Even though Mac Weddle didn’t found Northcott Neighborhood House Community Center, after spending his career there and becoming the ‘face’ of the Center, most people don’t know that it was actually founded by a woman named Wilma Hampel.
Weddle caught and embraced the vision that Hampel had for Northcott Neighborhood House, and carried out the seed that she planted more than 50 years ago. Today Northcott Neighborhood House, though most famously recognized as the coordinator of Juneteenth Day, serves more than 10,000 people a year in every capacity from operating Head Start Centers for children to get an early start on education, to offering a Fresh Start program to increase low income family home ownership and provide employment opportunities for the Milwaukee area. Northcott Neighborhood House also provides community Services that provide food, clothing, a computer lab, GED education, and summer activities for families.
One of Weddle’s most proud moments at Northcott Neighborhood House came when he witnessed former Governor Jim Doyle sign a proclamation making Juneteenth Day an official holiday in Milwaukee. Milwaukee is home to one of the largest and longest-running Juneteenth Day celebrations in the country, thanks to the tireless efforts of Weddle and his staff. Juneteenth Day started here in the 1970s and has grown over the years to an all-day festival that attracts thousands of people.
As executive director of the Northcott Neighborhood House, Weddle has been a major sponsor of Milwaukee’s annual Juneteenth Day celebration and worked diligently to get the holiday officially recognized for years. Weddle believed making the day an official holiday in Wisconsin was an effective way to spread information about black history throughout the state. But Weddle also understood it would be a tougher sell for smaller Wisconsin communities without significant black populations.
Thanks to Weddle’s diligence and commitment to Juneteenth Day and to the community, he has left Milwaukee with a legacy that will live on for years—one of the largest Juneteenth Day celebrations in the country.
Barbara Wyatt Sibley
Barbara Wyatt Sibley is a long-time civic and community activist; making her mark in the nonprofit and government sectors. A creative and thoughtful consensus-builder, Sibley currently serves as executive director of the Milwaukee Christian Center.
Sibley has held a number of high profile positions throughout Wisconsin. She worked as a regional manager for Time Warner Cable, and served as president and CEO at the YWCA of Greater Milwaukee. In 2006, former Governor Jim Doyle appointed her to the post of Deputy Secretary of the State of Wisconsin Department of Regulation and Licensing.
Sibley has a degree in education from Alverno College, and she uses her teaching skills, business prowess and keen understanding of coalition building, to serve on the boards of Alverno College, Lt. Governor Barbara Lawton’s Wisconsin Women Equals Prosperity, Mt. Zion Baptist Church, the WMCS 1290 Scholarship Fund and Community Care for the Elderly.
Sibley has received numerous accolades and awards for her tireless service, including the Service/Leadership Award from Alverno College, Volunteer of the Year at the YWCA and Community Leaders of the Girl Scouts of Milwaukee Area, Inc.
Speech (Todd Thomas)
Todd Thomas, better known by his stage name of Speech, is a homegrown two-time Grammy winning rapper who founded the 1990s group Arrested Development. One of the reasons that Arrested Development achieved such international stardom is that they offered a more positive, community-conscious, afro-centric alternative to negative rap music. The group respects women, promotes family, spirituality and male responsibility.
The group was the first African – American artists to donate money to Nelson Mandela and the ANC to help South Africans; they also donated $20,000 to UNICEF for relief in the Congo, they’ve done charity for homeless organizations, inner city youth organizations, women’s prisons, anti – human trafficking groups, schools, and universities across the globe.
Arrested Development’s debut album, “3 Years, 5 Months & 2 Days in the Life Of…” , pays homage to the length of time it took the group to get the album produced. It generated a number of hits, including “Tennessee,” “People Everyday” and “Mr. Wendal.” The inaugural album, which sold more than four million copies, won the group MTV music and video awards and Grammys for Best Rap Album and Best New Artist. Rolling Stone Magazine dubbed the group Band of the Year in 1993.
After graduating from Rufus King High School and relocating to Georgia in 1987 Speech attended the Art Institute of Atlanta. He later toured with US Vice President Al Gore and First Lady Hillary Clinton in the South during the 1996 United States Presidential election. Speech was also invited to and attended the inaugural celebrations. In November 1996, he toured with Hootie and the Blowfish.
