Massachusetts Housing Finance Agency began as an independent public authority in 1966 charged by the Legislature to increase access to affordable housing in the Commonwealth. Since then they have gone on to receive numerous awards from the National Council of State Housing Agencies, as well as an A+ credit rating from Standard & Poor, among other accomplishments. Through their success, MassHousing has not forgotten about the reason the agency was established and the impact their work has on communities of color. This year Lawyers’ Committee had the opportunity to celebrate this history with the agency.
Deputy Director Rahsaan Hall was the keynote speaker at MassHousing’s 27th Annual Black History Month Celebration. His address entitled “How To Breath: Civil Rights Advocacy In The Aftermath of Ferguson et al.” focused on the historical context that gave rise to the unrest in Ferguson, MO and throughout the nation in the aftermath of police killings of civilians. His message identified the challenges currently faced by civil rights advocates, but pointed the way forward through increased advocacy and demands for accountability at the grass roots level that would impact the very systems and conditions that have suffocated Black communities.