USA – When it comes to housing in America, one cannot deny that access to fair housing remains unequal. Despite numerous bills passed against discrimination and laws enacted to protect the universal right to safe and affordable housing, marginalized groups still struggle to access quality places to live and are prevented from the basic resources and opportunities that come with it. For this purpose, a nonprofit civil rights agency, The Fair Housing Center, has established itself to help eliminate housing discrimination and create inclusive communities by promoting housing of choice. When analyzing the systemic discrimination within the housing industry, one of the things that people ignore the most is zip code. Zip code plays a key role in determining one’s access to resources such as education, transportation, and employment opportunities and has been shown to impact the quality of their health. Today, zip code is considered to be far more vital than the genetic code, affecting how people’s choices are based on their privileges. To shed light on this subject, the Fair Housing Center brings “ZIP CODE MATTERS,” an insightful documentary in collaboration with writer and director Sena Mourad Friedman, executive producer Will Lucas, and producer Erickson Blakney.
“Your ZIP code can carry more weight on your potential health outcomes than your genetic code.”
ZIP CODE MATTERS sheds light on the serious impact of zip code and how it affects the quality of life, be it in terms of education, employment, or access to clean water and food. By asking compelling questions to public health professionals, policymakers, nonprofit executives, and social and civil rights activists regarding the correlation between zip code and residential segregation, the documentary helps educate the audience on this subject. This documentary highlights the obstacles that low-income communities and communities of color have to face to live a quality life. A more concerning issue is how a person’s place of residence impacts their life span. America’s history of economic and racial discrimination, prejudicial immigration policies, and unjust laws targeting communities of color has prevented oppressed groups from accessing basic resources. Black neighborhoods and other neighborhoods of color live in environments that lack fundamental infrastructure such as decent schools, well-maintained parks, pharmacies, and grocery stores, transportation systems, merit-based jobs, clean and potable water, and affordable housing, all necessary to provide a quality life. This directly and indirectly causes detrimental harm to residents, impacting both their physical and mental wellbeing in the long term. It must be pointed out that these circumstances are not accidental but rather have resulted from a series of policies and events that have benefited some at the cost of others.
Richard Rothstein, author of “The Color of Law: A Forgotten History of How Our Government Segregated America,” says that segregation is not the result of individual choices or the laws that protect all citizens. Rather, segregation exists thanks to unhidden public policy that seeks to divide American cities. ZIP CODE MATTERS features author Richard Rothstein, prominent civil rights activist Stella Adams, and Senator Sherrod Brown, among other professionals. The documentary sets out to educate the public regarding fair housing and can serve as an important conversation starter when talking about systemic discrimination. Additionally, the documentary can also help train people and professionals about the measures that need to be taken to promote and advocate for fair housing practices in the US.
About the Documentary:
ZIP CODE MATTERS is an insightful documentary sponsored by The Fair Housing Center, shedding light on the America’s residential segregation and lack of proper housing practices. The documentary features policymakers, civil rights and social rights activists, researchers, scientists, authors, and important professionals from other walks of life who share their knowledge of the American housing practices and the measures that need to be taken to provide accessible and fair houses to everyone, regardless of class or social status.
Watch the documentary on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A6zDeOP1bPE
About The Fair Housing Center:
The Fair Housing Center will be a leading visible force in preventing, correcting, and eliminating discriminatory housing practices. To achieve our vision, the Center works as a trusted community resource, engaging in education and outreach, advocacy for anti-discriminatory housing policies, mediation, research and investigation, and enforcement actions.
The Fair Housing Center is a nonprofit civil rights agency that promotes housing choice, the creation of inclusive communities of opportunity, and the protection and expansion of fair housing rights to support strong communities free of housing discrimination.
The work that provided the basis for this publication was supported by funding under a grant with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. The substance and findings of the work are dedicated to the public. The author and publisher are solely responsible for the accuracy of the statements and interpretations contained in this publication. Such interpretations do not necessarily reflect the views of the Federal Government.
EQUAL OPPORTUNITY SPECIALISTS | NATIONAL FAIR HOUSING ALLIANCE OPERATING MEMBER