In a letter to Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett, a majority of the Milwaukee Common Council are requesting full funding for the city’s Office of African-American Affairs. From my email in box to your eyes:
Council members urge full funding for Office of African-American Affairs in 2021 budget
In a letter sent today to Mayor Tom Barrett, Alderman Khalif J. Rainey, Alderwoman Milele A. Coggs, Alderwoman Nikiya Dodd, Alderwoman Chantia Lewis, Alderman Ashanti Hamilton, Alderman Russell W. Stamper, II, Alderman Cavalier Johnson, Alderwoman Marina Dimitrijevic, Alderman Nik Kovac, Alderman Robert J. Bauman, Alderman José G. Pérez and Alderwoman JoCasta Zamarripa urge full funding for the Office of African-American Affairs (OAAA) in the mayor’s proposed 2021 executive budget for the City of Milwaukee.
With thousands of African American residents of Milwaukee negatively impacted by the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic and languishing under decades of segregation, discrimination and structural racism, the time has come to open fully the OAAA to provide resources to the community.
The letter states, in part: “It’s been nearly four years since Alderman Khalif J. Rainey stood next to you, Alderman Russell Stamper, II, Alderman Ashanti Hamilton, and Alderwoman Chantia Lewis and tried to explain to this City just how deep the hurt is for so many. Alderman Rainey talked about generational racism and the substructure of inequality that has locked too many outside, looking in at the prosperity and opportunity others enjoy. He talked about a dangerous mix of despair, anger, and fear that too many were willing to ignore until it became inconvenient. And he asked you and everyone that would listen to collaborate on real, long-term change.”
It continues, in part: “From a threadbare beginning, this agency (OAAA) has begun to flourish into something that could be a promise of something better for those it serves. It is a library featuring African-American authors, a social service agency connecting people to job training and other forms of assistance, and a community center for those that want to organize around any number of causes. It will never, however, become these things if it is expected to hire people and pay them in assurances or buy needed resources with good intentions.”
“We urge you to put paid to your promises. Commit to full funding for the Office of African-American Affairs.”
More movement in the right direction…but my question…can’t the Common Council fully fund the OOAAA when they work on the budget this fall? Given the climate in the nation, I don’t imagine the mayor would veto the item. OTOH: this is another sign of positive forward progress in the city.
And of course my next item of business is who is missing in action? That would be Ald. Scott Spiker, Ald. Micael Murphy, and Ald. Mark Borkowski.