Club 21 started as a vision of then- president Betsey Martens to explore critical issues in housing policy related to race and equity. As housers, we serve the most vulnerable populations in each of our communities. Club 21 provides an opportunity to use a different lens to learn about issues and barriers faced by our customers. Club 21 fosters dialogue and will push you out of your comfort zone to talk about important issues.
Each year, Club 21 selects one book for the membership to read and discuss at national, regional and state conferences. Our book selection for 2017 is White Like Me by Tim Wise. White Like Me is a personal examination of the way in which racial privilege shapes the daily lives of white Americans in every realm: employment, education, housing, criminal justice, and elsewhere.
Club 21 has also screened three documentaries, which are listed below.
If we truly want to live in an equal and beautifully diverse world, we must work to be a catalyst for change. Club 21 will help you do that.
Brick by Brick: A Civil Rights Story - Producer/Director, Bill Kavanagh
Brick by Brick: A Civil Rights Story is an award-winning feature documentary film about housing segregation in contemporary America. The film focuses on Yonkers, New York, and a landmark federal anti-discrimination lawsuit, U.S. v. Yonkers. The film depicts three families who broke barriers in their hometown. A screening of the film, followed by a discussion was held with the film’s Producer and Director, William Kavanaugh during the NAHRO 2014 Summer Confrence.
Inocente - Directors/Producers, Sean Fine and Andrea Nix Fine
This Academy Award-winning documentary was previewed and discussed at NAHRO's 2013 Summer Conference. INOCENTE is both a timeless story about the transformative power of art and a timely snapshot of the new face of homelesness in America, children. Neither sentimental nor sensational, Inocente will immerse you in the very real, day-to-day existence of a young girl whose challenges are staggering. But the hope in Inocente's story proves that the hand she has been dealt does not define her, her dreams do.
The Pruitt-Igoe Myth: An Urban History - Director, Chad Freidrichs
Independent filmmaker and Director, Chad Freidrichs was a featured speaker at NAHRO's 2012 Summer Conference. The historical nature of this film allowed Chad to spend hours digging through archives and finding ways to transfer old 16mm films to experiences he hopes he can apply to future films. The film also gave Chad the opportunity to meet wonderful scholars and, of course, the kind and insightful former residents of the Pruitt-Igoe housing complex, without whom this film could not have been made. After so much time devoted to researching, writing, shooting, editing, and mixing, Chad is excited to share this film with audiences.
OTHER BOOKS LISTED:
"Rebuilding a Dream" reveals why our nation is at a crossroads and must decide whether to continue the efforts begun 50 years ago, in the wake of rioting in dozens of cities, to provide affordable housing, revitalize cities and create equal opportunity. This hard-hitting book digs into today's housing affordability crisis and the resurgence of urban decline to make a bold call for action for renewed efforts to reduce homelessness and inequality, and manage the housing cost explosion.
"Rebuilding a Dream" is well-researched for professionals but written in a way that's very accessible to concerned citizens. It warns us about why the shortage of affordable housing will get worse, how homeownership is increasingly out of reach for many Americans, and what we can do about these problems. “Rebuilding a Dream” picks up where books on the foreclosure crisis left off, and puts the housing crisis in proper perspective. It shows that, even as damage is still being done by the last housing crisis, neglect and apathy at all levels of government has already sown the seeds of the next one.
Finally, it tells the success stories of current housing and urban development programs, and why we must reinvest in proven programs and nurture innovation. It describes the many ways that Americans are finding innovative solutions and new ways to create equitable, sustainable communities for people of all incomes and races – what the author calls The New American Dream.
A 20% discount is offered to NAHRO members. - Promo Code: NAHRO
Disintegration: The Splintering of Black America by Eugene Robinson
There was a time when there were agreed-upon 'black leaders,' when there was a clear 'black agenda,' when we could talkover decades of desegregation, affirmative action, and immigration, the concept of Black America has shattered. Instead of one confidently about 'the state of black America'—but not anymore.” —from Disintegration
The African American population in the United States has always been seen as a single entity: a “Black America” with unified interests and needs. In his groundbreaking book, Disintegration, Pulitzer-Prize winning columnist Eugene Robinson argues that black America, now there are four…
So Rich, So Poor: Why It’s So Hard to End Poverty in America by Peter Edelman
Income disparities in our wealthy nation are now wider than at any point since the Great Depression. The structure of today’s economy has stultified wage growth for half of America’s workers—with even worse results at the bottom and for people of color—while bestowing billions on those at the top.