With all of his success, Speech never forgot his roots. He grew up in Milwaukee and spent his childhood here and in Ripley, Tennessee. His mother, Patricia Pattillo, publisher of the Milwaukee Community Journal and his father, Robert Thomas, an entrepreneur most famous for Robby’s Roasted Corn at Summerfest, kept him grounded while encouraging him to spread his wings. In fact, when his father suffered a stroke several years ago, Speech stepped in to work at the Robby’s Roasted Corn concession stand, then changed clothes and performed on the Summerfest stage. Speech continues to work at the Summerfest concession stand, even planning his travel schedule around Summerfest when he tours with Arrested Development in the United States, Europe, Africa, Australia, Asia and the Middle East
Speech released his first book on September 18, 2009, called “What Is Success?” through Vagabond Records and Tapes (publisher). The book gives a practical guide for spiritual success based on Biblical scripture and personal experiences. And, last but not least, he helps lead a vibrant arts ministry called The Greater Atlanta Church of Christ (GACC).
Speech’s legacy goes beyond Milwaukee as he shares his talent, creativity, social consciousness and spiritual knowledge with the world.
Wisconsin first in nation to conduct statewide health check-up
The Survey of the Health of Wisconsin (SHOW), is the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health’s new statewide research project. Every year, SHOW meets with Wisconsin residents from all over the state to measure their health. This summer, the survey teams will visit households in the Milwaukee area.
SHOW surveyors will knock on the doors of randomly selected households to complete a multi-step in-person health survey. SHOW combines personal interviews, laboratory tests, physical measurements, and community environmental measurements to gather important information on our health. The information that SHOW compiles will be made available to researchers who are interested in Wisconsin’s public health issues.
In order for SHOW’s health measurements to be truly representative of Wisconsin’s population, the survey randomly selects households from throughout the state. Roughly 1,200 households from neighborhoods around Wisconsin are invited to participate each year.
“SHOW aims to present a picture of the health of people in Wisconsin,”
said Dr. F. Javier Nieto of the University of Wisconsin’s School of
Medicine and Public Health and Director of SHOW. “Our vision is that the
information SHOW collects through the years will play an important role
in monitoring the health of Wisconsin people, and in guiding community
and statewide health services.”
Study participants will be interviewed in their homes,
and later have some brief physical measurements taken. All the individual information collected by SHOW will be kept confidential.
“SHOW will provide us with current health and prospective clinical
information never before available in Wisconsin,” said Dr. Henry
Anderson, Chief Medical Officer for the state Bureau of Environmental
and Occupational Health in the Division of Public Health. “The results
of this survey and clinical examinations will measure the current health status of all Wisconsin residents. This survey will make us better equipped to develop initiatives that will help make Wisconsin healthier than ever.”
The SHOW research project is modeled after the CDC’s National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES), which has provided key health information about the nation’s health for over 40 years. With the launch of SHOW, Wisconsin will be the first state to monitor the health of its residents with a survey of this magnitude. Using NHANES as a guide, SHOW is specially designed for the Wisconsin population by including regionally important health measures, such as local environment assessments and Great Lakes fish consumption.
SHOW is funded by the National Institutes of Health’s Heart, Lung and
Blood Institute and by the University of Wisconsin’s Partnership for a
Healthy Future, which represents a far-reaching commitment by UW School
of Medicine and Public Health to greatly improve the health of people in Wisconsin for years to come.
The NMSBank staff and bank president at the Granville-Brown Deer location.
North Milwaukee State (NMS) Bank and WISN TV has fostered a successful working relationship throughout the years.
Recently, the television station acknowledged its appreciation in a delightful and savory way.
Last month, NMSBank was honored as WISN TV’s Business of the Week. NMSBank has had a relationship with WISN TV for nearly 10 years.
The station chose to honor NMSBank and show its appreciation of the existing relationship by delivering breakfast to the bank’s staff on May 13, to its Granville-Brown Deer location.
Moya Baylis, an account executive for the television station, stopped by the branch to meet and eat with staff. NMSBank Management Trainee Tiaira Johnson states, “Working with WISN TV has been one of the best professional experiences I’ve ever had.
“The staff members are very personable. I especially enjoyed working with the station’s sales and production team.
“They made my first production project at the station fun, while really developing the vision we had for our commercial. I’d do it all again in a heartbeat.”
NMSBank and WISN TV has already produced three television commercials together.
The collaboration of these two powerhouses appears to be a formula for success, creating brand recognition and an end product that NMSBank will be proud of for many years to come.
Milwaukee area residents seeking help with getting to and from a job took a first step towards achieving that. They participated in a financial literacy session for the Ways to Work Program.
Two dozen working men and women took part in the workshop conducted at the Social Development Commission (SDC) Richards Street facility that was conducted by Dan Sweeney of M&I Bank.
