Did you know that the overt discriminatory practices of refusal of sale and loans to Black Americans continued unabated until at least 1968, when the Fair Housing Act was passed?
“It’s been almost 50 years since Lyndon Johnson signed the Fair Housing Act (FHA) of 1968, a landmark law passed in the aftermath of Martin Luther King’s assassination that banned discriminatory practices in housing.
The law was part of a spate of civil rights legislation in the 1960s—spurred by the movement led by black Americans—that sought to pave a way for African Americans to attain higher levels of education, employment, income, and health in an unequal country.
But there is one aspect of the American dream that, despite the Fair Housing Act, remains largely elusive for black Americans—homeownership.” (Jeff Andrews 3/18/2018)
In the early 2000’s, Black people’s ability to purchase homes increased but today we are seeing a decline in their homeownership. And let’s be truthful here. The same reasons that kept Black folks from owning homes from 1619 leading up to 1968 still exist today. The primary reasons are centuries of systemic racism, anti-blackness, and discriminatory housing and lending practices.
Imagine the generational wealth that Black folks could have generated if they were treated like human beings and their human rights were honored. Unfortunately, due to systemic racism and discriminatory housing/lending practices a lot of Black folks do not own homes nor are they able to build and pass on generational wealth. That must come to an end. Now.
If you are committed to racial justice work and ending this type of racial discrimination, we need your support. We cannot wait on the government and the housing industry to do the right thing. We can help Black folks own their own homes with campaigns like this for Ms. Rosemary and Raeisha Williams, two Black women (mother and daughter) living in the Twin Cities. Here is their brief story and how you can help them become homeowners.
Ms. Rosemary has served her community for over 40 years as a community advocate, social/racial justice activist, and organizer. She was a part of the Black Panther Breakfast club in Oakland, California, a youth educator and HIV trainer, grass roots home organizer against big bank foreclosures; and remarkably, she is still a social justice freedom fighter well into her 70s. Ms. Rosemary continues to put her boots on the ground fighting for racial justice and has served as one of the organizers for rallies, protests and occupations. When injustice happens Ms., Rosemary always shows up for the community.
Raeisha is a chip off the old block. Like her mother, she has taken up the charge to fight for social justice as a community organizer and program manager. Raeisha is the former NAACP Communications Director for the Minneapolis chapter under the leadership of President Nekima Levy Armstrong. She has been a racial justice organizer in challenging police brutality cases, discriminatory practices of local and state government, and calling for an end to community violence. During the protest for a recent victim of police violence, Raeisha served as one of the leaders who led over 3,000 people to demand justice.
In 2018, Ms. Rosemary lost her only son to gun violence and Raeisha lost her best friend and brother. Raeisha would see her brother take his last few breaths as she held him in her arms in front of their mother’s home in North Minneapolis where he had been shot. Together, Ms. Rosemary, Raeisha and her sister, Kendra, found the strength to start Guns Down Love Up in honor of their brother Tyrone Williams and all gun violence victims. Their organization works to fight against gun violence in the African American community through prevention, intervention, and Restorative Justice.
Raeisha is the owner of the award-winning Heritage Tea house, which opened in 2008, and was a brick and mortar safe space and meeting destination for activists and community organizers. Unfortunately, the Tea House closed due to lack of funding; thus leaving a gap in employment for Raeisha and her family. And although Raeisha has gone back to work as a Marketing and Project Manager Consultant, she does not make enough money to qualify for a loan to purchase the house.
Raeisha and her mother currently live in a duplex owned by the Twin City Land Bank, which was acquired from an owner who foreclosed on the property. Raeisha, her young son and Ms. Rosemary have lived in the home for two years and have invested over $15,000 in renovations to make it livable for their family. They moved into the property with a ‘lease to own’ agreement over two years ago and the lease comes to an end in December. Ms. Rosemary and Raeisha need to buy their home by December 2020 or their home will be sold from underneath them. Raeisha and Ms. Rosemary have saved approximately $50,000 to go towards the purchase of their home. They need an additional $100,000 to be able to buy their home.
Raeisha and Ms. Rosemary sacrifice their time, energy, money, and life source by putting their bodies on the line for the community. They fight for justice for so many people in the community, let us fight to help them buy their home. It’s important that you view your contributions to this campaign as a form of reparations and economic justice, as racial justice includes economic justice for descendants of enslaved Africans.
Please contribute what you can often and share this fundraiser frequently and widely. We can do it. They need and deserve to own their home not only to build future generational wealth, but to keep their family intact so they can continue to be a voice and change agents within their community.