Though things may have been quiet in the papers we have been hard at work. This has been a season of listening, planning, recruiting and organizing. I sense the community’s impatience at the speed of our progress; however, quick fixes to century-old issues never last. The communities most impacted by the devastating racial disparities are asking us to take our time and do this well. Lives, dreams and legacies are all at stake. We are working toward solutions that will be for the good of the whole community. Your understanding and patience is appreciated.
Four Focus Areas
In addition to Education, Incarceration and Economic Development we have now added Family & Community Wellness as a focus area. The emphasis here will be on empowerment, advocacy, self-sufficiency and leadership development within our African American community.
Teams have been formed to work on developing plans for each focus area. Each team is charged with the task of formulating desired outcomes for our community in their respective areas. This process will be unapologetically thorough, conscientious and responsible as this is a unique grassroots, African American-led opportunity to change our community. These teams are chaired by some of our community’s brightest minds.
- Education: Dr. Gloria Ladson-Billings
- Economic Development: Dr. Jack Daniels, Ray Allen, Annette Miller
- Family & Community Wellness: Bill Greer and Lisa Peyton-Caire
- Incarceration: Jerome Dillard and Pia James
- Facilitator: Darrell Bazzell (UW Vice Chancellor)
Broad Community Participation
Once the initial outcomes are determined for each focus area, ongoing workgroups will be enlisted and diversified. It is imperative that the entire community participate in this process and that our future team members reflect the full spectrum of our community. At that time we will also have a much clearer picture of how to use our incredible pool of volunteers.
I recently presented our progress with representatives from the business community, and they were impressed with the number of people who subscribe to our mailing list and actually read our updates. Thank you for being so impressive and concerned. Your interest matters.
I will keep you posted as we finalize this phase of the process. Thank you for your willingness to help take #OurMadison from #WorstToFirst.
-Rev. Dr. Alex Gee