Fair Housing Month Video 2013 (closed caption)


In my 20’s, I worked as a waitress. One day
I had a phone call for a job working downtown and I said, “Oh I was
called to work today.” He said, I don’t know where you’ll be working but you won’t be working
here. When I looked around, I didn’t see not one
black person there. I believe that over time we all go through
a test and triumph. When you’re dealing with racial discrimination,
you have to have time of healing. You have to have a time of healing.
I was in the projects for 5 years. My son was only two years old at the time and mice
started coming up in my kitchen. They were on the floor, running up in the
cabinets. I had to tape his bedroom and use that for the kitchen area. It was just terrible. I just prayed my way
through it. It was hard but I prayed my way through it. I knew that I
wanted to get me and my son and go. I wanted a better life for him. I wanted a better environment
for him. I went to a class that gives you training on how
to buy a home. Oh boy was I happy. I was loooking at my little son and we
were getting ready to get out of here and after you finish the class, you needed to
contact a real estate agent. So we began to search for homes and each time,
I’m like here’s a list Mister and he was like, oh Sara, we’ll check
that out later. I have some homes I want to show you. Weeks and weeks and weeks went by.
In fact, months went by. I said, I don’t understand why this guy will
not take me into the suburbs. That’s where I want to live. I knew
that there was something wrong. I said, why are you treating me like this.
And he responded, when white people see black people in their
neighborhoods they get offended. I didn’t know what to do, I was totally in shock. My
mind went back to the hotel when I was in my 20’s. I said enough is enough.
The first thing I can tell a victim, you have to make that first
step. Calling Fair Housing, that’s what I did. They were very encouraging. I appreciate
everybody that played a part for me and my son. and to get the settlement.
I believe that there are thousands probably millions of people
that are going through racial discrimination and they only thing that I could tell them
is you need to voice it. If it’s not addressed, how can it be healed. If you believe you may be a victim of housing
discrimination, contact your local fair housing center or call HUD’s
housing discrimination hotline at 1-800-669-9777. Remember unless you report it, it won’t stop. My dream of photography started off when I
had my first child. I told myself that my children would never tell me
that they don’t have childhood pictures. So I picked up a camera and started then because
I want my children to have more than what I’ve had. My first apartment,
being there for 5 years you see a lot of troubles. I came
home one day and the sewage had over flowed. The parking lot would flood and you could
not get in your car. My hot water heater burst and the landlord
didn’t get it fixed. When you’re in those surroundings, you feel
stuck. I didn’t want to feel stuck. Over the years, it just got worse and worse. and I
was just like okay my next opportunity to get out of here, I’m gone. I qualified for my first voucher and that
was like giving me wings. I would always tell my kids, it would be
awesome for us to live over there. To build something new, be able to have self-confidence,
being able to be proud of your neighborhood. and that’s what
I was trying to do for my two children. But as you walk in, you got the sign one heartbeat
per room rule. But I’ve got a two bedroom voucher. I’ve got
two boys, same sex, they share a room. They were just no way according to their rule
that I was going to qualify to be a resident there. That’s not right.
What they’re doing is not right. You’re getting money from Uncle Sam saying
that you’re going to house low-income families but they are making you
pay more that what you qualify for. Yes, you get angry because something was taken away
from my children before I even got the opportunity to even give it
to them. Discriminating against me and my children
was like the last straw. Finding the local Fair Housing Center in my
area was biggest thing for me because they helped me make that complaint a reality. They
were the first step and they helped me out tremendously. It ended and we all reached a settlement.
It’s been a long road but I wouldn’t have traded filing a complaint for
nothing because it benefited me and my children. I was able to get my photography up and running.
I have a make shift studio. I’ve got a little office. I
was also able to just know that when you least expect that somebody is
in your corner to help you out. if you just ask the right questions and just don’t stop
at why. That lawsuit let me know that standing up for my children,
no matter how long it takes me will get rewarded. If you believe you may be a victim of housing
discrimination, contact your local fair housing center or call HUD’s
housing discrimination hotline at 1-800-669-9777. Remember unless you report it, it won’t stop. Right when I first moved here I was so happy.
I could go outside and look at the earth. When the sky turns blue
or yellow and red in the morning, I was like wow… …but a couple weeks later, not too good. Something tells me there’s gonig to be some
trouble with the coordinator. Then one day she asked me a question, “How
long have you been hard of hearing?” I told her, “All my life.” That’s when she called me names, “dumb, stupid,
retarded.” I said, I’m hard of hearing and this is how
I talk.” She said, “Well deaf people and hard of hearing
people do not belong here. They belong in a nursing home.” I was angry. I was hurt. I said, “Just because I’m hard of hearing
that don’t give your the right to call me names.” But it kept on building up, building up, building
up. she told my family members I’m not allowed
to have company… told the pharmacy, I don’t live here. she abused her authority. The manager and the company did nothing about
it. I got fed up with it. I said, “No, I have my rights to live in this
building just like everybody else.” So I took all my evidence, and my complaint
to the Fair Housing Center. She was the one harassing you and denied people
access to your apartment, who were coming to visit you? Yes. Now, you’re still living there right? -Yeah,
they want me out but I won’t let them. – Out of this case, I want them to realize what
they did wrong. I just want somebody to look at me as a person, to treat me right, the way I want to be treated. I’m a human being. I don’t look at myself
as a disability. I look at myself as a person. It made me feel like I have the power to stand
up for myself. I’m going to stay on my ground because I’m
going to keep on fighting. If you believe you may be a victim of housing
discrimination, contact your local fair housing center or call HUD’s
housing discrimination hotline at 1-800-669-9777. Remember unless you report it, it won’t stop.

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