Just Deeds Coalition
The City of New Brighton takes pride in its diverse community and is committed to creating a welcoming environment for all residents. In light of recent attention to discriminatory covenants found in property deeds in Hennepin County and Ramsey County, New Brighton is further dedicated to addressing systemic racism and discrimination in housing.
On March 14, 2023, Council approved Resolution 23-029, which allowed New Brighton to join the Just Deeds Coalition to leverage community partners that support property owners in removing their discriminatory covenants at no charge and to raise awareness about the harmful legacy of the covenants.
Does your property have a covenant?
You can find out by going to www.mappingprejudice.umn.edu and entering your property address into the search bar on the map. Properties with discriminatory covenants will be in green.
Yard Signs are Now Available!
Raise awareness with a yard sign! They are free with a suggested donation of $5 (card, cash, or check). Pick one up from City Hall today!
Discriminatory covenants are clauses inserted into property deeds to prevent properties from being sold, leased, or occupied based on race, religion, or ethnicity.
The popularity of these covenants was a culmination of the following:
- White landowners' desire to segregate from non-White and non-Christian people.
- Real estate agencies promoting segregation as a way to increase home values in predominantly White neighborhoods.
- Banks favoring loans to predominantly White neighborhoods.
- The government requiring them to secure FHA mortgage financing.
In 1948, the US Supreme Court ruled that courts were prohibited from enforcing them. Minnesota prohibited new covenants in 1953, but existing ones were still legal until the Fair Housing Act of 1968.
Though unenforceable, they remain listed on thousands of Minnesota property titles. Their continued existence creates harm and pain for many Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC). The resulting segregated communities negatively impacted BIPOC's access to quality education, policing, parks, and public transportation. Our community still feels the impacts of discriminatory covenants and other racist housing policies.
- Just Deeds is dedicated to raising awareness and curating a coalition that is committed to educating people, taking action, and dismantling the racist systems that deny opportunities to communities of color.
Just Deeds Coalition members help property owners remove discriminatory covenants from their titles. Its members range from cities and counties to law firms and realtors. They are dedicated to acknowledging and addressing system racism and discrimination in Minnesota housing.
- Mapping Prejudice was created in 2016 to identify and map racially restrictive covenants. Their Hennepin County map was the first-ever visualization of discriminatory covenants. Today, Mapping Prejudice has mapped over 26,000 parcels with discriminatory covenants.
- New Brighton's City Attorney, Sarah Sonsalla, and the attorneys at Kennedy & Graven are providing pro-bono legal services associated with removing discriminatory covenants.
- Ramsey County joined Just Deeds in 2022 and is waiving the filing fees associated with updating property records.
Use the Mapping Prejudice tool to see if a property has a discriminatory covenant. Property owners can discharge their discriminatory covenants for free.
There are three steps to removing discriminatory covenants.
- Property owners fill out the New Brighton's Just Deeds Interest Form below. A completed physical copy of the form (PDF) can be downloaded, filled out, and dropped off at New Brighton City Hall.
- The City Attorney completes the legal requirements necessary to discharge covenants.
- Property owners submit Form 40.10.1 Discharge of Restrictive Covenant Affecting Protected Classes with Ramsey County Recorder's Office or the Ramsey County Registrar of Titles Office, dependent on the type of property (Abstract versus Torrens). The City Attorney will guide property owners to the correct office.
- Learn more about racism and discrimination in housing.
- Watch Jim Crow of the North by TPT.
- Watch Levittown: Separate and Unequal by PIX 11
- Watch The Disturbing History of the Suburbs by Adam Ruins Everything.
- Read The Color of Law: A Forgotten History of How Our Government Segregated America by Richard Rothstein.
- Talk with family, friends, and neighbors to raise awareness of discriminatory covenants.
While building a more inclusive community can be joyful, emotions like sadness, fear, anger, and confusion are also normal reactions to changes and challenges. As residents engage in learning and in conversation, it is important for everyone to be able to process emotions, express thoughts, and commit to action in their own way.
The History of Discriminatory Covenants - June 29, 2023
Residents received a presentation and updates related to the City's journey with the Just Deeds Coalition.
- Amber Bougie, Recorder | Ramsey County, Volunteer | Just Deeds - Just Deeds mission, values, and resources
- Mike Courey, Historian | Mapping Prejudice, Volunteer | Just Deeds - History and impact of racist housing practices
- Kami Miller, Vice Chair | Equity Commission - Actions taken by City of New Brighton
- Ben Gozola, Assistant Director of Community Assets and Development - Housing update
- Jim Nebel, Vice President | New Brighton Area Historical Society - NBAHS Resources
- Hue Schlieu, DEI Coordinator - Next Steps
Community members with questions or comments are welcome to reach out. One-to-one connections in person, over zoom, or over the phone are all available options.
Hue Schlieu, DEI Coordinator
651-638-2073 | [email protected]