A Rochester assistant city attorney has been honored for her work to help remove discriminatory and restrictive covenants from local property titles.

Tran Nguyen was selected as a Minnesota Lawyer Diversity & Inclusion 2021 honoree for her work with the Just Deeds Project.

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"This Minnesota Lawyer Diversity & Inclusion award is a testament to the city’s commitment to creating a compassionate and inclusive community,” City Attorney Michael Spindler-Krage said in a statement. “We are so thankful for Ms. Nguyen’s leadership and hard work on this project, coordinating and collaborating with so many community partners and volunteers. This is truly a community effort, sifting through some painful truths about our past and reflecting on how this history shapes our community today.”

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The Rochester City Council approved a partnership with Just Deeds in March, and residents have been working to identify where property title covenants once restricted ownership based on people’s race or religious beliefs.

While the covenants were ruled unenforceable in 1948 and prohibited in Minnesota in 1952, many still exist in writing and Just Deeds seeks to identify them and add language to the titles that denounce the past restrictions.

Rochester residents who want to know if their property has restrictive covenants can go to https://www.rochestermn.gov/government/departments/just-deeds to learn more and complete a form for inquiry.

The city project is seeking volunteer attorneys, as well as real estate and title professionals to review property titles and assist property owners with removing the covenants.

Volunteer opportunities are available on the website.