November 1, 2013 – Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett is asking Governor Scott Walker to delay changes in the state’s BadgerCare program so that an estimated 92,000 people have a reasonable opportunity to enroll in a health insurance plan through the new Affordable Care Act (ACA). Problems with the new federal marketplace have created enrollment impediments likely to keep thousands of people losing BadgerCare coverage from finding alternatives. “The simple solution to this problem is to postpone implementation of all BadgerCare changes until March 31, 2014,” Mayor Barrett wrote to the Governor. “This action would be consistent with the intent of the Joint Finance Committee when it amended the Budget Bill.” That Wisconsin legislative committee previously called for such a delay if ACA enrollment was not proceeding as expected. The Mayor said BadgerCare recipients should not lose their coverage as the result of unforeseen circumstances. In his letter, the Mayor made it clear he is not arguing the merits of either the ACA or the decision by state officials to change BadgerCare. He said this is all about the well-being of vulnerable people who are likely to lose healthcare coverage. The tens-of-thousands of people across Wisconsin who are required to leave BadgerCare have until mid-December to find alternative coverage. That is the federal deadline for obtaining ACA coverage by January 1st. Federal officials have estimated the online enrollment problems should be resolved later this month, however, no firm date has been established for repairs to the system.
Madison—Wisconsin State Reps. Leon D. Young and LaTonya Johnson of Milwaukee introduced Tuesday a bill (LRB 3309) for co-sponsorship that will benefit victims of human trafficking by allowing them the opportunity to petition the courts and have their records expunged when the charges brought against them are directly linked to them being trafficked. The following statement was released after announcing this newly proposed legislation: “Human trafficking is a growing concern in the state and it is time to start rethinking the issue and providing some relief to those who are unfortunately forced into this servitude,” Young said in a statement. “Our proposal is modeled after legislation recently passed in Florida and signed into law by Governor Rick Scott who labeled human trafficking a form of ‘modern day slavery.’ Young said Wisconsin recognizes the urgency with human trafficking and the need to tackle the issue from every angle possible. Senator Harris and Representative LaTonya Johnson have also circulated a bill (LRB 3168) for co-sponsorship, which seeks to change the definition of human trafficking. The state legislator added, under current law, prosecutors have too often fallen short of convicting traffickers due to the condition that prosecutors must prove the trafficking was done without the victim’s consent. “This is clearly problematic because there is often a substantial level of mental manipulation on behalf of the trafficker,” Young said. “With the successful passage of LRB 3309 and LRB 3168, I believe we will be in a better position to confront the practice of human trafficking. We can hold more traffickers accountable while deterring others, and we can also help rebuild the integrity of those trafficked, putting them in a position to help other victims.”
CITY HALL--The Common Council recently approved a resolution establishing Motorcycle Safety Awareness Week in Milwaukee every year during the first week in May. The resolution, authored by Ald. Milele A. Coggs, was recommended for approval by the Council’s Public Safety Committee on October 3. The measure--co-sponsored by Aldermen Joe Davis, Sr., Jim Bohl, and Robert Puente--sets the inaugural Motorcycle Safety Awareness Week during the first week of May 2014. Coggs said she was moved by the family of Vinencia Dawson, who was killed in a motorcycle accident on June 30 of this year (family and friends of Dawson testified on the resolution at committee and were in attendance when the measure was approved). “I think it’s important to not only establish Milwaukee as a leader in motorcycle safety, education and awarenss, but to also do what we can to help save lives and increase safety on our streets and roadways,” Coggs said. “In Vinencia’s honor and in honor of other motorcycle accident victims, I am hopeful that Motorcycle Safety Awareness Week will help reduce the number of motocycle accidents in Milwaukee by emphasizing how critical it is for drivers to be aware at all times of motorcycles on the roadways and to also recognize the importance of motocycle operator and passenger safety,” the alderwoman said. “I would like to sincerely thank the Dawson family for their willingness to publicly push for Motorcycle Safety Awareness Week,” Coggs said. “I believe their wish to help create something positive for the community in the wake of the loss of their loved one, Vinencia, is truly admirable and worthy of our support.” According to the resolution, for the three year period of 2010-2012 there were 538 motocycle accidents in the city, including 14 fatal accidents. It also indicated that motocycle accidents have been on the rise in Wisconsin for the past several years.
