Don’t Miss “Shame of Chicago, Shame of a Nation” Docuseries Starting April 18th

On Thursday, April 11, we hosted an exclusive screening of the new docuseries “Shame of Chicago, Shame of A Nation” followed by a panel discussion with the docuseries’ producer Chris L. Jenkins; creator, writer, director and producer Bruce Orenstein; and mental health clinician & CEO of the Collective Academy Emily Drake.

Seated Left to Right: Michelle Mills Clement, Emily Drake, Chris L. Jenkins, Bruce Orenstein.

About the DocuSeries

“Shame of Chicago, Shame of the Nation” is a four-part documentary series that lays bare the story of how Chicago devised the nation’s most sweeping system of racially segregated housing and how it diminished the lives of generations of Black families, creating the vast racial wealth gap that persists to this day.

Told by the people who experienced it, the journalists who documented it and the scholars who’ve studied it, this series unpacks a pivotal part of American history.

Mark your calendar to watch the LIVE 1-hour TV broadcast of “Shame of Chicago, Shame of the Nation” on April 18th at 9pm CST/10pm EST. The following three episodes will air on April 25th, May 2nd and May 9th.

If you’re in Chicago, you can watch the series LIVE on WTTW Chicago Channel 11 and the VonTv app, or you can stream it online on WTTW Chicago and VonTv. If you don’t live in the Chicago area, you can still watch the series LIVE on VonTv and stream it on demand via WTTW Chicago or the PBS app starting the afternoon of the premiere day.

Takeaways from the Panel

This insightful docuseries led many Chicago REALTORS® in the crowd to wonder, “What can we do to balance the scales?” Although, as Bruce pointed out, it’s hard to undo over 100 years of history, both Bruce and Chris hope that this docuseries will be used for educational purposes for both REALTORS® and the public. We can start by spreading the word about the documentary.

From there, we need to confront and accept the truth of these actions. Do your research to be literate on how we’ve gotten to where we are so we can share that history with others. Then try to build a constituency for change. While it will take time to make change, educating ourselves and those around us is a great first step.

The docuseries evokes powerful emotions, and as the name suggests, shame for many viewers. How can we grapple with and process shame? Emily acknowledged that creating space for these emotions is important. When we learn about history and acknowledge past wrongs, we will feel some type of way about what happened. Emotions are what evoke us to take action and be a part of future change.

The panel ended the conversation with a note of hope. Orenstein shared, “There are two Chicagos. The Chicago that set up this infrastructure, and then this other Chicago- the one of people who believe we are a lot better than this.”

Panel moderator and Chicago Association of REALTORS® CEO Michelle Mills Clement referenced a passage in “Caste: The Origins of Our Discontents” by Isabel Wilkerson:

Not one of us was here when this house was built. Our immediate ancestors may have had nothing to do with it, but here we are, the current occupants of a property with stress cracks and bowed walls and fissures built into the foundation. We are the heirs to whatever is right or wrong with it. We did not erect the uneven pillars or joists, but they are ours to deal with now. And any further deterioration is, in fact, on our hands. 

Quote from Chapter 2: An Old House and an Infrared Light; “Caste: The Origins of Our Discontents” by Isabel Wilkerson

WHy We Sponsored The Series

We are a proud sponsor of the “Shame of Chicago, Shame of A Nation” docuseries. This important docuseries details our industry’s role in the history of housing discrimination. Only through education and understanding of the past can we continue to pave a way forward and demonstrate our commitment to being a part of the solution to reverse the effects of systemic, inequitable housing practices that still exist today.

The Chicago Association of REALTORS® is dedicated to the practice of equal opportunity and fair housing. Find education and resources, and learn more about what we have done and are currently doing on this important topic, at