"Our community, our state, our nation are all continuing to be roiled by the events sparked by the killing of George Floyd and the raw, painful, and deep injustices stemming from generations of racism, and racist systems and institutions," wrote Southeastern Minnesota Multi-County Housing and Redevelopment Authority (SEMMCHRA) Executive Director Buffy J. Berank, in a press release. 

"As a leader in affordable housing and community development, we already understand how racist systems have divided our communities and prevented people of color and indigenous from accessing opportunity and wealth building. Racial covenants, redlining and other denials of housing opportunity are part of the racist systems that led to George Floyd’s death. All of us, and especially those of us who are white, have much work to do to understand and dismantle these racist policies, systems and institutions," Berank wrote. 

Here are some things SEMMCHRA suggests to start that process:

1. Support community-based organizations that are led by POCI. These could include: Black Visions Collective, Reclaim the Block and the Northside Achievement Zone.

2. Learn about the history of racism. Revisit Mapping Prejudice, Voices of Rondo, Jim Crow of the North, Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee, Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City, The Illusion of Choice: Evictions and Profit in North Minneapolis. Each of these, and so many others, provide insights into how structural racism has created racist housing policies that impact ones' daily lives and SEMMCHRA’s core mission and work.

3. Talk to friends, family, neighbors. This horrifying murder has opened up painful truths about ourselves and our community but also provides an opportunity to start and continue conversations about the underlying structures of racism and how each of us can commit to the hard and complicated work of true reform and change. This isn’t just a moment in time, it’s a spark for ongoing change.

Fair Housing is interwoven into the mission and vision of SEMMCHRA — an equal housing provider and prohibits discrimination in renting housing based on race, color, religion, sex, national origin, familial status and disability. Now is the time to relook, analyze, challenge ourselves and our thinking to ensure that fair housing and race equity are at the fore front of our decision and policy making across the organization.

"We are committed to serve all equally and fairly across our communities of southeastern Minnesota and want to play a role in supporting solutions that work for everyone," wrote Berank.  "Join the challenge to be better and think broader."

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