In this “accessible and inspiring analysis” (Angela Glover Blackwell), lifelong anti–poverty advocate Peter Edelman assesses how the United States can have such an outsized number of unemployed and working poor despite important policy gains. He delves into what is happening to the people behind the statistics and takes a particular look at young people of color for whom the possibility of productive lives is too often lost on the way to adulthood. In a timely new introduction, Edelman discusses the significance of Obama’s reelection—including the rediscovery of the word “poverty”—as well as the continuing attack on the poor from the right.
“Engaging and informative” (William Julius Wilson), “powerful and eloquent” (Wade Henderson), “a national treasure composed by a wise man” (George McGovern), and “a great source for summaries of our country’s antipoverty program” (Publishers Weekly), So Rich, So Poor is crucial reading for anyone who wants to understand the most critical American dilemma of the twenty-first century. If the nation’s gross national income—over $14 trillion—were divided evenly across the entire U.S. population, every household could call itself middle class. Yet the income-level disparity in this country is now wider than at any point since the Great Depression. In 2010 the average salary for CEOs on the S&P 500 was over $1 million—climbing to over $11 million when all forms of compensation are accounted for—while the current median household income for African Americans is just over $32,000. How can some be so rich, while others are so poor?
A Chance in the World by Steve Pemberton
From the day he is five-years-old and dropped off at his foster home of the next eleven years, Stephen is mentally and physically tortured. No one in the system can help him. No one can tell him if he has a family. No one can tell him why, with obvious African-American features, he has the last name of Klakowicz. Along the way, a single faint light comes only from a neighbor’s small acts of kindness and caring—and a box of books. From one of those books he learns that he has to fight in any way he can—for victory is in the battle. His victory is to excel in school. Against all odds, the author succeeded. He attended college, graduated, became a successful corporate executive, and married a wonderful woman with whom he established a loving family of his own. Through it, he dug voraciously through records and files and found his history, his birth family—and the ultimate disappointment as some family members embrace him, but others reject him.
Readers won’t be the same after reading this powerful story. They will share in the hurts and despair but also in the triumph against daunting obstacles. They will share this story with their family, with their friends, with their neighbors.
With a new preface and updated chapters, White Like Me is one-part memoir, one-part polemical essay collection. It is a personal examination of the way in which racial privilege shapes the daily lives of white Americans in every realm: employment, education, housing, criminal justice, and elsewhere.
Using stories from his own life, Tim Wise demonstrates the ways in which racism not only burdens people of color, but also benefits, in relative terms, those who are “white like him.” He discusses how racial privilege can harm whites in the long run and make progressive social change less likely. He explores the ways in which whites can challenge their unjust privileges, and explains in clear and convincing language why it is in the best interest of whites themselves to do so. Using anecdotes instead of stale statistics, Wise weaves a narrative that is at once readable and yet scholarly, analytical and yet accessible.
Place, Not Race: A New Vision of Opportunity in America by Sheryll Cashin
Race-based affirmative action had been declining as a factor in university admissions even before the recent spate of related cases arrived at the Supreme Court. Since Ward Connerly kickstarted a state-by-state political mobilization against affirmative action in the mid-1990s, the percentage of four-year public colleges that consider racial or ethnic status in admissions has fallen from 60 percent to 35 percent. Only 45 percent of private colleges still explicitly consider race, with elite schools more likely to do so, although they too have retreated.
For law professor and civil rights activist Sheryll Cashin, this isn’t entirely bad news, because as she argues, affirmative action as currently practiced does little to help disadvantaged people. The truly disadvantaged—black and brown children trapped in high-poverty environs—are not getting the quality schooling they need in part because backlash and wedge politics undermine any possibility for common-sense public policies. Using place instead of race in diversity programming, she writes, will better amend the structural disadvantages endured by many children of color, while enhancing the possibility that we might one day move past the racial resentment that affirmative action engenders.
