Housing was so important to Sen. Edward W. Brooke that he mentions it on page 1 of his autobiography, “Briding the Divide”. When I began working on his first Senate campaign in 1966, housing was a key focus. When he won election and was appointed to what was then the Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee, one of his first acts was to co-author the Fair Housing Act of 1968. I served as his Legislative Assistant during this time, and the goal of safe and affordable housing has been dear to my heart ever since. I know first hand what it means to have a safe place to come home to.
When Habitat for Humanity was launched in 1976, it was a no-brainer. I was in. It has been a blessing to be able to help others enjoy something as basic as a good home. I have worked on builds and experienced the shared joy of accomplishment. But the experience that most stands out for me was attending a Carter Weekend in Plains and Americus. And what impressed me most about that weekend was a visit to the Habitat villages in Americus. At a time when our country is so divided along ethnic and cultural lines, when xenophobia seems supreme in so many circles, I was deeply moved by the diversity of the habitations. Habitat shows enduring respect for social, cultural and religious differences. The sight of those many different homes is a vibrant witness to the way in which we all need to work together, to ‘bridge the divide.’ It did more than anything else to reinforce my respect for Habitat and my commitment to its support. Long may it live!