October 4, 2018
Mapping Prejudice would not exist without the efforts of our volunteers. Community members volunteer their time transcribing property deeds to help build our map of racial covenants. Their contributions are essential in illuminating the history of racist housing practices, the legacies of which we are still living with today.
Meet our first and most tenacious volunteer: Penny Petersen. Penny recently explained why she devotes her time to this project:
Why do you think Mapping Prejudice's work is important?
“I think we need to understand how the structural racism that underlies our current racial disparities was not something that was "natural," but constructed. It intentionally segregated and re-shaped the city. I hope Mapping Prejudice will allow us to recognize this secret history and begin to redress the toxic legacies of the past.”
Why do you volunteer to do transcriptions?
“I have a long-standing interest in local history and doing transcriptions allows me to reveal the hidden history of Minneapolis and the rest Hennepin County lot by lot. It is also very satisfying to see the transcription results appear on the map every time it is updated.”
Mapping Prejudice needs community members to continue our work. Communities of color have known the realities of racial inequality for decades. Our goal is to empower communities in the contemporary struggle for racial, social, and economic justice with the irrefutable evidence that current inequality is not accident of circumstance. It was not inevitable, nor is it natural. We are living the legacy of a system that worked just how it was designed. Without full recognition of this history, we cannot dismantle the system it created.