Article compiled from a WITI Fox 6 News Report and a Neighborhood News Service article
Much-needed policy or heavy-handed lawmaking? That is the debate surrounding proposals to charge mothers with a felony if their children die while co-sleeping, and if it is discovered the child’s mother was intoxicated. Milwaukee Alderman Bob Donovan says it is simple. If an infant dies because she was co-sleeping, and the parent was intoxicated, criminal charges should be filed. “If this isn’t child neglect, I sure as hell don’t know what is!,” Ald. Donovan said Tuesday inwhich he called for the criminalization of co-sleeping. “We don’t need more restorative justice. We don’t need more hand-holding. We don’t need more parenting classes. We don’t need more free cribs. The answer – what we DO need – is pure and simple: JAIL,”
Donovan said in a press statement.
“There doesn’t appear to be the kind of outrage that I think needs to occur in this city. I will simply say this: if any one of those infants would have died in police custody, we would see the city turned upside down,” Alderman Donovan said. A few weeks ago Samantha Kerkman, a state representative from Kenosha County, proposed a state law that would charge parents with a felony if their kids died due to co-sleeping and the parents were either drunk or high. According to the Milwaukee County Medical Examiner’s Office, 13 babies have died in Milwaukee County because they were placed in an unsafe sleeping environment. The Medical Examiner’s office doesn’t distinguish specific instances of co-sleeping. Rather, they are included in the category of “unsafe sleeping environments.”
Infant deaths related to unsafe sleep environments make up approximately 15 to 20 percent of all infant deaths in the city.
State statistics show that Black babies born in Milwaukee die at a rate that is three times higher than that of White babies. In some city neighborhoods, the infant mortality rate (death of a baby before it reaches his/her first birthday) is comparable to underdeveloped countries.
Clarene Mitchell at the Black Health Coalition of Wisconsin (BHCW) says lawmakers behind the proposals are missing the big picture.
“There’s larger issues that – yes there should be outrage – but there should be outrage at the larger societal issues that are feeding into this,” Mitchell said in a Fox6 report Tuesday. Mitchell, who is the BHCW’s director of collaboration and communication, said co-sleeping isn’t the only culprit responsible for the high number of infant deaths the last several years.
She listed a number of factors that lead to infant mortality:
• The lack of affordable and decent housing
• Extreme unemployment
• Poor educational outcomes
• The lack of coverage and access to health care
• Prevelance and impact of violence in economically depressed neighborhoods
“Where you live, work and play impacts the quality of ones overall life and health,” Mitchell said. Milwaukee’s Commissioner of Health agrees with Mitchell. “We need to make certain that we come to the table with resources and other solutions other than criminalizing every process that we don’t fully understand,” Bevan Baker said on the television news report. For the last two years, Black Health Coalition of Wisconsin has been partnering with UW-Madison’s School of Medicine and Public Health, the Medical College of Wisconsin and the Wisconsin Partnership Program to implement a program encompassing Milwaukee, Racine, Kenosha and Beloit that would address infant deaths. Called the Lifecourse Initiative for Healthy Families (LIHF), the program’s goal is to help reduce Black infant mortality in Milwaukee and the other aforementioned cities in southeastern Wisconsin.
The three key goals of the Milwaukee LIHF initiative is:
• Improving healthcare for African American families by expanding healthcare access over the “Life-course”
•Strengthening African American families and communities by increasing the fathers’ involvement
• Addressing social determinants of health by reducing poverty among African American families.
Alderman Donovan says the proposed law isn’t only about preventing future deaths, but is also about the infants who have already been lost.
“Is holding someone accountable for murder going to end all homicides? No, but justice is done,” Alderman Donovan said.
On Wednesday, Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett joined two of Milwaukee’s leaders in safe sleep education, the Milwaukee Fire Department and City of Milwaukee Health Department, in bringing a message about safe sleep practices directly to Milwaukee residents.
“While we have made progress in reducing Milwaukee’s infant mortality rate, we continue to see a disheartening number of infant deaths in our city,” said Mayor Barrett. “Infant deaths related to unsafe sleep are preventable, and continuing our door-to-door effort will bring the safe sleep message directly into homes in our community.” The effort is part of Mayor Barrett’s goal to reduce the overall infant mortality rate in Milwaukee by 10 percent by 2017, while simultaneously reducing the African-American infant mortality rate by 15 percent in the same time period.
Statement of President Willie L. Hines, Jr.
I’m very pleased that all fourteen of my colleagues on the Milwaukee Common Council joined me this morning in opposition to the casino that
has been proposed for the Kenosha area. The Common Council was unanimous in its support of a resolution that calls on Wisconsin Governor Scott
Walker to reject the casino proposal. Ever since the Bureau of Indian Affairs gave its approval to the project, I have watched closely as the Governor weighs the arguments surrounding the proposed casino. With estimates that a casino in Kenosha could cost the Milwaukee area as many as 3,000 jobs, I urge the Governor to heed the council’s call and protect these hardworking people.