In Place, Not Race,Cashin reimagines affirmative action and champions place-based policies, arguing that college applicants who have thrived despite exposure to neighborhood or school poverty are deserving of special consideration. Those blessed to have come of age in poverty-free havens are not. Sixty years since the historic decision, we’re undoubtedly far from meeting the promise of Brown v. Board of Education,but Cashin offers a new framework for true inclusion for the millions of children who live separate and unequal lives. Her proposals include making standardized tests optional, replacing merit-based financial aid with need-based financial aid, and recruiting high-achieving students from overlooked places, among other steps that encourage cross-racial alliances and social mobility.
A call for action toward the long overdue promise of equality, Place, Not Race persuasively shows how the social costs of racial preferences actually outweigh any of the marginal benefits when effective race-neutral alternatives are available.
The Warmth of Other Suns: The Epic Story of America's Great Migration by Isabel Wilkerson
From 1915 to 1970, this exodus of almost six million people changed the face of America. Wilkerson compares this epic migration to the migrations of other peoples in history. She interviewed more than a thousand people, and gained access to new data and official records, to write this definitive and vividly dramatic account of how these American journeys unfolded, altering our cities, our country, and ourselves.
With stunning historical detail, Wilkerson tells this story through the lives of three unique individuals: Ida Mae Gladney, who in 1937 left sharecropping and prejudice in Mississippi for Chicago, where she achieved quiet blue-collar success and, in old age, voted for Barack Obama when he ran for an Illinois Senate seat; sharp and quick-tempered George Starling, who in 1945 fled Florida for Harlem, where he endangered his job fighting for civil rights, saw his family fall, and finally found peace in God; and Robert Foster, who left Louisiana in 1953 to pursue a medical career, the personal physician to Ray Charles as part of a glitteringly successful medical career, which allowed him to purchase a grand home where he often threw exuberant parties.
Wilkerson brilliantly captures their first treacherous and exhausting cross-country trips by car and train and their new lives in colonies that grew into ghettos, as well as how they changed these cities with southern food, faith, and culture and improved them with discipline, drive, and hard work. Both a riveting microcosm and a major assessment, The Warmth of Other Suns is a bold, remarkable, and riveting work, a superb account of an “unrecognized immigration” within our own land. Through the breadth of its narrative, the beauty of the writing, the depth of its research, and the fullness of the people and lives portrayed herein, this book is destined to become a classic.
Under the New Jersey State Constitution as interpreted by the State Supreme Court in 1975 and 1983, municipalities are required to use their zoning authority to create realistic opportunities for a fair share of affordable housing for low- and moderate-income households. Mount Laurel was the town at the center of the court decisions. As a result, Mount Laurel has become synonymous with the debate over affordable housing policy designed to create economically integrated communities. What was the impact of the Mount Laurel decision on those most affected by it? What does the case tell us about economic inequality?
Climbing Mount Laurel undertakes a systematic evaluation of the Ethel Lawrence Homes--a housing development produced as a result of the Mount Laurel decision. Douglas Massey and his colleagues assess the consequences for the surrounding neighborhoods and their inhabitants, the township of Mount Laurel, and the residents of the Ethel Lawrence Homes. Their analysis reveals what social scientists call neighborhood effects--the notion that neighborhoods can shape the life trajectories of their inhabitants. Climbing Mount Laurel proves that the building of affordable housing projects is an efficacious, cost-effective approach to integration and improving the lives of the poor, with reasonable cost and no drawbacks for the community at large.
Not in My Neighborhood: How Bigotry Shaped a Great American City by Antero Pietila
Baltimore is the setting for (and typifies) one of the most penetrating examinations of bigotry and residential segregation ever published in the United States. Antero Pietila shows how continued discrimination practices toward African Americans and Jews have shaped the cities in which we now live. Eugenics, racial thinking, and white supremacist attitudes influenced even the federal government's actions toward housing in the 20th century, dooming American cities to ghettoization. This all-American tale is told through the prism of Baltimore, from its early suburbanization in the 1880s to the consequences of "white flight" after World War II, and into the first decade of the twenty-first century.
The events are real, and so are the heroes and villains. Mr. Pietila's engrossing story is an eye-opening journey into city blocks and neighborhoods, shady practices, and ruthless promoters.