The Color of Law
: Please join us for an important book talk in DC on Thursday, June 8th - the Economic Policy Institute and PRRAC present Richard Rothstein as he discusses his new book, The Color of Law: A Forgotten History of How Our Government Segregated America. Ted Shaw of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Law and Rep. Gwen Moore (D-Wis.) will joint Rothstein to discuss the history of state-sponsored residential segregation and its enduring effects. More information and RSVP here. (and see Rachel Cohen's review in Slate here)
Strong demand for housing mobility in St. Louis:
Since the new "Mobility Connection" program launched two months ago (offering services to Housing Choice Voucher families in the St. Louis city and county housing authorities) interest has been very high. Out of the 1012 families informed of the program, more than 60% were interested in participating and moving to a low poverty, higher opportunity area (in the St. Louis area today, 40% of the 13,000 families with vouchers live in high-poverty neighborhoods where more than 30% of the residents live in poverty). Mobility Connection is administered by Ascend STL, Inc, and is receiving technical assistance through the Mobility Works initiative.
City of Miami v. Wells Fargo:
The Supreme Court issued its decision in Wells Fargo and Bank of America v. City of Miami on May 1, preserving the Fair Housing Act's broad doctrine of standing in holding that the city was in the "zone of interests" protected by the Act and could bring a suit for the financial damage and segregation caused by the banks' predatory lending. However, the Court rejected the 11th Circuit's determination that the city could adequately show causation by pleading that the harms of the banks' actions were "foreseeable," instead remanding for the lower court to take a narrower view of causation and assess whether there is "proximate cause." What that will mean in this context (and other cases) is unclear, but it is important that the courts' analysis reflect the real-world complexities of structural discrimination. An amicus brief was filed by civil rights groups (including PRRAC) documenting the extensive harms and segregative impact of predatory lending practices.
Threats to federal agency discretion
: PRRAC signed on to a coalition letter opposing the Regulatory Accountability Act, which strikes at the administrative state's capacity for flexible, evidence-based governance in the public interest. As the letter explains, the RAA would laden the process for issuing regulations and guidance with extensive burdens and expenses, and raise new analytical hurdles that favor a cost-cutting agenda and well-resourced advocacy by industry groups. This would function as a bureaucratic choke-hold on agencies seeking to fulfill their legislative mandates to protect civil rights and the interests of the public at large. The bill would also strip away the judicial deference granted to agencies' expert interpretations of their own regulations. We are urging our partners to speak out against this legislation as well. The letter is here and an analysis by The Center for Progressive Reform available here.
Other resources and upcoming events
More research on racial integration and health:
The latest evidence on health impacts of moving from segregated to integrated communities is from a journal of the American Medical Association - JAMA Internal Medicine. The NIH funded article, Association of Changes in Neighborhood-Level Racial Residential Segregation With Changes in Blood Pressure Among Black Adults found that living in racially segregated neighborhoods is associated with a rise in the blood pressure of black adults, while moving away from segregated areas is associated with a decrease significant enough to lead to reductions in heart attacks and strokes. This research adds to past research findings from the MTO demonstration on improvements in obesity, diabetes, and mental health (and pending research on the impacts of MTO type moves on asthma prevalence).
Implicit bias in housing
: Continuing its series of publications on implicit bias, the Kirwan Institute has published a report titled Challenging Race as Risk, exploring the different ways in which implicit bias affects housing and credit markets.
Conference on student assignment policies
: The Penn State Center for Education and Civil Rights is hosting a June 1 training conference in DC to support districts and charter schools in using student assignment to further racial and socioeconomic diversity (PRRAC and the National Coalition on School Diversity are co-sponsors). Registration is free, and the event will be held at the Georgetown Law Center in Washington, DC (2 blocks from Union Station). For more information and a link to
register, click here
Save the date
for the National Coalition on School Diversity's biannual conference - October 19-20 in New York City.
p.s. please donate to PRRAC