Meet Nichole Nelson, the new Senior Policy Advisor for NCRC. Nichole will be an important member of the policy team as she engages in advocacy to advance economic and racial justice.
Nichole comes to NCRC from the New Jersey Institute for Social Justice where she was a Mellon/ACLS Public Fellow and Policy Analyst. Nichole also earned her Ph.D. in American History from Yale University in 2020, where her dissertation examined how white supremacy diluted the Fair Housing Movement.
To help get to know Nichole a little better, we asked her a few questions.
What drew you to NCRC?
I was drawn to NCRC because of its commitment to reinvesting in communities of color by eliminating discriminatory barriers to housing, lending and business, and providing these communities with wealth-building opportunities. NCRC’s mission also aligns with my personal view of fair housing, which is to focus both on eliminating housing discrimination and on encouraging reinvestment in communities of color.
I’m thrilled that, at NCRC, I have the opportunity to work on policies that help encourage reinvestment in Black communities.
What are you most proud of in your career?
I’m most proud of my work on New Jersey’s Fair Appraisals Act (S777/A1519). This legislation would make appraisers who engage in discriminatory home appraisals subject to fines or having their licenses suspended or revoked.
While working as a Mellon/ACLS Public Fellow and Policy Analyst at the New Jersey Institute for Social Justice, I provided key research for and made significant amendments to this legislation and helped it pass the New Jersey State Senate’s Committee on Community and Urban Affairs and the New Jersey Assembly’s Regulated Professions Committee.
I’m hopeful that it will pass the New Jersey State Senate and Assembly and that New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy signs it into law. New Jerseyans specifically, and all Americans more broadly, deserve to benefit from the benefits of homeownership equally.
What are you reading / watching / listening to lately?
I’m finishing up some reading for a personal project so I would love to acknowledge some of the scholars’ work that I most recently read for that project: Amanda Boston, “Manufacturing Distress: Race, Redevelopment, and the EB-5 Program in Central Brooklyn;” Walter Greason, Suburban Erasure: How the Suburbs Ended the Civil Rights Movement in New Jersey; and Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor, Race for Profit: How Banks and the Real Estate Industry Undermine Black Homeownership.
I also have a few books on my reading list that I hope to read soon including Will by Will Smith and Mark Manson, Furthering Fair Housing: Prospects for Racial Justice in America’s Neighborhoods, edited by Justin P. Steil, Nicholas F. Kelly, Lawrence J. Vale, and Maia S. Woluchem, and Keisha Blain’s Until I Am Free: Fannie Lou Hamer’s Enduring Message to America. I look forward to reading work from my longtime friend and colleague Anthony Pratcher II when it is published.
I really enjoyed watching The Sandman on Netflix. I’m excited that they have been renewed for a second season. I also enjoyed the final season of Ozark on Netflix. I’ve also been watching Abbot Elementary, You, The Masked Singer, Black Mirror, Chopped, American Crime Story, Run the World, and Godfather of Harlem. I loved the final season of This Is Us (it had its finale in May 2022) and I’m not sure what my TV schedule will be like without it. I’m also looking forward to the final season of Snowfall when it airs in several weeks.
My taste in music is very eclectic, and it includes a lot of different genres including Pop, R&B, Rap, Country, and Rock, but I feel the most at home in the genres of R&B, Pop, and Rap.
Recently, I’ve been listening to just about everything from the Original Broadway Cast recordings of Hadestown and Wicked to artists like Jazmine Sullivan, Toni Braxton, Mariah Carey, Ro James, Andra Day, Adele, Sam Smith, Usher, Janelle Monàe, and John Legend.
What’s your favorite nonwork activity?
Can I cheat and have more than one?
My top 5 favorite nonwork activities are:
- Playing the violin (I’ve been playing the violin since I was 8 years old)
- Listening to and discussing music
- Trying new bars and restaurants
- Seeing plays and musicals
What’s something unique about you?
One minute, I can talk about politics, public policy, American History, and fair housing but then a few minutes later, I can talk about celebrity gossip and entertainment news. I would like to particularly thank my paternal grandmother for getting me interested in entertainment news through watching shows like Extra and Access Hollywood with her growing up.