Russell StarLack



I received my BA in History from Carleton College in 2020, where I wrote my senior thesis on housing discrimination and Jewish-black relations in the postwar Twin Cities. During my time in college, I collaborated with the University of Minnesota’s Mapping Prejudice project on an award-winning story map, tracking the suburbanization of North Minneapolis’ Jewish community. These experiences, combined with graduating in the midst of a global pandemic and the aftermath of the George Floyd protests, drew my focus to community-based activism and social services relating to issues of affordable housing and racial equity, and I consequently served two Americorps terms of service immediately after graduation. The first was at Neighborworks Home Partners, a community development corporation based in St. Paul, while the second was at Chicago Rehab Network, a citywide coalition of neighborhood and community-based development organizations. Following these positions, I joined Spanish Coalition for Housing, a Chicago-based housing counseling agency, as a grant-writer. During my two years in the affordable housing space, I have learned that support from community-based housing organizations in the form of housing counseling, rent and mortgage assistance, and affordable housing development in communities most at risk of displacement is crucial, and much more supportive programing and community activism needs to be devoted to erase the fundamental inequities in the housing market faced by these communities. I hope to take this experience with me to UWM, where I plan to continue my study of the effects of redlining and other forms of lending discrimination on racialization and community relations. In my free time, I enjoy playing guitar and seeing live music, as well as playing board games and tabletop RPGs with friends.