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'Reimagining Black Wall Street' conference engages realty scene

Reimagining Black Wall Street conference Greater Tulsa Association of Realtists.png
Posted at 10:28 PM, Jun 22, 2024

TULSA, Okla. — What happened at the Mayo Hotel June 22nd is no average realtor's conference.

The organizers show that in their name: the Greater Tulsa Association of Realtists (GTAR), founded only a year ago.

President Roz Williams said until the last half century, many in the realty business couldn't have the title "realtor" just because of their skin color. GTAR Vice President Chevon King told 2 News the event offers a sense of community.

"It brings us together. We share resources, we get to meet each other, we get referrals," King said.

The talks struck a chord with even those unfamiliar with real estate, like Thomas Cherry, who listened to the conversation from the hotel lobby.

"I took two years of Oklahoma History in high school, made straight As," Cherry said. "I love history. I never heard a word about the Tulsa Race Massacre until five years ago (or its aftereffects). I had to google it to find out what are they talking about."

The theme in this year's edition of the regional conference, which is part of the National Association of Real Estate Brokers, is "Reimagining Black Wall Street".

"Just the freedom that African-Americans and other minorities had to build wealth through home ownership is what we're trying to get back to," Williams said of the theme.

"It's time for us realtors, black or brown, whatever your background is - we've got to help all buyers," GTAR Co-Vice President Yvonne Carreño said during a presentation in the conference June 22.

Carreño said education, not profits, is key in underserved communities.

"We work with our partnering lenders to be able to do credit classes," she said. "So that that way you can get a loan. And if you don't have the money for the down payment, there are assistance programs if they qualify, and then the lender will do that portion of it."

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Williams said they'll bring their ideas to the group's national conference, and hopes to affect change into the housing market.

"As we build people and home ownership, we build their personal wealth," Williams said. "As we build their personal wealth, we build the wealth of the community. As we build the community, we build the wealth of the state and the nation, and the world."

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