And so segregation is still with us. We still confront it in the South in its glaring and conspicuous forms. We still confront it in every other section of this country in its hidden and subtle forms. But if democracy is to live, segregation must die, for racial segregation is a cancer in the body politic.Martin Luther King Jr., 1962
This Monday, we celebrate Martin Luther King Jr. and the tireless work of the civil rights movement. We also recognize that, despite many advancements in the last half-century, the struggle against racism and inequality is far from over.
St. Paul’s leadership has housing as a top priority this year, with a focus on opportunities for low-and-median-income residents. Minneapolis recently became the first major U.S. city to end citywide single-family zoning: a victory for affordable housing and undoing racial disparities. But the Twin Cities metro still has a long way to go on both fronts. Minneapolis-St. Paul has the lowest rate of African-American homeownership of any major U.S. metro area, in part due to the widespread use of racial covenants in the early-to-mid 20th century.
Jim Crow of the North
At our Fall 2019 screening and discussion of the TPT documentary “Jim Crow of the North,” YWCA St. Paul Board Member Dr. Yohuru Williams identified these racial covenants as one of the many tactics and policies employed by oppressors to enforce segregation. Many of these policies have been struck down. Far too much of their legacy remains.
This January, YWCA St. Paul is proud to continue the fight against institutionalized racism. As Dr. King said so long ago, segregation persists in many hidden and subtle forms. Even as we celebrate his legacy, it falls to all of us to continue his work.
Please note that both the offices of YWCA St. Paul and the HFC will be closed this Monday, Jan. 20 in honor of MLK Day.