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In his book The Color of Law, Richard Rothstein reflects on the legacy of the Fair Housing Act of 1968: “You might think that fifty years would be long enough to erase the effects of government promotion of and support for segregation. But the public policies of yesterday still shape the racial landscape today.” Today, the Twin Cities are grappling with an unprecedented housing crisis, which disproportionately affects BIPOC communities. We must ask: How did we get here? How can a shared understanding of history help us carve a better path forward?  

Join us for this local conversation between public historians and housing justice practitioners.


Panelist Include: 

Kirsten Delegard

Kirsten Delegard, Project Director for Mapping PrejudiceKirsten Delegard is the Director and one of the co-founders of the Mapping Prejudice Project, which is located in the Borchert Map Library at the University of Minnesota. Kirsten is a third generation Minneapolitan and public historian. To explore the complex history of her hometown, she established Mapping Prejudice as well as the Historyapolis Project. She is a graduate of the Minneapolis Public Schools and Wesleyan University. She also holds a Ph.D. in history from Duke University, where she spent her graduate school years exploring American social movements, comparative women’s history and the history of women and politics in the United States.


Shannon Smith Jones

Shannon Smith Jones is a visionary and strategic leader with a passion for valuing and dignifying the work of community members. Shannon serves as the executive director of Hope Community, a cutting-edge organization that values housing as a stabilizing force in community and demonstrated the value of community engagement long before it was an established practice in the field. She has more than 15 years of experience in community development, affordable housing development, community engagement, and housing justice. With her deep commitment to community voice and asset-based frameworks, she has quickly become a leader in the anti-displacement field.

Tyra Thomas

Tyra Thomas of Street Voices of ChangeTyra Thomas is a leader of Street Voices of Change and a member of The Homes4All Task Force currently championing the Street Voices of Change Shelter Residents Bill of Rights at the Legislature. Having personal experience of homelessness, she is a passionate advocate for the rights of the sheltered and unsheltered, and for a variety of solutions to our housing crisis. A former resident of South Minneapolis, Tyra now resides in the suburbs, but remembers fondly her childhood experiences in the Powderhorn Park neighborhood.


Moderator: Deborah Mitchell

Dr. Deborah Mitchell is the Executive Director for Aurora/St. Anthony Neighborhood Development Corporation. Dr. Mitchell has a doctorate in Housing Studies with a minor in Public Policy from the University of Minnesota. Aurora/St. Anthony NDC is a nonprofit community development agency that serves the Rondo neighborhood of St. Paul, MN.  Aurora/St. Anthony NDC mission is to foster positive relationships within and between the neighborhoods we serve. To find out more about Aurora/St. Anthony NDC services please go to www.aurorastanthony.org.


Hosts and sponsors

Logos for Alliance Housing, Plymouth Congregational Church, Align Mpls, and Hennepin History Musuem

This event is hosted by Hennepin History Museum, Plymouth Congregational Church, Alliance Housing Incorporated, and Align Minneapolis. It is sponsored by the Minneapolis Foundation and the Pohlad Family Foundation.

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