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Equity Talks: The Impact of Racial Inequalities in Housing on Communities of Color

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Diversity, Equity and Inclusion |  Environmental Law
Ms. Niya K. Kelly |  Ms. Bernadette Atuahene |  Tonika Johnson |  Mr. Michael Seng
120 Minutes




Across the country, historic and ongoing housing-related segregation, displacement and exclusion have prevented people of color from obtaining and retaining their own homes and accessing safe and affordable housing.  Discriminatory laws, policies and programs have resulted in low property values, decreased wealth, and increased foreclosures and homelessness.  Our panelists will discuss the impact of housing inequities on communities of color, as well as ways to to create more equitable housing opportunities and resources.


This event is co-sponsored by the Chicago-Kent College of Law Offices of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion, Continuing Legal Education, and the Chicago-Kent Environmental Law Society.


Accreditation Status:
Accreditation Status: Approved
Total Credits:
General Credits:
General Credits: 1
Specialty Credits:



Ms. Niya K. Kelly's Profile

Ms. Niya K. Kelly Related seminars and products:

State Legislative Director Chicago Coalition for the Homeless

Loyola University Chicago School of Law

Niya Kelly is the State Legislative Director at the Chicago Coalition for the Homeless. She joined the organization in 2015 as a policy specialist. Her work focuses on the Illinois state budget and youth homelessness and housing insecurity policies.

In her work she has written and advocated several pieces of legislation including: providing new housing opportunities for minors experiencing homelessness; access to Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) for community college students experiencing food insecurity; access to free birth certificates for people experiencing homelessness; an increase to the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) grant for families; and broadening mental health services for minors in need.

Niya works in coalition with state partners on budget related advocacy, CCH’s advocacy helped restore millions to homeless shelters, the homelessness prevention fund and other safety net programs, preventing significant cuts to vital programs in the state budget.

She is currently working on creating a youth homelessness prevention taskforce in the Governor’s office and creating an anti-racist training for people who have experienced homelessness.


JD Loyola University Chicago 2013

BA Loyola University Chicago 2007


Ms. Bernadette Atuahene's Profile

Ms. Bernadette Atuahene Related seminars and products:

Professor of Law

Chicago-Kent College of Law

Professor Atuahene has varied experiences in the field of law and international development. During law school, she worked as a legal consultant for the World Bank and as a human rights investigator for the Center for Economic and Social Rights, where she received Amnesty International's Patrick Stewart Human Rights Award for her work with human rights organizations throughout South America.

After law school, Professor Atuahene was in South Africa as a Fulbright Scholar. She served as a judicial clerk at the Constitutional Court of South Africa, working for Justices Madala and Ngcobo. She then practiced as an associate at Cleary, Gottlieb, Steen & Hamilton in New York, where she focused on sovereign debt and real estate transactions.

Professor Atuahene joined the Chicago-Kent faculty in 2005. She teaches Law, Policy and International Development; Property; Trusts and Estates; and International Business Transactions. In 2007 she was selected to become a Faculty Fellow at the American Bar Foundation (which is a socio-legal think tank based in Chicago), and in 2016 she was promoted to Research Professor.

In 2008 she won the Council on Foreign Relations International Affairs Fellowship and worked with the South African Director General of Land Affairs and his staff. Her most recent book, We Want What's Ours: Learning from South Africa's Land Restitution Program, is based on 150 interviews she conducted of program beneficiaries. She also directed and produced a documentary film about one South African family's struggle to reclaim their land. Professor Atuahene won the Law and Public Affairs Fellowship and was a Visiting Assistant Professor at Princeton University for the 2011–12 academic year. Most recently, she won a National Science Foundation Grant for her new book project about squatters in Detroit.


  • J.D., Yale Law School
  • M.P.A., Harvard University, John F. Kennedy School of Government
  • B.A., University of California, Los Angeles

Tonika Johnson's Profile

Tonika Johnson Related seminars and products:


Resident Association of Greater Englewood (R.A.G.E.) & Englewood Arts Collective

Tonika Johnson is a visual artist and photographer from Chicago’s South Side Englewood neighborhood. In 2010, she helped co-found Resident Association of Greater Englewood (R.A.G.E.) and is the lead co-founder of Englewood Arts Collective established in 2017. Also in 2017, she was featured in Chicago Magazine as a Chicagoan of the Year for her photography of Englewood. Within her artistic practice, Tonika often explores urban segregation and documents the nuance and richness of the black community. Her multi-media project titled "Folded Map" that illustrates Chicago's residential segregation while bringing residents together to have a conversation, was exhibited at Loyola University's Museum of Art in 2018. Since then she has transformed this project into an advocacy and policy-influencing tool that invites audiences to open a dialogue and question how we are all socially impacted by racial and institutional conditions that segregate the city. In 2019, she was named one of Field Foundation’s Leaders for a New Chicago and most recently, she was appointed as a member of the Cultural Advisory Council of the Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events by the Chicago City Council.

Mr. Michael Seng's Profile

Mr. Michael Seng Related seminars and products:

Professor of Law Director, Fair Housing Legal Support Center

UIC John Marshall Law School

Michael Seng is the co-executive director of UIC John Marshall Law School's Fair Housing Legal Support Center & Clinic. He lectures nationally and publishes extensively on fair housing law.

Professor Seng also is the coordinator of UIC John Marshall Law School's Czech law program. He travels annually to the Czech Republic to teach and publishes articles, in English and Czech, in Czech law journals.

Prior to joining the John Marshall faculty, Professor Seng served as a judicial law clerk, was in private practice, and directed the legal services office in Cairo, Illinois. Professor Seng served as a Fulbright professor in Nigeria in 1983-84 and as a visiting professor in the Czech Republic in 1996. He writes on civil rights issues.

Professor Seng joined the faculty in 1976. He teaches Comparative Legal Systems, Constitutional Law, and Federal Courts.

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