Celebrating Black History Month 2024 at The Menkiti Group and Keller Williams Capital Properties 

As we step into the inspiring and significant month of February, we reflect on the lessons of history, culture, and resilience. Black History Month is a time for us to honor and celebrate the achievements, contributions, and invincible spirit of the Black community. This year, we are thrilled to shine a spotlight on the outstanding Black leaders from across our organization who form the backbone of The Menkiti Group and Keller Williams Capital Properties. Their unwavering commitment to excellence, innovation, and community empowerment serves as a testament to the invaluable impact of true diversity.

Across our industry, The Menkiti Group and Keller Williams Capital Properties are not only renowned for business success but also for our strong commitment to diversity. This blog showcases inspiring individuals from across our organization who contribute to the legacy of Black excellence as well as colleagues who believe in the power of inclusion and diversity. Explore our perspective on Black History Month and the importance of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion.

MG Residential

Kristin Thompson – Realtor, MG Residential & Development Project Manager, The Menkiti Group

  • What does Black History Month mean to you?
  • As a Black woman, Black History Month to me means continuing the legacy of my ancestors. I utilize the month to really reflect on the work done by African Americans of the past to make impactful and long-standing changes to our American society. I consider the month an opportunity to highlight the contributions of our people but also as a personal charge to be a positive example of Black Excellence in my daily life.   
  • Why do you think Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion are important in real estate? k History Month mean to you?
  • DEI is important in real estate because ACCESS is the foundation of generational wealth in the US. Without the familiarities of race, gender, age, or economic class many individuals would be reluctant to enter the homebuying process. It is our job as realtors to introduce wealth building opportunities to everyone we encounter and encourage anyone, despite their situation, to embark on a wealth building/home buying journey. Diversity in access to homebuying results in diverse neighborhoods, communities, and a more open-minded society.

Martin Weldon – Managing Partner of Sales & Business Development, MG Residential

  • What does Black History mean to you?
  • Black History Month (BHM) serves as a recognition of the accomplishments of the African American community across various domains, ranging from sports and entertainment to technological innovation and business triumphs. It stands as an inspirational tribute, offering younger generations a glimpse into the achievements of individuals who have paved the way. BHM becomes a source of motivation, allowing the youth to envision themselves achieving similar greatness in the future. In essence, it acts as a meaningful acknowledgment of our collective past, providing valuable insights to propel future generations toward even greater success.
  • Why do you think Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion are important in real estate? 
  • Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) hold significant importance in the real estate sector due to its unique position as the most substantial asset class for wealth creation and regeneration in the United States. Real estate, when passed down through generations, carries a compounding effect that can greatly influence the trajectory of future ownership. The equity derived from property appreciations and strategic repositioning not only contributes to financial growth but also lays the foundation for limitless possibilities in what future generations can achieve. In essence, DEI initiatives within real estate have the potential to shape a legacy that transcends generations, offering opportunities for sustained prosperity and achievement.

Jumoké Akiosi – Chief of Staff | Licensed REALTOR® Growth and Operations, MG Residential

  • What does Black History Month mean to you? 
  • Black History Month, to me, is a profound celebration of the diverse tapestry of black excellence, intricately woven with the rich culture originating from Africa. As a proud Nigerian woman, it holds a personal resonance, acknowledging the triumphs and successes of men and women of color, including the bravery of women like my mother. This month pays homage to the pain and struggle of 400+ years, highlighting the sacrifices made to create a world where black women, inspired by leaders like Madam C.J. Walker and shaped by the resilience of mothers, can shine as influencers and leaders. It’s a celebration of legacies, showcasing the possibilities and greatness that arise from generations of determination and empowerment in areas like music, art, history, fashion, politics, journalism, and film. Black History Month is a testament to the journey, the achievements, and the ongoing contributions that define the narrative of black excellence. I am black history; I am black excellence!
  • Why do you think Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion are important in real estate?  
  • In the realm of real estate, the significance of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) is multifaceted and deeply rooted in the celebration of diverse backgrounds, echoing the essence of Black History Month. As a proud Nigerian woman, I see DEI as a powerful force that not only enriches the industry’s perspective but also communicates to women like me that anything is possible. It encourages uplifting others on the journey to greater heights, celebrating cultural differences as strengths. DEI in real estate goes beyond ethical considerations; it’s a practical necessity. Representation matters, especially when serving clients from various backgrounds, as it fosters trust, understanding, and effective communication. By weaving in the triumphs and sacrifices encapsulated in Black History Month, DEI becomes a transformative force in achieving common goals within the real estate sector. It not only reflects the diversity of the community but also paves the way for an inclusive and thriving industry where everyone, regardless of their background, can see themselves represented and empowered.

