10:00 AMSunday, December 12, 2021
Since the city of Golden Valley started an initiative called “Just Deeds” to assist homeowners in removing racially restrictive covenants from their property deeds, the program has attracted a lot of attention.
In the past year, the city has had more than 400 requests to remove covenants and has fielded calls from across the country from cities and organizations wanting to start their own program. The biggest win? Realtors requesting state licensure must receive a four-hour training on racially restrictive covenants.
“This year we’ve done dozens of presentations to all community groups. We’ve had conversations with corporations and with thousands of people on Zoom,” said Kiarra Zackery, equity and inclusion manager in Golden Valley. “We are making a lot of progress.”
Zackery says the ripple effects from the Just Deeds program have been amazing.
“I received a call to talk to a high school class in California. I have been interviewed by NPR,” said Zackery. “It’s so wonderful that folks are actively looking at these things in their community and activate and make change.”
Zackery said that the next steps include working on formalizing the structure and creating a system that can be replicated.
“One of the things we get from all of these cities is how can we start this in my city. It’s work that wants to be done across the country,” said Zackery. “We want to get more people engaged, more people organized, continuing to discharge covenants and continuing to grow our reach.”
One of the success stories includes a presentation and work with college students at St. Olaf.
“Two of the students found racially restrictive covenants on their parents’ home and on their grandparents’ homes and they’ve discharged them. They are having family conversations about that and what it means for them,” said Zackery. “That’s wonderful and beautiful and exactly what the coalition wants.”