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What is a discriminatory covenant?
A covenant imposes a restriction on the use of land. Discriminatory covenants were established in Bloomington between 1923 – 1951. These covenants were used by real estate developers and others to prevent Black, Indigenous and People of Color from buying or occupying property. Governments and developers deliberately used discriminatory covenants to create segregated communities and build wealth for the white community at the expense of the Black community and other people of color. Discriminatory covenants are not legally enforceable under current laws. Most property owners are likely unaware of their existence.
Last June, the Bloomington City Council passed a resolution condemning the use of discriminatory covenants and encouraged property owners to formally discharge them. The City of Bloomington is a member of the Just Deeds Coalition, which works with volunteer lawyers to provide free services to property owners interested in discharging these discriminatory covenants from their properties.
There are 500 properties in Bloomington have real estate deeds that include discriminatory covenants. You can look up your property on the City’s website at blm.mn/justdeeds. About 50 property owners have already begun the process of formally removing the discriminatory covenants from their properties. City properties will go through the process of discharging their discriminatory covenants.
If you are interested in sharing your story, helping plan education and outreach efforts, or hosting an event in your neighborhood, contact justdeeds@BloomingtonMN.gov. Together we can acknowledge this and other forms of discrimination, discharge these covenants and build more inclusive communities.