Here is the text of Fuller Center for Housing President David Snell’s statement from the above video:
The past few weeks have brought focus to some of the things that divide us as a nation. Perhaps now we can look forward to those things that bring us together. The Fuller Center for Housing was founded at Koinonia Farm, a Christian community established in 1942.
From its beginning, Koinonia was an advocate of equal rights and equal opportunity for all Americans, black and white. This was a perilous stand in those difficult times when racial divisions were deep, and they were mightily attacked, but they stood firm on principle and on faith.
The Fuller Center continues that tradition and truly believes in equal opportunity in terms of the people we serve, the volunteers who get the work done, and the churches we look to for support. The fact is that the majority of those we serve are people of color, not by intention but because of socioeconomic realities.
It isn’t what we do, though, but how we do it that provides a hopeful model for those seeking to improve the way we all get along. Much of our housebuilding work is done by volunteers and many of them are white, middle class folks who, by their work with us, are seeing for the first time the conditions in which so many of our poor live. For many of them, beneficiaries and volunteers alike, it is their first sustained interaction with people of a different color. And the results are empowering. Stereotypes are broken, friendships made, and hearts are warmed.
Another positive aspect of our work is that the houses we build aren’t given away, rather they are built in partnership with the homeowner families. The families pay for the building costs, on terms they can afford and with no interest charged, providing them with a true sense of ownership. They can say with pride “We helped build this house and we paid for it. It is truly ours.” For too many people of color the sense of true ownership is lacking.
As we look for ways of bringing reconciliation to our country, we should begin by finding ways that we can actually come together to improve one another’s lives and spirits. The time to do that is now.
DAVID SNELL, President, The Fuller Center for Housing