Charles View Jr. – Licensed REALTOR®, MG Residential

  • What does Black History mean to you?
  • Black History Month holds personal significance for me as a time to reflect on and celebrate the numerous achievements of Black Americans throughout the country’s more than 250-year history. Additionally, it marks the founding month of my alma mater, Morehouse College.
  • Why do you think Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion are important in real estate? 
  • I believe Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) plays a vital role within the real estate industry by offering the most effective approach to cater to the diverse needs of buyers and sellers in today’s multicultural market. Having a team with diverse backgrounds enables us to collaboratively help, support, and share ideas, ultimately enhancing the experience for our clients.

Candace Dantzler – Licensed REALTOR®, MG Residential

  • What does Black History mean to you?
  • Black History Month is a time to reflect on the significant contributions and accomplishments of Black people throughout history. It’s important to recognize the impact that Black people have had on all aspects of life, including technology, science, art, and culture. It’s also important to acknowledge the historical injustices and systemic inequalities that have affected the Black community and attributed to the current gap in wealth and opportunities.
  • Why do you think Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion are important in real estate? 
  • By promoting diversity, equity, and inclusion in the real estate industry, we can work towards addressing historical disparities and providing equal opportunities for all individuals to access and benefit from real estate investments.

          KWCP Bethesda-Chevy Chase, MD

          Tracey Weah – Licensed REALTOR®, KWCP Bethesda-Chevy Chase

          • What does Black History mean to you? 
          • Black History Month to me means many things. It’s a time to reflect and remember the contributions of those who have come before me, those who are contributing now and those who will come in the future. It is a moment for us to be seen, heard and to foster an environment to feel protected. 
          • Why do you think Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion are important in real estate?
          • I believe DEI is essential to success by driving innovation through creativity, the decision-making progress as well as better collaboration with the communities we serve!

          KWCP Washington, DC

          Tisa Clark – Licensed REALTOR®, KWCP DC

          • What does Black History mean to you?
          • Black History Month holds profound significance for me as a celebration of resilience, triumphs, and the indomitable spirit of the Black community. It’s a dedicated time to honor the luminaries who paved the way, acknowledging their contributions to art, science, civil rights, and every facet of human achievement. Beyond the historical narrative, Black History Month is a call to recognize the present-day brilliance of Black individuals and their ongoing impact globally. It’s a moment for reflection on the journey towards justice and equality, acknowledging the challenges yet to overcome. Black History Month inspires me to actively engage in dismantling systemic barriers, fostering understanding, and amplifying Black voices. It’s a reminder of the beauty of diversity and the shared responsibility to create a more inclusive future. In essence, Black History Month is not just a commemoration; it’s a dynamic call to action, a celebration of resilience, and a commitment to shaping a more equitable world.
          • Why do you think Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion are important in real estate?
          • In real estate, Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) are not just buzzwords; they are foundational principles essential for fostering vibrant, sustainable communities. Diversity injects vitality into real estate markets by bringing forth a myriad of perspectives, ideas, and needs. It ensures that the industry is reflective of the rich tapestry of backgrounds and experiences that constitute our society. Equity is the linchpin for dismantling historical disparities within real estate. Fair and just practices ensure that everyone, regardless of race, ethnicity, or socioeconomic background, has equal access to housing opportunities and resources. This is not only a moral imperative but also crucial for building thriving, resilient communities. Inclusion transforms real estate into a dynamic, collaborative space. When all voices are heard and valued, innovative solutions emerge, shaping environments that cater to diverse lifestyles and preferences. It also cultivates a sense of belonging, making communities more resilient and interconnected. Ultimately, embracing DEI in real estate isn’t just about meeting ethical standards; it’s a strategic imperative. It enhances decision-making, mitigates risks, and aligns the industry with the evolving needs and expectations of an increasingly diverse society. As we navigate the complex landscape of real estate, DEI principles guide us toward creating spaces that are not only bricks and mortar but true homes for everyone.

