Black Lives Matter

Equitable and affordable housing opportunities for individuals and families of color is a step towards healing the future of our historically racist and exclusionary housing practices here in Lawrence.

Housing in the US, in Kansas and here in the City of Lawrence is permeated with a deep history of Racism and racial exclusion. Looking back to the deeds of homes still standing within our neighborhoods, one discovers exclusionary and racist clauses (redlining) that served to legally disallow persons of color from purchasing homes within many of the town’s neighborhoods. While these exclusionary clauses are no longer legally upheld, many of these original deeds and their racist rhetoric are still in use. Today, some of these homes are now owned by persons of color who are reminded by the very certificate of ownership that their home and the overtly racist history of their community sought to exclude them from opportunity, equality, equity and class mobility. This is systemic racism.

Banks too have a history of denying loans (including loans for homeownership) based on racial identity. This is systemic racism.

While Lawrence is touted as a proud locale of the Free State, these 20th century realities of institutional and systemic racism were not foreign to our community. The inability to build wealth through homeownership has caused generational disadvantage leading to greater economic challenge and reduced opportunities for black and brown people here in Lawrence. This is by definition systematic racism. Lawrence often speaks of the architectural historicism of its homes and structures, what remains less discussed, is the narrative of egregious racial exclusion/ and the traumatic racist history of housing in our community. This is systemic racism.

As a community-responsive organization TTH is anti-racist. Our work provides affordable homeownership opportunities, rental opportunities and microloans without discrimination. Our very model as a Community Land Trust is derived from New Communities Inc., a re-imagined and progressive model of shared land ownership borne out of organizing efforts of the Civil Rights Movement.

Racism is institutionalized within the very fabric of our societal structure. The only way to begin to dismantle its presence is to intentionally acknowledge its existence and to work intentionally through anti-racist actions that will aid in the processes of creating a culture of healing, full equity, opportunity and equality. TTH is committed to listening to people of color in our community and offering leadership positions on our board and within our staff to people of diverse backgrounds.

This is what TTH is about. We will continue our role in this community as an ally, supportive service agency, responsible landlord, client and as your anti-racist neighbor.

Want to learn more?

Read www.rewire.org/neighborhood-institutional-racism/ and check out Monhollon’s book from the Lawrence Public Library at https://lawrence.bibliocommons.com/item/show/10457119