Financial literacy is a key component of Ways to Work, a national program coordinated in Milwaukee County by SDC. The women and men interested in participating in the Ways to Work program learned during the financial literacy session about budgeting, operating a checking account, and how to manage credit.
Ways to Work provides low interest loans to low and moderate income working families who meet eligibility requirements.
The goal is to help those families be able to obtain reliable transportation that will allow them to get to and from jobs. It has been found that many of the available jobs locally are found in areas not served consistently by public transit.
The financial literacy session was videotaped by a FOX 6 News crew to be coupled with interviews of program participants for a news story to be aired in the near future. To learn more about the Ways to Work Program, visit the SDC website at www.cr.sdc.org, click on the “Programs” link and then on the page for Ways to Work. Or call the program at 414-906-2822.
Free and low-cost programs provide supervised fun
Milwaukee Recreation is celebrating its 100th summer of providing the city’s youth with safe, supervised recreation and enrichment activities. Many of the programs are free or low-cost, giving children a better alternative to “hanging out” on the streets. These summer programs are listed in Milwaukee Recreation’s Summer 2011 Activity Guide, which was mailed to every city of Milwaukee household. The activities are also listed at www.MilwaukeeRecreation.net. Spaces are still available for many classes and activities. The public is invited to call (414) 475-8811 for details. Media representatives are encouraged to highlight these programs in an effort to direct children toward positive summer activities.
Milwaukee Recreation coordinates Summer Stars, the evening recreation program for teens. Free for youth between the ages of 13 and 17, Summer Stars will be open from 6-9:00 p.m. Monday-Thursday from June 21 through August 11. Activities include sports leagues, enrichment classes, field trips, swimming, video games, weight training, teen chat, computer classes, and organized games. Summer Stars will be held at the following community centers: North Division (1011 W. Center St.), South Division (1515 W. Lapham Blvd.), and Washington (2525 N. Sherman Blvd.). For more information, see the inside front cover of the Summer Activity Guide or call (414) 475-8811.
Milwaukee Recreation’s free summer playgrounds will open June 20 for youth ages 5-17. The playgrounds provide supervised activities, including kickball, dodgeball, box hockey, champ bowling, basketball, field trips, craft projects, and more. Many playgrounds are also free lunch sites. On days when the temperature exceeds 85 degrees, the city of Milwaukee connects industrial-strength sprinklers to several playground fire hydrants to create Cool Spots. For more information, see page 24 of the Summer Activity Guide or call (414) 475-8811.
In addition to the free programs listed above, Milwaukee Recreation offers a wide assortment of low-cost activities. Popular programs include swim lessons, sports camps, art workshops, music, dancing, cheerleading, cooking, outdoor education, Summer Recreation Enrichment Camps (SREC), and Community Learning Centers. Every activity is carefully supervised and designed to allow youth to learn and grow in a safe, respectful environment. Everyone is welcome to participate, and accommodations will be made for individuals with disabilities.
Milwaukee Recreation is a department of Milwaukee Public Schools, established in 1911 to provide the entire community with affordable and enriching recreational activities. Throughout 2011, Milwaukee Recreation will celebrate a century of service by posting archival photos, films, stories, and games at www.MilwaukeeRecreation.net.
For more information, contact Brian Hoffer at (414) 475-8938.
By Allen Orr
Washington, DC (BlackNews.com) — The Supreme Court on May 26th upheld an Arizona law that requires all businesses to ensure that all new workers are authorized to work in the United States. The court said that as long as states follow federal guidelines for the definition of immigration status and rely on federal programs to make the determination, there is no federal conflict with the state law requiring employers to use E-Verify.
E-verify is a federal web-based system that allows employers to verify the employment eligibility of a new hire based on information provided on the employee’s Form I-9. The system has received mixed reviews since its creation in 1996, then called a “basic pilot program.”
In 2008 the Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) was amended by Executive Order to require all government contractors and subcontractors to use the E-verify system for both new and existing employees working on federal contracts. Some black businesses were exempt from this regulation based on the nature and size of the contract. This regulation is different from Arizona law, as it is the federal government and not a state government imposing an immigration restriction.
Opponents of the Arizona law claimed the bill infringes on federal laws and that the E-verify system is flawed. While the E-verify system is imperfect, the Supreme Court has made it clear that states may now begin imposing its usage on all businesses. In the past, states were limited to imposing it on government contractors and public businesses.
