Interim Message from AAA Chair Bobby West

Diversity & Inclusion ,

For about the last week, I have been watching T.V. coverage of gut-wrenching anguish and suffering.  I have been watching coverage of people who have simply and understandably said, “Enough”.  I find myself hoping that this is not a transient event.  I find myself hoping that it is an inflection point in our nation’s history, a moment of change, the moment we start to change things together. 

I was thinking about my previous Chairman’s Messages.  With the exception of my brief autobiographical piece in January, I have written about COVID-19 (twice) and homelessness.  It has been quite a year already, and it is only June.  But nothing I have seen or done or said has prepared me for this.  Not even my status as a son of the South, the occasional witness to unspeakable intolerance, has prepared me for this.  I fear my response will be insufficient, and I fear that you might find it insufficient too.  But I hope you find it sincere as well.

Below is the text of an email my partners and I sent to our colleagues at TriBridge Residential on Monday of this week.  It speaks of two struggles.  One is the struggle this country finds itself embroiled in for justice and equality.  The other is the struggle that even well-meaning folks have in discussing difficult subjects.  But it is precisely the difficulty of the subject, the unrelenting pressure of it, the unbearable weight of it, that demands that we keep discussing it.  Only by bringing problems into the light of truth can we truly hope to change them.  But that highlights the third struggle, really.  The third struggle is that words are necessary, but in the end, they are only words, and we will be judged more by what we do than by what we say.  The end of the email below is a call to action, a request to help decide where to focus our time and resources to cause positive change.  On behalf of the Atlanta Apartment Association, an association long dedicated to bringing about positive change, I make the same call to action to the AAA membership that my partners and I made to our colleagues at TriBridge.  My fellow board members and I demand that AAA be a safe place for us all.  We are willing to work for that.  We stand with you against injustice in any form.  And we ask for your help in bringing about positive change.