Illinois REALTORS® reaffirmed its pledge to eliminate housing discrimination and apologized for roles its members played in the past in promoting inequality during the dedication of its Fair Housing monument in downtown Springfield Monday afternoon.

State and city officials joined REALTORS® as the granite structure was unveiled – nearly 50 years after President Lyndon B. Johnson signed the Fair Housing Act on April 11, 1968. Located immediately north of the REALTORS® building and adjacent from the Illinois Governor’s Mansion, the monument stands on the southwest corner of Bicentennial Plaza.

“On behalf of the leadership of an organization that has grown to represent more than 47,000 members, we offer an unqualified apology for any role our members played in promoting inequality,” said Illinois REALTORS® President Matt Difanis. “As we acknowledge the past, we offer a promise.

“Illinois REALTORS® pledges to redouble its commitment to Fair Housing,” said Difanis, who acknowledged that housing strengthens families, communities and the nation. “That’s why one of the most prominent features of Bicentennial Plaza – a REALTOR® Community Partnership will be a massive, four-ton monument that clearly shows our commitment to Fair Housing.”

Several REALTORS® who played important roles in promoting fair housing – Frank Williams, Vicky Silvano, Loretta Alonzo-Deubel and Courtney Jones – were recognized during the ceremony. Joseph Galvan, Midwest regional administrator for the U.S. Department of Housing and Economic Development spoke, and Springfield Mayor Jim Langfelder presented an official proclamation.

Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner has declared April Fair Housing Month in Illinois.

The monument

Prominently etched on the four-sided obelisk are the words “Equal Opportunity in Housing for All.” Nearly six feet tall, it is designed to be an enduring symbol of the progress made in fair housing and the industry’s commitment to protecting this right.

Construction crews are working toward the Aug. 26 dedication of the Bicentennial Plaza.

Special guests included Bill Houlihan, state director for U.S. Sen. Richard J. Durbin, Senate Republican Leader and REALTOR® Bill Brady, State Reps. and REALTORS® Mark Batinick, LaShawn Ford, Tony McCombie and Sam Yingling. Also at the event were Rep. Joe Sosnowski and Springfield Alderman Herman Senor.