          KWCP Stafford-Fredericksburg, VA

          Karla Green – Licensed REALTOR®, KWCP Stafford-Fredericksburg

          • What does Black History mean to you?
          • Black History Month means to reflect on individuals who paved the path for my successful experiences and endeavors. Thanks to their resilient endurance in the face of hardships, I can attain goals that surpass even my most ambitious aspirations. Now, I am imparting upon my children and the next generation the importance of cherishing their history and maintaining a lifelong commitment to learning.
          • Why do you think Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion are important in real estate? 
          • It is important to establish meaningful connections by recognizing commonalities with others to instill a sense of comfort, confidence, and community. These aspects are essential in real estate to ensure the best interests of those who I engage.

          KWCP Fairfax, VA

          Adolphus Miner – Licensed REALTOR®, KWCP Fairfax

          • What does Black History mean to you?
          • To me, Black History Month is a time of profound reflection and celebration. It’s a period where we honor the tireless efforts and sacrifices of countless African Americans who have shaped not just our nation’s history, but its very soul. In my career as a commercial real estate broker in the Mid Atlantic market, I’ve witnessed firsthand the transformative power of representation and diversity. This month reminds me of the ongoing journey towards equity and inclusivity, and the critical role we all play in continuing the legacy of those who came before us. It’s a time to acknowledge the achievements, but also to recognize the ongoing challenges faced by African Americans. In my field, this means not just acknowledging the historical disparities in property ownership and access to commercial spaces but actively working to rectify them. Black History Month fuels my commitment to ensuring that the real estate market is an accessible and equitable space for all, reflecting the rich diversity of our community.
          • Why do you think Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion are important in real estate?
          • Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) are not just important in real estate; they are essential. The fabric of our communities is intrinsically diverse, and our real estate market should reflect that reality. Inclusivity in real estate means recognizing and valuing the different needs, perspectives, and backgrounds of all clients. It’s about ensuring that everyone has equal access to opportunities, whether in commercial investment, leasing, or property transactions. As a real estate professional, I believe that embracing DEI leads to more innovative solutions, better understanding of market needs, and stronger, more vibrant communities. It’s about creating spaces where all individuals – regardless of race, ethnicity, or background – can thrive and succeed. In the context of the Mid Atlantic market, where demographic shifts and evolving trends play a significant role, acknowledging and embracing diversity becomes even more crucial. By prioritizing DEI, we not only foster a more equitable market but also drive economic growth and community development that benefits everyone.

          Marsha Williams – Licensed REALTOR®, KWCP Fairfax

          • What does Black History mean to you?
          • Black History Month holds a special place in my heart as a Women of Color. It’s a time of reflection, celebration, and connection with the incredible achievements and resilience of individuals of color throughout history. Personally, it’s a source of inspiration, allowing me to appreciate the strength of those who came before me and the progress we’ve made.
          • Why do you think Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion are important in real estate? 
          • In the realm of real estate, Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion are particularly important from my perspective. These principles create a fair and welcoming space in an industry that has faced historical challenges. Embracing diversity ensures that our communities’ richness is reflected, and equitable practices help address past disparities. Inclusion fosters a sense of belonging for everyone, contributing to a more compassionate and just real estate environment.

