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Listen, learn, and take action

Blake MacKenzie
Posted by Blake MacKenzie on 4:03 PM on June 9, 2020

With a monumental social uprising coming during a global health crisis, there’s no doubt the last few weeks have been some of the toughest in our state’s history. But racial injustice is not new. It is baked into every aspect of our lives, including housing.

Out of the challenges, the pain, and the rubble, there are resounding messages of compassion, justice, and love. More people than ever are finally listening to BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and People of Color) leaders who have been calling for us to examine and eliminate systemic racism. It's time to listen, learn, and take action. 

This blog is a brief summary of what we've been saying, reading, and doing over the last few weeks at Twin Cities Habitat.

White text on a black background, saying "Minnesota has some of the widest racial disparities in the nation. Especially in housing. Those disparities didn't come about by accident. Racist policies created them. We need to be as intentional in closing those disparities as we were in creating them." The Habitat logo is at the bottom.

Read

Check out our two public statements from Twin Cities Habitat President & CEO Chris Coleman in the wake of George Floyd's killing. 

  1. Justice for George Floyd
    Published Thursday, May 28

  2. Take Action for #JusticeForGeorgeFloyd
    Published Friday, May 29

Learn

The recent uprisings for racial justice that started in Minneapolis and spread around the world are happening in the context of centuries of systemic racism and oppression against Black folks.

To understand that context, we need to reckon with the fact that Minnesota has some of the widest racial disparities in the nation, especially in housing. Those disparities didn't come about by accident. Racist policies created them. We need to be as intentional in closing those disparities as we were in creating them.

A great first step to reckoning with our history is learning it. One simple, accessible starting place is the Twin Cities PBS Documentary "Jim Crow of the North." It is free for everyone to watch online.

Beyond that documentary, there's much more history to learn. At Twin Cities Habitat, we've been sharing stories and compiling resources about how racist policies were created, why they persist, and how people resisted. All those stories, resources, and action steps are compiled at tchabitat.org/race.

Read Race & Housing series

Act

Everywhere you look, you see people yearning to help. You see powerful protests. Spontaneous neighborhood cleanups. Pop-up donation sites and mutual aid. Difficult conversations about racism. Funds to local BIPOC-led organizations. It's inspiring.

Anyone who loves Habitat also loves their community and neighbors. And right now, there are so many ways to express your love for your community to build a Twin Cities where everyone can thrive. 

Here are just a few of the ways you can help.

  1. Support George Floyd’s family and organizationson the ground. Donate to the Official George Floyd Memorial Fund, and learn more from:
  2. Follow us on Facebook. We have been using our platform to uplift the grassroots organizing and share opportunities to get involved in your community. More importantly, follow the organizations doing the racial justice work on the ground.

  3. Sign up for Advocacy Action Alerts. Twin Cities Habitat is part of the Homes for All Coalition to advocate for affordable housing solutions and end the racial disparities in housing. Sign up to receive emails for how you can take action.

  4. Talk to a friend. Don’t let this tragic incident of violence in our community fade into the background. Reach out to friends, family, and neighbors and have a conversation about the racism in our community that led to the murder of George Floyd and our resolve for building the equitable community that we want to see. 

This list is by no means exhaustive. It's really just the tip of the iceberg. Twin Cities Habitat's staff and Board of Directors have been engaging with racial equity work for years. While a lot has been done, a lot remains to be done as well.

We deepen our own commitment to active anti-racism work with our staff and board, within our policies and systems, and through our community engagement.

Together, we strive toward the day when Black Lives Matter is reflected not only in our protest signs, but in all the systems and values that drive our community. 

Tags: Race and Housing, 2020

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