Joint Statement From the Milwaukee Common Council on City Responses to Protests

This arrived in my email in box this afternoon and is one of the first efforts by the Milwaukee Common Council to respond to the protests in Milwaukee following the death of George Floyd.

Community deserves to hear from department leaders on plans for change

Joint statement from Alderwoman Milele A. Coggs, Alderman Russell W. Stamper, II, Alderman Khalif J. Rainey, Alderwoman Chantia Lewis, Alderman Ashanti Hamilton, Alderwoman Nikiya Dodd, Alderman Robert J. Bauman, Alderman Cavalier Johnson, Alderman Nik Kovac, Alderwoman Marina Dimitrijevic, Alderman Mark Borkowski, Alderman José G. Pérez, and Alderwoman JoCasta Zamarripa

The unrest we see across the globe has been sparked by the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis, an African-American man who died as a white officer had his knee on Mr. Floyd’s neck. We must also acknowledge this unrest is a product of the many deaths of black people at the hands of those charged with the responsibility to protect and serve over many years.

As we have witnessed the past couple of weeks the people here in Milwaukee have taken to the streets to make sure their voices are heard regarding the need for change. We know that this is about much more than police reform – it is about the quality of life of black people in our city.

It is not lost on any of us that Milwaukee sits atop lists that no city wants to be on, including being among the worst places for African-Americans to raise children, having the highest incarceration rates of black men, high levels of black infant mortality, poverty, and a host of other health and other socio-economic disparities.

As diverse voices join the call for change, we recognize just how transformative these times are. As policy makers and members of a body that has the ability to help select individuals that will lead this city into the future, it is incumbent upon us to take the time necessary to ensure, for as much as is possible, that the appointments for commissioners and directors made by the Mayor have clearly articulated plans and a commitment to address many of the concerns raised by the community at this time.

Today’s unanimous Council vote ensures that nominees for commissioners, directors and other cabinet level appointees of the DPW, DNS, DCD, Water Works, Election Commission, Health Department, BOZA, DOA, DER and FPC will have the opportunity to further discuss their specific plans, through their department and leadership, to help address the needs and priorities of the community so that we can move this city forward in a direction of which we all can be proud.

When all the protesting and unrest is over we know Milwaukee can NOT return to normal. We must be a better Milwaukee.

I am not going to comment on this other than to say, this includes 13 out of the 15 alderpersons…those missing are Alderman Michael Murphy and once again Alderman Scott Spiker. Which is a little confusing because the text of the statement says by unanimous vote. I have contacted the city to see why they are missing. I will update this when I find out.

UPDATE June 17, 2020: Alds. Murphy and Spiker were part of the 15-0 vote at council, but chose not to participate in the statement. I’m guessing they didn’t prefer Ald. Coggs’ drafted language around the issue, for whatever reason. Hope this helps. Bill Arnold (editor’s note: Mr. Arnold is the Public Information Manager for the Milwaukee Common Council)


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