in the country, challenging the school’s practice of targeting African Americans and Hispanics for large student loans to pay for a poor education, and resulting in millions of dollars in relief for current and former students. 

Glenn also advises a range of lending and insurance companies—from Fortune 500 companies to new and growing financial technology companies—on a variety of issues. These include compliance with the Equal Credit Opportunity Act, the Fair Housing Act, the Americans with Disabilities Act, Dodd-Frank’s “unfair, deceptive or abusive acts or practices” provisions, the Fair Credit Reporting Act, and the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, as well as the establishment and maintenance of compliance management systems.  He also advises nonprofit organizations on advocacy efforts to promote equal opportunities in housing and lending. 

Prior to joining the firm, Glenn was an associate at Skadden, Arp, Slate, Meagher & Flom and at Gilbert, Heintz & Randolph. He also worked on a range of consumer rights issues for five years at Public Citizen before attending law school. 



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