When David Kennedy was installed as 2021 Canopy Realtor® Association president on January 27, he wasted no time challenging his fellow Realtors® to lead on housing and other community issues.
Harkening to the Association’s centennial being celebrated in 2021, Kennedy urged attendees at the online installation to first turn inward and then to take action.
“May we reflect upon the first 100 years of success and failure with a promise to expand our lineage of triumphs and a vow to reject our past transgressions,” he said. “We represent the current legacy of our profession and are now called to boldly pursue a vision of a region where all housing needs are met by productive Canopy Realtor® Association members and MLS subscribers.”
Kennedy, who is also president of Canopy MLS and the Canopy Housing Foundation, noted that as Realtors® “we strive to shed our history of blockbusting, steering and redlining for the purposes of segregation.”
“While segregation remains, homeownership is within the bounds of possibility for more Americans than ever before,” he continued. “Realtors® are needed to usher millennials, minorities and anyone prime for the realization of the American dream of homeownership. May we enter our second century with a steadfast devotion to the fundamental rights afforded to all by more than just fair housing laws.”
Kennedy encouraged the audience to think communally, respect others and do what is right. “Now is the time to reshape our individualistic agendas toward a trajectory that includes all people, especially those with whom we disagree,” he said. “…we must be mindful of one another, the needs of one another, and respect differing values of one another. Where we once hid in digital echo chambers of similar thought and selfish stances, we must now correct a warped sense of freedom.”
Sharing words of former U.S. Senate Chaplain Peter Marshall, Kennedy said, “May we think of freedom not as the right to do as we please but as the opportunity to do what is right.”
With housing supply and affordability, Kennedy framed the situation in terms of opportunity and leadership.
“Statistics show an abundance of buyers, who are poised for the realization of the American dream, only to realize the housing inventory is insufficient,” Kennedy said. “Realtors® are needed not only to help buy and sell homes, but to increase the current inadequate inventory.”
Furthermore, “housing affordability is one of the defining policy issues of this decade,” he continued. “It is imperative for Realtors® — along with economists, lawmakers, and other industry stakeholders — to lead discussions that generate solutions.”
Labeling his remarks a “call to action,” Kennedy said:
“From this moment forward, Realtors® must embrace a poised leadership, rooted in benevolence and civic service, as an essential part of their business — where the housing needs for all lives matter and a commitment to that is demonstrated every day.”
Kennedy acknowledged the daunting nature of leading the way to a better future and advocated faith and perseverance. Concluding his installation address, he spoke the following lines from the hymn “Amazing Grace”:
Through many dangers, toils and snares
We have already come
‘Twas grace has brought us safe thus far
And grace will lead us home