          KWCP Rockville, MD

          Lynnea McGee – Licensed REALTOR®, KWCP Rockville

          • What does Black History mean to you?
          • Black History Month means to me that we are able to remember the ancestors of our immediate families and the forefathers of the world that made a path for us to be able to live as we’re living now Remembering the inventions that they were able to create some we still use and some we no longer use. Also being able to just show respect that they are not and will never be forgotten.
          • Why do you think Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion are important in real estate? 
          • DEI in Real estate is important because we should not be looking at color, age, sex, or a person’s type of living when it comes to making a home for their family or for themselves. Anyone who has the means to purchase real estate should be given the chance/opportunity to own property whether it residential, commercial, investment, or just their primary home. It can be like a domino effect, the first property you own doesn’t have to be your last.

          Enterprise Leadership

          Marriah Unruh – General Manager / Area Director

          • What does Black History Month mean to you? 
          • BHM affords me the time to pause and reflect on the pioneers and leaders that forged the way for our organizations and communities. It means celebrating and honoring the legacy of these leaders and the impact they delivered to pave the way into our future.
          • Why do you think Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion are important in real estate?
          • DEI is not only the right thing to do, it makes sense. Diverse and inclusive organizations make better decisions and outperform organizations that don’t welcome this philosophy. DEI improves business while creating an impact that is everlasting.

          Virginia Gergoff – Co-Team Leader DC + Principal Broker DC & MD

          • What does Black History Month mean to you? 
          • It means an opportunity to pause and remember the many inequalities and crimes that happened against black people, as well as reflect and commit to never be complacent and continue working for equal rights and equal opportunities. 
          • Why do you think Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion are important in real estate? 
          • The lack of equity and inclusion led to a significant wealth disparity, as well as many minorities being mistreated, and not given a fair chance to purchase or rent a decent place to live.  This is simply unacceptable, and we must continue working towards better access rights for all.

          Dana Scanlon – Licensed REALTOR® | ALC, KWCP Bethesda-Chevy Chase

          • What does Black History mean to you? 
          • It means understanding the true and full history of the United States of America, including the original sin of slavery. And being conscious of how that still plagues us today. It means learning about the massive contributions of people who were enslaved: from the blood, sweat and tears they shed in building our economy and infrastructure, to the unique contributions in business, science, technology and medicine also made by them. It means understanding that the school-book story of the Pilgrims is a myth: the Pilgrims were indeed fleeing persecution in the Old World, but they fully intended that the New World would be a promised land for them, but only for the true believers who shared their particular brand of Christian faith. Which in turn has spawned today’s White Christian Nationalism. America is still a work in progress. Black History is a means for understanding where we came from, to better achieve the more perfect union we strive for.
          • Why do you think Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion are important in real estate? 
          • There is no denying the damage caused to people of color by hundreds of years of discriminatory practices carried out under the color of law, and more recently by people with conscious and unconscious bias. I am dedicated to the Realtor Code of Ethics and the proposition that “on the wise utilization and widely allocated ownership (of land) depend on the survival and growth of free institutions and of our civilization”. This has profound implications and requires of us that we take affirmative steps to ensure progress in that direction in our daily actions as realtors. 

          In closing, we are honored and proud to amplify stories and passions from across our enterprise as they resonate not just as a celebration but as a collective call to action this Black History Month. The reflections from our team underscore the ongoing importance of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in real estate, serving as a reminder that our commitment to a more inclusive industry is an ever-evolving journey. 

          We take pride in honoring the rich tapestry of Black excellence, not just in the month of February but throughout the year, acknowledging the pivotal role it plays in shaping the narratives of success, resilience, and progress within our organization and the broader real estate landscape. As we embrace the legacies of the past, we look forward to a future where diversity remains our strength, equity guides our endeavors, and inclusion propels us towards a real estate industry that truly represents and uplifts every voice!