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I recently sent the draft of my essay Ending Racism Poverty and Violence in Milwaukee to the Mayor of Milwaukee and the County Executive Milwaukee County. After listing how Milwaukee makes the Top Ten Worst Cities List I thought I would write these specific suggestions of how to reduce racism, poverty and violence in Milwaukee. Normally the Mayor or County Executive ignore my suggestions but since they are both up for reelection I got responses.
The County Executive responded with an email from a constituent services representative: She said: “Thank you for taking the time to contact the County Executive office with your comments and concerns regarding Milwaukee County.” She said how my “email was comprehensive and thought provoking.” However she added: “We hope you understand that we are not in a position to offer you immediate or direct feedback on your comprehensive ideas.” Another “Thank You But”.
A ‘customer services” from the Mayor’s office called me on the phone. He thanked me for my thoughts and suggestions and how important they were. I starting to tell him that I sent the essays of specific suggestions to find out and what was the Mayor going to do or not do about them. However, I remembered from previous contacts from the Mayor’s office they are not in a position to discuss issues but are just calling to appease me. Another “Thank You But”.
There is a lot of talk about how Milwaukee is such a segregated city with increasing poverty in minority neighborhoods with high unemployment, high incarceration rates and substandard housing. These neighborhoods are predominately black or Hispanic neighborhoods yet the Mayor or County Executive do not call it racism and do little besides talk.
I love Milwaukee, home since birth 73 years ago. The violence, racism and poverty in particular segregated neighborhoods make me sad and mad. I am tired of talk and reading and writing about it but know alone I cannot change it or even get the Mayor, County Executives and political officials doing something about it. But I must try and work together with others who understand the concern.
Today is the extra day of Leap Year. Maybe before the next leap year, four years from now, people in Milwaukee can make the leap between talking about poverty, violence and racism to actin, doing something about it.
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