News

New York Times bestselling author Richard Rothstein and Leah Rothstein to speak in Lexington on October 24

September 26, 2023

Rothsteins will discuss how we can take actionable steps towards housing justice during keynote and moderated conversation with Renee Shaw

Blue Grass Community Foundation, University of Kentucky, Lexington Public Library and our community partners present The Color of Law and Just Action: An Evening with the Authors at the University of Kentucky Gatton Student Center Worsham Cinema on Tuesday, Oct. 24.

In his best-selling book The Color of Law: A Forgotten History of How Our Government Segregated America, economist Richard Rothstein debunked the myth that Black and White Americans live separately by choice, making the argument that federal, state and local government policies and practices gave rise to reinforced neighborhood segregation. But The Color of Law did not provide solutions for how we can begin to undo segregation’s lasting damage. Richard Rothstein teamed with housing policy expert Leah Rothstein to write Just Action: How to Challenge Segregation Enacted Under the Color of Law, a blueprint for concerned advocates and community leaders that offers solutions to the problems outlined in The Color of Law.

On October 24, Leah Rothstein will explore these themes, and more, in a keynote address, followed by a conversation with Richard Rothstein (via satellite) and Renee Shaw, KET’s director of public affairs. Uniting Voices Lexington will kick off the evening with a special performance.

“For more than three decades, racial discrimination in real estate and banking was the rule of the date. We are honored to host this incredibly courageous conversation at the University of Kentucky. The power of partnerships has deepened our community’s understanding of our country’s past systematic policies and practices that has created the immense wealth gap created by redlining. It is our hope that this robust community discussion presses us forward with a common purpose of understanding these root causes of racial barriers, gives us a shared intention toward solution-finding for economic opportunity for all and creates in all of us a call-to-action to advance Kentucky.” 

Katrice A. Albert, PhD, University of Kentucky vice president for institutional diversity

Everyone in the community is invited to join the conversation by reading The Color of Law as part of the Lexington Public Library’s Community Reads initiative, visiting the Undesign the Redline exhibit at the Central Library and registering for a free ticket to The Color of Law and Just Action: An Evening with the Authors on October 24.

These efforts are guided by a collaboration that includes the Lexington Public Library, University of Kentucky, BGCF365, Bluegrass REALTORS Association, CivicLex, Fayette County Bar Association, the Fayette County Clerk’s Office, Lexington Black Prosperity Initiative at BGCF, Lexington Herald-Leader, Lexington Racial Justice & Equality Commission, National Association of Real Estate Brokers – Lexington Chapter, RADIOLEX, United Way of the Bluegrass, University of Kentucky Office for Institutional Diversity, University of Kentucky J. David Rosenberg College of Law, Urban League of Lexington-Fayette County, WUKY and Blue Grass Community Foundation.

The Community Foundation is coordinating the collaborative as part of its mission to create more generous, vibrant and equitable communities across the Bluegrass and Appalachia Kentucky.

“Inviting the Rothsteins to Lexington is part of the Community Foundation’s ongoing commitment to creating more vibrant, healthy communities where everyone can thrive. The 24th will be a dynamic opportunity where we can come together to learn how we can move forward from a long history of residential segregation and racial division.”

Lisa Adkins, president/CEO of Blue Grass Community Foundation

About the Event

The Color of Law and Just Action: An Evening with the Authors
Tuesday, Oct. 24, 2023
6:30-8:30pm
University of Kentucky Gatton Student Center Worsham Cinema

  • Doors open at 6pm
  • Program begins at 6:30pm
  • Leah Rothstein’s keynote begins at 7pm
  • Moderated conversation between Leah Rothstein, Richard Rothstein and Renee Shaw begins at 7:45pm

This event is free and open to all, but registration is required. Secure a ticket at www.bgcf.org/events.

About the Authors

Leah Rothstein is co-author, with Richard Rothstein, of Just Action, a sequel to The Color of Law. While in The Color of Law, Mr. Rothstein described how government policy created residential segregation, Just Action will describe how local community groups can begin to redress the wrongs of segregation. Leah has worked on public policy and community change, from the grassroots to the halls of government. She has led the Alameda and San Francisco probation departments’ research on reforming community corrections policy and practice to be focused on rehabilitation, not punishment. She has been a consultant to nonprofit housing developers, cities and counties, redevelopment agencies, and private firms on community development and affordable housing policy, practice, and finance. Her policy work is informed by her years as a labor and community organizer, working on issues such as housing, environmental justice, workplace safety, and youth leadership.

Richard Rothstein is a Distinguished Fellow of the Economic Policy Institute and a Senior Fellow (emeritus) at the Thurgood Marshall Institute of the NAACP Legal Defense Fund. He is the author of The Color of Law: A Forgotten History of How Our Government Segregated America, which recovers a forgotten history of how federal, state, and local policy explicitly segregated metropolitan areas nationwide, creating racially homogenous neighborhoods in patterns that violate the Constitution and require remediation. He is also the author of many other articles and books on race and education, which can be found on his web page at the Economic Policy Institute: www.epi.org/people/richard-rothstein/. Previous influential books include Class and Schools: Using Social, Economic and Educational Reform to Close the Black–White Achievement Gap and Grading Education: Getting Accountability Right.