by Harry Hawkins

November 9, 2016. A day marked with emotions. Some reveled in their candidate’s victory. Others mourned the losses accrued the night before. People tweeted, made posts on Facebook, conversed over coffee and made memes to share online. In Madison, there were some who saw the election of 2016 as a blow to the push to end racial disparity. America elected a man who was unapologetic in his demeaning of women and minorities. While his supporters heard a hope for change in his words, others heard in his rhetoric, the echoes of hidden division surfacing in our country once more.

A group decided that tweets and blog post were not enough. Responding to the call from Justified Anger, leaders and Directors gathered for the Education Focus Area Workgroup, on an unusually warm November evening in the house of activist Pastor Alex Gee, Jr to discuss a practical way forward. People gathering to commiserate issues sounds familiar. What makes this gathering different? It was the attitude.

The topic for the meeting focused on education, and how to eliminate the achievement gap. The beauty of this session were the attendees. Like-minded people from programs and organizations all over Madison, delegates or executives elected to participate in this collaboration. Two things became apparent right away. Building relationships with the community remain central to success, and that the key to real change would be collaboration.

This was not a collection of disgruntled voters aiming to pick a new President. They aimed for goals ten years in the future.

This was not a few minorities gathered to complain. Whites, African American, and Latinos were all present to add their voice to the mix.

This was not a brainstorming session to cook up another program. No, they decided to work together, true collaboration, which included the community.

This wasn’t a flash in the pan emotional pity fest. These professionals gathered together to lend their expertise and organizational strength to the cause of helping the community.

In a time where families worry about their future and children are crying at school about the election results, there are those who are prepared to show the city that injustice affects us all.  These people saw the election as a galvanizing force, a call to action. If this was representative of the state of our great country, they couldn’t sit silent any longer.

Many expect organizations that offer programs to immediately work out a solution, particularly when the issue is something as important as education. Justified Anger, however, has stayed true to their process of transforming the community through relationships and collaboration. To create real solutions, ones that are sustainable and lasting, you need all of the groups and organizations that focus on Education to work together. Creating a process for high-level cooperation, shared vision, and inclusion, are all part of the expertise that Justified Anger brings to the table.

If you have the same heart beating in your chest, be bold enough to take a stand with us. As T. A. Webb said, “A burden shared is a burden halved.”  Below is a list of ways you can help end the effect of racial disparities in Madison.

  • Vote on April 4th for the State Superintendent of Public Instruction and local School Board positions
  • Share this series on your social media
  • Have a conversation with a friend or colleague
  • Donate to Justified Anger to assist in making their impact a sustainable one