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A Message to our Community

We mark the one year anniversary of George Floyd’s murder on May 25, 2021. More than 20 million Americans took to the streets in the aftermath of his death. Scholars are now calling this the largest protest movement in American history. Much of the past year has been consumed by the question of why this began in Minneapolis. Mapping Prejudice has been grateful to be a part of these discussions and offer one avenue towards understanding and action. This issue of our newsletter is devoted to resources that can help us understand how we arrived at this place and how we can begin to repair the damage done by racial covenants and other manifestations of structural racism.


Content Warning: Discussion of police violence and Black death
Sparked: George Floyd, Racism, and the Progressive Illusion is a new collection of essays written by BIPOC academics to reflect on their experience of living in Minnesota. These heart-wrenching and eloquent pieces weave together what editors Walter R. Jacobs and Wendy Thompson Taiwo called “wonderful/wretched” memories of race and racism of life in this community that has become the center of international scrutiny since George Floyd’s murder.

One of the pieces in this collection is authored by Terrion L. Williamson, an associate professor at the University of Minnesota. In Remembering David Cornelius Smith,  she reflects on David Smith’s life and murder at the hands of Minneapolis Police. Smith moved to Minneapolis from Peoria, Illinois in hopes of improving his financial circumstances. In 2010 he was killed by police while he was working out at the downtown Minneapolis YMCA. Williamson draws on her personal connection with the Smith family to voice grief at the parallels between George Floyd and David Smith.

Williamson is also part of the Black Midwest Initiative, which published Black in the Middle. This anthology features narratives, commentary and art that speaks to the Black experience in the Midwest.

The murder of George Floyd brought journalists from around the world to Minneapolis. This intense scrutiny resulted in a rich set of articles that connect the past to the present. This anniversary provides the opportunity to revisit these narratives and reflect on what has changed since the Minneapolis Uprising began?

The Minneapolis Uprising sparked a creative outpouring. A group at the University of St. Thomas created Urban Art Mapping to document the anti-racist street art that blossomed all over the Twin Cities last summer.

As the world awaited the verdict in the trial of Derek Chauvin, Pastor Alika Galloway of Liberty Community Church on the Northside of Minneapolis shared personal stories and insights from her ministry to illuminate how structural racism shapes every aspect of life. She called on listeners to renew their commitment to action. “It is about liberation of all people,” she explained in this podcast episode of American Refugee. “You can’t hate me and thrive.”


Documenting Structural Racism

Mapping Prejudice will be re-starting volunteer transcription sessions in June. Be sure to check our Events page for updates and registration links.

Ramsey County Town Hall - Preview Map

On April 8th, the Mapping Prejudice and Welcoming the Dear Neighbor? teams joined representatives from the city of St. Paul and Ramsey County to discuss the past, the present and the future of housing justice. In this session, Mapping Prejudice revealed a sneak peek of the Ramsey County map while our collaborators from the Welcoming the Dear Neighbor? Project at St. Catherine University shared some of the stories they have been unearthing in the archives.

Since we could not respond to all of the questions posed during the event, we answered some of the queries here.

A more complete version of the Ramsey County map will be public later this summer. But as we emphasized in the presentation, this visualization is just the beginning. What meaningful action are we taking to repair the damage done by these policies?

Housing Equity in St. Paul

The continuing legacies of racially restrictive covenants in the Twin Cities has led to vast housing inequities between BIPOC and white homeowners and renters. Housing Equity Now St. Paul (HENS) aims to confront these legacies by working for tenement protects and rent stabilization. HENS is a BIPOC created and led coalition. They believe rent stabilization aids in advancing racial equity in housing by strengthening BIPOC and low-income communities who have been disproportionately affected by the legacies of racially restrictive covenants, allowing these communities to gain the financial stability needed to become homeowners. To learn more about their current work you can visit their website.
Below you can read why Martin Hernandez chooses to support HENS in a profile written by Carolyn Szczepanski -- communications and programming manager at one of HENS founding members, The Alliance. To read more about HENS, visit their website.
Martin Hernandez
This image shows HENS volunteer Martin Hernandez smiling with his arms crossed. He is wearing glasses, and a checkered green button up shirt. He is standing in front of a blue backdrop. Next to him on a light green insert incluses a quote from him stating Stable housing makes for stable neighborhoods and neighbors are neighbors, whether they rent their home or are buying it. My spouse and I were renters and we know that when renters are welcomed to a community they can feel part of that community, not like strangers.
Stable housing makes for stable neighborhoods and neighbors are neighbors, whether they rent their home or are buying it.

My spouse and I were renters and we know that when renters are welcomed to a community they can feel part of that community, not like strangers. Now, as property owners who rent out a home, we are indebted to our renters: they pay our mortgage, keep the place up and they are able to live close to family and friends and work, like we used to do. They feel connected and don’t we all want to feel that way in the places we live? That is why we support Housing Equity Now St. Paul and the initiative to put rent stabilization on the November ballot.

Do you want to join the movement for rent stabilization in St. Paul? Are you a homeowner who knows that your community is stronger when your neighbors who rent are free from price gouging rent increases? Are you aware of how structural racism in housing has created our deep housing inequities — or are you eager to learn?

The Allied Homeowners committee of the Keep St. Paul Home rent stabilization campaign is calling for homeowners who match this description to join us! Contact me at for details. And learn more about HENS here!

More Action

Many other organizations are working for equity and justice in our community. We encourage you to learn more:

Outreach and Community Engagement

Citizens League
Affordable Housing Summit, Minnesota Housing Partnership
White Bear Lake Historical Society
Rondo Reconciliation Lunch Group
Hennepin County-University of Minnesota Partnership
Minnesota Public Health Association
Minnesota Department of Transportation
Equity & Justice Black Caucus Statewide Resource Group
State Agency GIS Collaborative

Volunteer Today!
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