The trend in local and state immigration enforcement is on the rise. More than 13 states have established or plan to establish some form of immigration enforcement law. Now that the Supreme Court has cleared the way for Arizona-style laws, businesses should be prepared for new licensure requirements by states.
Allen Orr is the founder of Orr Immigration Law Firm PC, a minority-owned firm based in Washington, DC, and focusing on US corporate compliance as well as global representation and assistance on immigration issues. Mr. Orr previously helped to build one of the leading immigration practices at a global law firm, where he developed a network of immigration practitioners, government officials and business leaders. Mr. Orr received a BA in Philosophy from Morehouse College and a JD from Howard University’s School of Law. He is an active member of the DC, Virginia, American and National Bar Associations.
While millions of people worldwide will be focused on the NBA Finals and superstars like LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Dirk Nowitzki playing the game of basketball with grace and fury for a championship at the highest level, area gyms around the nation will be filled with kids and weekend warriors hooping it up with the same intensity but for completely different reasons.
The CBL offers 12 different types of leagues for youths and adults including the semi-pro Exposure League (E-League), which will offer a preparatory opportunity for basketball players wanting to play at the collegiate or professional levels. “We’ve taken the recreation league concept to the next level so that neighborhood basketball isn’t just about the competition on the court, but it’s equally about the community and local businesses.”
Of course it all starts with competition. “It’s such a quality experience for our players,” Johnson boasts. Players from all skill levels actually get drafted to a team in the CBL. After 18-20 season games and playoffs with enforced equal playing time rules, a ceremony is held and championship rings are handed out to the winners. Player registrations are free at www.CBLHoopsUSA.com.
“LeBron left Cleveland to play with his friend (Wade) on the Heat in Miami and now they’re playing for an NBA title,” Johnson points out reinforcing that even the ‘pros’ value the comradery that comes with playing sports. Lifelong friendships are formed with childhood teammates and Johnson says adults play in the CBL with that in mind. “I’ve had men and women join the league because they loved basketball, were new to town and wanted to make some friends quickly.”
But it’s the focus on the community that Johnson says sets the CBL apart from any other recreation league, regardless of the sport. “In these tough economic times, we’ve created a professional game atmosphere,” he continues, “so that when players bring their friends and families to the gym, they’re treated to the on-the-court action and a live DJ playing music. It’s a full entertainment production.” Johnson believes this festive approach and attendance numbers are why local businesses are flocking to CBL games to set up booths and sell products or advertise their services.
Additionally, school districts all over the country are facing budget cuts, so Johnson is happy to reveal the rental fees for the use of the gym facilities have become another source of revenue for local schools.
However, Johnson wants the Playbook Classes sponsored by the CBL to leave a longer impression on the communities than an entertaining game or gym rental fees. The subjects covered in the weekly workshops range from career development to time management and networking. “They’re not just for the players,” he clarifies, encouraging community members to attend the free life skills seminars.
NBA Commissioner David Stern is running an entertainment business so he’s likely pulling for huge ratings for the NBA Finals which will bring in more revenue for his league. The various successes of the current CBLs are why investors are talking to Johnson about his plans for a $2 million nationwide expansion, but he actually longs for a different type of goal.
“I want there to be a ‘CBL Effect’ for the communities we’re in,” he states, referring to the so-called “Oprah Effect,” which some experts say boomed sales for little-known companies or brought national attention to a topic when mentioned on Oprah Winfrey’s former TV talk show. “When the CBL comes to your town, I want the impact to be so overwhelmingly positive for players, local businesses and the community that there’s a noticeable change on the streets,” Johnson explains.
The Greater Milwaukee Association of REALTORS® (GMAR) is participating in the Nationwide Open House Weekend, Saturday, June 4th and Sunday, June 5th, 2011.
The event falls in the midst of what is typically prime buying season. And recent housing news gives areaREALTORS® plenty of encouraging news for home buyers: The National Association of Home Builders reported last week that home affordability reached its highest level in 20 years, making the purchasing power for buyers better than it has been in decades. Plus, Freddie Mac reported last week that for the sixth straight week fixed-rate mortgages inched down, reaching new lows for 2011.
“Home ownership benefits individuals and families, as well as strengthens our communities,” Steve Wiedenfeld, 2011 Chairman of the GMAR, stated. The association is among approximately 350 nationwide participating in the event this weekend. “Through this nationwide event, we will not only educate the public on the value of owning a home, but also help those who are striving to become home owners take steps toward achieving their goals,” Wiedenfeld continued.
