Equity Task Force

In June of 2020, the Tangletown Neighborhood Association established an Equity Task Force charged with responding to the racial inequities in Tangletown and our broader city along with developing ways we can support neighborhoods affected by the civic unrest following George Floyd’s murder. A group of 10 residents began meeting in July and has formed five smaller groups focused on vision/mission, education, fundraising, advocacy, and partnerships & programs. You can view their vision, values, and strategies document here.

Racial Equity and Anti Racist Educational Resources

Our education group wanted to share some educational resources they have compiled, to help you explore the topic of racial equity and racism. In addition, each month we’ll be featuring a new highlight for your interest.

This month, Equity Task Force Member Victoria Fok shares her personal experience of the importance of representation in media, “Growing up as an Asian-American in the Midwest, I was often the only person of color, child of immigrant, or Asian person.   I not only did not see myself, my family’s culture & customs reflected in the communities and people I grew up in, but also not represented in media or popular culture. I was keenly aware, that even though I was born in the U.S, I was often seen as a foreigner- reinforced by the incessant, “where are you from?”, being mistaken as a foreign exchange student, to being led to the ethnic food aisle in a grocery store because the store associate thought I asked for chopsticks when I asked where the Chapstick was.

Until I was 25, there was a not a Hollywood feature film that featured an all-Asian cast until Crazy Rich Asians came out in 2018 and then The Farewell in 2019. For the first time in my life, I saw Asian-American women as leads, centered in their own stories, not just sidekicks or tokens of representations that just propped up the more important White lead. I saw people that looked like me & my family and the complex experience of being not just Asian but Asian-American reflected on the big screen. It was the first time in my life that I felt that my experience really mattered. Kimberly Yam, the editor of Asian Voices at HuffPost summed up the impact pretty perfectly in this series of tweets

While the Asian-American experience is not a monolith and these two films are certainly not a perfect representation, I do think they start to prod at a broader meaning of the American experience and challenges some of our societal biases.  I think key to anti-racist work is recognizing our own implicit biases, and how we can be limited by our own perspectives, life experience and start to build a broader worldview outside of that.   Maybe it starts with watching these movies, but leads to researching and raising more awareness about the recent rise of anti-Asian American hate crimes and harassment, I hope you find these movies as impactful as I did.”

-Victoria Fok

We understand that people may have done some exploring of their own since the murder of George Floyd and this resource list is far from exhaustive. If you want to share a great resource with the Tangletown community, feel free to send it to info@tangletown.org for inclusion in future updates.

Mapping Prejudice Virtual Workshop hosted January 13, 2021 Recording Available

Structural barriers stopped many people who were not white from buying property and building wealth for most of the last century. In Minneapolis, these restrictions served as powerful obstacles for people of color seeking safe and affordable housing. They also limited access to community resources like parks and schools. Racial covenants dovetailed with redlining and predatory lending practices to depress homeownership rates for African Americans. Contemporary white residents of Minneapolis like to think their city never had formal segregation. But racial covenants did the work of Jim Crow in northern cities like Minneapolis. Mapping Prejudice is an initiative created to shed new light on these historic practices in the Twin Cities. We cannot address the inequities of the present without an understanding of the past.

You can view our conversation with Director of Mapping Prejudice and Tangletown resident Kirsten Delegard as she narrates this history and describes the innovative methodologies used in Mapping Prejudice’s work on our Facebook page here. Together we explored the question of next steps to address the damage wrought by these policies.