Across the Geographic Divide

Nearly 5 million people living in Appalachia are Black and Brown, but Appalachians have been reduced to stereotypes of white coal miners in the mainstream media. Attorney Loree Stark breaks down what’s really going on in Appalachia, including how systemic inequity, exploitation of the labor force, disability, housing instability, and predatory lending all intersect in this unique part of the country. Loree then shares how mutual aid groups and others in the community are building coalitions and sharing stories to make change. Guest: Loree Stark (@loreestark), is a Staff Attorney at the Human Rights Defense Center. Prior to joining HRDC, she worked for the American Civil Liberties Union of West Virginia, Mountain State Justice, and the Appalachian Research and Defense Fund of Kentucky.

You Can’t Say Colorblind and Stop

Black families pay higher property taxes than white families each year, and these unfairly high bills are helping to force Black people out of cities. Montgomery Wilson breaks down in great detail how Black homeowners end up paying more than their white counterparts in property taxes and how tax assessments are systematically inaccurate in Black and low income communities. He also shares what cities can do to solve this massive injustice and keep people in their homes. After this interview, you’ll never hear the words property tax assessment the same way again. Guest: Montgomery Wilson is a senior attorney with CLS’s Consumer Housing Unit. His practice focuses largely on municipal tax foreclosure & mortgage foreclosure defense in both state and federal court. He has also worked extensively with local community organizations and the City of Philadelphia to aid Philadelphia homeowners faced with real estate tax lien foreclosures.

This Is How We Can Build Power

Pennsylvania State Senator Nikil Saval breaks down why racism is the bedrock of America’s housing system and how anti-Black attitudes led the federal government to neglect affordable housing for decades. Senator Saval illustrates how movements can build power through coalition-building and “making an ask,” and he explains how initiatives like a Homes Guarantee, Whole-Home Repairs, and eviction record sealing would help address racial inequity in housing. Guests: Nikil Saval (@SenatorSaval) represents Pennsylvania’s first district in the State Senate. Prior to elected office, Senator Saval was an organizer with UNITE HERE and the Bernie Sanders campaign, as well as a journalist for the New York Times, The New Yorker, and n+1.

Locked Out of Wealth

For many Black and Brown homeowners, their dream of homeownership disintegrates into a uniquely American nightmare designed to extract wealth and lock them out of economic mobility. Attorney Rachel Gallegos and Councilmember Katherine Gilmore Richardson join us to discuss racial disparities in homeownership, the bureaucratic saga that unfolds when homeowners pass away, and changes needed to preserve Black and Brown intergenerational wealth. Councilmember Gilmore Richardson also shares her own family’s struggle to untangle their titles and save their family homes. Guests: Rachel Gallegos (@RKG80) is a Senior Staff Attorney in the Homeownership and Consumer Rights Unit at Community Legal Services of Philadelphia. Prior to joining CLS, Ms. Gallegos was a law clerk to the Honorable John T. McNeill, III, in the Camden County Superior Court and the Honorable Annette M. Rizzo (Ret.) in the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas. Katherine Gilmore Richardson (@CouncilwomanKGR) is serving her first term as Councilmember At-Large for the City of Philadelphia. She is the youngest woman ever elected citywide and the youngest African American woman ever elected to the Philadelphia City Council. Councilmember Gilmore Richardson successfully championed legislation to require funeral homes to provide a guide to heirs so they understand their rights and how to keep their family home.

It’s Not a Natural Disaster

America’s housing system is designed to keep Black women locked out. But eviction records don’t tell the whole story. Rasheedah Phillips joins us to discuss the national housing crisis and how systemic racism is embedded in housing policy. She breaks down racial discrimination in rental housing, how eviction records can haunt tenants for life, even if they haven’t actually been evicted, and the opaque nature of tenant screening reports. With extensive local and national expertise, Rasheedah examines how and why Black women most often bear the brunt of the many structural inequities in the rental housing market. To solve this crisis, she calls on advocates to center the leadership of the people who are most impacted and then funnel resources to their efforts. Guest: Rasheedah Phillips (@RPhillipsBQF) is Director of Housing at PolicyLink, a national research and action institute advancing racial and economic equity. Rasheedah is also an interdisciplinary afrofuturist artist and cultural producer who has exhibited and performed work globally.