Participating GMAR members will hold open houses and be available to have one-on-one conversations regarding the local market with future homeowners. The purpose of the Nationwide Open House is to start a discussion between REALTORS® and the public regarding homeownership, their local community, and what options (buying vs. selling, downsizing, etc.) are right for potential buyers and sellers.
First-time buyers are especially encouraged to take advantage of this event and speak to a REALTOR® as a first step toward homeownership.
*Note: GMAR members are available for media interviews on an individual basis. Please contact Mike Ruzicka at 414.870.1876 or 414.778.4929 to make arrangements.
The Greater Milwaukee Association of REALTORS® is a 4,000-member strong professional organization dedicated to providing information, services and products to “help REALTORS® help their clients” buy and sell real estate.
The best way to deal with racial tension is by addressing, not avoiding, the issue of race, panelists said recently at a closing session at America Healing, a racial healing conference sponsored by the W.K. Kellogg Foundation.
When people opt not to discuss race, they open the door to those who would use race to divide the public and further their own race-based agendas, said Heather McGhee, director of the Washington office of Demos, a non-partisan public policy research and advocacy organization and publisher of The American Prospect magazine, and moderator of the panel.
In April, The American Prospect published a special report of 13 essays that examine the role of race in American society.
Panelists included contributors to the report, “Color Blinded,” which aimed to identify what must be done to ensure equity and social justice.
In investigating disparities in health outcomes for the poor and people of color, Laura Coffey, a writer, editor and producer for NBC’s “Today” show said she found that race and income are major factors.
“In essence a person’s geography, their zip code basically can affect their health,” Coffey said, adding that poverty and housing segregation, the lack of safe places for physical activity and places to buy affordable healthy food continue to beset the poor and many communities of color.
These conditions, Coffey said, lead to stress, obesity and other negative effects on health.
One of the positive things that have come out of the focus on this issue, and would be attractive stories for the media, is to address action taken by communities and activists who are asking vendors and business to bring healthier commodities into their neighborhoods.
Shining a light on issues and educating communities that are not as heavily touched by these race issues is equally important, said Lygia Navarro, a freelance writer, who wrote a story about a small community in Ohio that became engaged in learning about immigration issues.
Even though only 4 percent of the residents were foreign-born, Navarro said, discussions about immigration issues helped change views about immigrants and immigration policy.
David Moberg, senior editor of “In These Times, Our Town,” discussed the history of the integration of and tensions in Oak Park, Ill., and the efforts of a group committed to creating a diverse community.
“Part of their aim was to get people to stay where they were and to make it an attractive community to make folks want to live there,” Moberg said.
The effort was helped by a coalition of business, community and nonprofit organizations – particularly the Oak Park Housing Council – that looked not only at home sales, but rental communities as well to encourage greater racial dispersion.
Since 1970, the population of Oak Park has grown from about 1 percent to 20 percent today, Moberg said, and is more truly diverse than areas like the city of Evanston, which has been “integrated” since the Civil War, but where the black community tends to be largely concentrated in one section of town.
Structural racism does not need active racists to persist, but it does take deliberate, conscious action to change it, said Mark Warren, associate professor of education at the Harvard Graduate School of Education, and author of “Fire in the Heart: How White Activities Embrace Racial Justice,” a book about breaking down structural racial barriers in which he interviewed activists about the transformational moment that spurred them to get involved in change.
“Nobody said to me, ‘I read about racism in a book and decided to do something about it,’” Warren said.
Rather, he said, people were motivated by direct experience and seeing the dichotomy in their communities between those who feel empowered to force change and those who do not.
These change agents then developed relationships with colleagues or neighbors of color, building trust and having a sense of working with, rather than on behalf of, others.
“This is a society that’s not just good for other people, but the kind of society that I want to live in and raise my children in,” Warren said.
“It’s not that teaching white people about racism isn’t an important thing to do. It’s not that arguments about the costs of incarceration are not important….but those kind of arguments don’t really move people,” Warren said. “It doesn’t motivate people to do something about it in the first place.”
What does work, he said, is getting to people in an ethical, moral, or spiritual place and that organizations that do the work to bridge communities are important players in making things happen.
Even churches, which tend to be heavily segregated in the U.S., can have an impact by partnering with other groups.
“I think we need to do the hard work and build more and more of these” relationships, he said.
Last year, the Kellogg Foundation announced a five-year, $75 million initiative to promote racial equity nationwide.
America Healing aims to improve life outcomes for vulnerable children and their families by promoting racial healing and eliminating barriers to opportunities.
Grants were given to 119 community organizations to address issues affecting opportunities in education, health and economic issues.