Former Congresswoman, Diane E. Watson's Keynote Speech at Pure Hearts R Us Homeownership Workshop

The Honorable Diane E. Watson, U.S. Congresswoman (Ret.), recently spoke before a crowd assembled at the WOW, I’m Home! home buying workshop hosted by Pure Hearts Are Us.

Ms. Watson has endorsed Pure Hearts R Us as the housing counseling agency most fit to take up the mantle of the original W.O.W. initiative which was created by the Congressional Black Caucus in the early 2000s. Ms. Watson was a member of the Caucus at that time and a co-drafter of the initiative.

W.O.W. stands for “With Ownership, Wealth.” It was endorsed by President George W. Bush as a cornerstone of his “Ownership Society” endeavors.

Below is a transcript of Ms. Watson’s message to Pure Hearts R Us and its audience on October 10, 2015.

“In the community we say ‘turf.’ ‘On your own turf.’ And, you know, in some areas of the city you have one group over here that doesn’t go across to someone else’s turf; you have another group over here and so on. So what is that all about? Our kids in the lower classes own nothing. So they will claim, then, their blocks as their own turf. And you dare not cross over the line.

“So in trying to realize a dream, so that people can actually own property, while retaining the expression, ‘With ownership is wealth,’ now, regardless of what class you’re in, you can actually gain wealth by meeting your dream. And that is to own something that you can call your own turf. So that’s in a sense the history. And I am so glad that Pure Hearts R Us understood the original concept – that every American has a dream. And that’s ‘to own.’ And when you can buy property….and you can’t buy property – many don’t have the income, but they need the education – and that’s what you’re doing.

“Today you’re going to learn about how we get our people ready to meet dream of ownership. Some don’t have a clue. Some don’t have a chance. Some live on welfare. But there’s a way to manage the… or, shall I say, your finances – either the benefits that come from government, or from your working – we need to continue to educate in our communities people to handle their own finances, to plan, and to do what they’re able to do on the level that they can. So they can rise.

“So, I want to say to [Pure Hearts R Us’] WOW, [program], ‘Wow, what a concept.’ And what a dream. And we are about helping you helping others meet their dream of ownership. And I can’t thank you enough for gathering today. It’s very important with the housing market the way it is at the current time… And you know, there are fewer homes on sale that are affordable. I live in an area that is close to the airport – 17 miles… and there’s a street called Angeles Vista, it’ll take you to Slauson and out to the airport – I live on the south side of Angeles Vista. On the north side of Angeles Vista the homes are, average, $1.5 million. Now I bought my home way back when. August of 1970. But today, who can afford it – that kind of mortgage?

“So, you are about training people to look at their financing, how they can gain wealth, how long it will take them… They will have to know, very definitely, about markets today, interest rates, and all. So I really can’t thank you enough for coming together and putting this workshop together. And I’m sure that all of you are going to go back and share the information that you pick up today. And so, take everything that you can. The banks are here… it’s a wonderful thing. And they are planning on supporting those who are at the bottom of the social economic scale to rise and become turf and home owners.

“Congratulations to all of you. Have a great, great morning and afternoon. And please, please educate those that you will see, and let them know that they, too, can be homeowners. Thank you so very much.”

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