PRESIDENT'S CORNER: To Boldly Go…

Crystal Hawkins Syska | August 19, 2021

Crystal Hawkins Syska, HGAR President 2021

I just loved Star Trek as a kid growing up. Hey, to be honest, I still love Star Trek. On the right day of the week, you may hear me say something in Klingon or give you the Vulcan greeting.

As a young African American girl, it was a big deal to see a person who looked like me as a crew member of the Starship Enterprise, even though I didn’t fully realize that at the time. She was Lieutenant Uhura. Although a fictional character, she wasn’t “sassing anyone,” making people laugh, or a servant of some sort. Uhura was a Starfleet Officer with rank on what was one of the most important ships in the galaxy. That show broke a lot of ground, with actually having the first inter-racial kiss on TV.

Commander Sulu was not a conventional sidekick doing some sort of kung-fu, but a regal and controlled member of the crew. The show was also very intellectual in exploring the human condition and social issues, wrapped in a futuristic tomorrow with many inventions and technology that actually exists today. Star Trek is actually credited with inspiring the technology we use for a Facetime, Zoom, portable computers, voice recognition and more. The show aired in the late 60s and only lasted for three seasons. I think to myself, what was Gene Roddenberry, the creator and producer of Star Trek, thinking packing a show with so much imagery of a world far from the one he lived in. How did network executives even dare air it in the first place? How much push back happened behind closed doors? The networks did in effect snuff the show by changing it to a time slot no one would watch. However, syndicating the show one year later was the action that set ablaze the catalyst of the franchise and cult following we see today.

Roddenberry and those who helped his vision come to life; they were visionaries. No one could really see where the show could go, or what it could be. They were unpopular and unsupported in many ways. But that’s entertainment!

The real estate industry is not entertainment or fantasy. The combined sectors of the housing market make up about 18% of our nation’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP). Thus, a critical part of our wealth. If ever there was a place where vision was necessary it should be in our industry.

It is important that all Americans see their role and have opportunities to participate and benefit from the wealth our industry creates. That currently does not exist at a high level that corresponds to our population. To address that issue, decisive actions must be taken. Surveys and demographic studies must be conducted. We need real data to come up with solutions and to measure success. But it means discomfort, ideas that may seem strange to most people and being unpopular for a while, just like Roddenberry, the network executives and their work product—the Star Trek series. But in the end, they were ahead of the game and may have been the creators of the future we live in by inspiring others to make it real.

Just as I was influenced by a show to believe I could have a significant role in a possible future, others from many groups need to see themselves as part of a wealth system and a significant portion of our GDP in order to be empowered. Now you may not really see the point of that if you are already a part of that group. You may have never seen a world where someone who looked like you wasn’t sitting in the “Captain’s Chair” or a part of the most elite crew or staff.

What I am hoping to achieve through this article is to help us understand why the current survey released by the Hudson Gateway Association of Realtors is important and necessary. Also, why we should not feel afraid to stand up and be counted and seen. I am so happy with the results of participation we have had thus far. And I want to thank all of you who participated in that success. We are projecting into a future space. Please help us move toward the world in which our ideals say how we want to live.

I think it is important to further note that the fictional world of the Starfleet Enterprise was one of the first to address gender roles and language. Everyone of rank was called “Sir” removing it from being male to just meaning authority, thus commanding officers of any gender were addressed by the title. We face identification titles in real life and we have to become aware and sensitive to it. You could argue a TV show foresaw that. In the late 1980s “Star Trek—The Next Generation” show also went further by removing the gender reference in the opening narrative.

Well colleagues, members and friends; real estate, land and advancement has always been the American frontier. The real estate industry is at the forefront of wealth, power and success. The time is now to have this fully expressed and realized by all citizens of this great country. “And to boldly go where no one has gone before.” I hope you decide to be a part of the ride.

Crystal Hawkins Syska
is the 2021 President of the Hudson Gateway Association of Realtors, Inc