Exclusionary Deeds Changed in Woodside Neighborhood

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Buried deep in the affluent neighborhood of Ladera in Woodside are small printed deeds to homes with a stunning guideline that reads in part, "No lots in said tract shall, nor any part thereof, or any estate or interest therein be, at any time occupied or used by any person or persons other than those of the Caucasian or white race.

It is a race restriction amended into Ladera's 1950 declaration involving property rules. Laws have passed since then making such restrictions illegal. But the language still exists in some documents.

"I just got this sinking feeling," resident Leslie Wambach said. "I was very disturbed."

People who live in Ladera took matters into their own hands by gathering signatures from two-thirds of all property owners to change it.

As of Wednesday, the neighborhood's active home deeds no longer have the race restriction. Instead, the deeds now include "The Ladera Community supports diversity, equity and inclusion."

"It's language that's predominantly against Black Americans and Asian Americans," said Margaretta Wan-Ling Lin, who teaches about racial, justice and healing at the University of California, Berkeley.

Lin adds the Ladera neighborhood's case is not isolated -- racial covenants are still found all over the country.

"I don't think it's enough to just scrub away the language on grand deeds," Lin said. "I think we should also look at the possibility of reparations."

Whatever is needed, the Ladera community feels like they have done the right thing.

"Is this going to change the world? No," Wambach said. "But I think it's a step in the right direction."

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