The Governor has previously said that he would like to see a consensus among the state’s sovereign tribal nations before he signs off upon a
proposed casino. The Kenosha proposal plainly does not meet this standard, and with the unanimous opposition of the Milwaukee Common
Council entered plainly onto the record, I would hope that the Governor can quickly close the door on the Kenosha casino for good.
“Now is the time to rise from the dark and desolate valley of segregation to the sunlit path of racial justice. Now is the time to open the door of opportunity to all of God’s children. Now is the time to lift our nation from the quick-sands of racial injustice to the solid rock of brotherhood…” The Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Aug. 28, 1963
In remembering the Great March on Washington, 50 years ago, we clearly remember the words of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. — the greatest man of the 20th century. In remembering that epoch-making event, I also recall my two interviews of Dr. King.
The first was Jan. 28, 1964, with The Milwaukee Star staff at downtown’s storied old Schroeder Hotel. The second was in 1967, as a reporter with the Cleveland Plain Dealer. To my surprise, he recalled meeting me in Milwaukee. Both were highlights of my career.
Some of my most cherished memories of Dr. King are personal — especially when we met during his visit here to my hometown to address a fund-raising rally for his Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC). It was an experience I’ll never forget.
That evening, as associate editor of The Star — a ground-breaking Black weekly newspaper — co-workers and I met his plane at Mitchell Field and were part of an airport news conference. I took the accompanying photo of Dr. King with Black police detectives Dewey Russ and Leroy Jones, who provided security during his one day visit.
After traveling in separate cars to the Schroeder, we crowded onto a couch in a VIP suite — with Dr. King and I seated side-by-side. These moments were captured by a staff photographer in a historic photo with him holding a copy of The Star that appeared prominently in our paper and others — and also accompanies this column. Sadly, everyone else in the photo has since passed away.
Ever the gentleman, Dr. King listened as everyone got a chance to talk. As lead interviewer, when I spoke of the positive role of the Black press, he responded firmly.
“The Negro press is vitally necessary to readers during this time of the American social revolution,” he said. “In fact, this has always been the case.” He added that “…issues important to our people can be objectively presented in the Negro press; issues the daily press frequently neglects…”
In the highlight of our interview from my point of view, Dr. King looked directly at me and began talking about the need for Black people to develop self-esteem
“It’s not just important that our white brothers and sisters respect us,” he said. “We’ve got to respect ourselves. Because with self-esteem comes the success of the mind.”
He then stared gently into my eyes and said, “Wouldn’t you agree, young man?”
Detectives Russ and Jones then led the way as the group — including the Rev. Wyatt Tee Walker, executive director of New York City’s SCLC — left for a rally in the Milwaukee Auditorium. There, a capacity crowd of 6,000 in Bruce Hall included Mayor Henry Maier and Second Ward Ald. Vel Phillips.
During the rally, Rabbi Dudley Weinberg said this of Dr. King: “Out of his devotion to the cause of the Negro, he serves my needs as a white man. Out of his Christian heart, he speaks to my Jewish heart.”
And then Dr. King, in a sonorous voice that had echoed across the land the previous summer from the steps of the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, boomed out: “Racial discrimination is a national problem. No section of the country can ignore it. You must decide tonight that you will not be content until we are all brothers.”
The evening ended soon after and I saw him in person, and spoke to him for the final time, in a suite at the Sheraton-Cleveland Hotel in the autumn of 1967. On spotting me he said, “I know you, don’t I? Milwaukee a few years ago, wasn’t it?” Brimming with surprise, I recall saying, “Yes, that’s right. An interview with a Black weekly paper.”
But nothing could be more memorable than Dr. King’s inspiring message of hope 50 years ago — on August 28, 1963 — a sweltering summer day that was to become a pivotal point in the civil rights struggle. Yet today, despite electing our first Black president, much of the dream inherent in his sentiments has yet to be realized.
Dr. King’s 18-minute “I Have a Dream” speech is the most vivid memory of this special man most people retain. It also highlighted the first time a civil rights protest was aired live on national television as millions watched in living black-and-white and more than 250,000 people of all colors arrived from everywhere to demand an end to racism.
This was a once-in-a-lifetime tribute to the dream of racial equality — in the shadow of the Great Emancipator. It was from there Dr. King thundered out the phrases that have come to mean so much to so many. His eloquence was unforgettably captured by the TV cameras as his memorable words cut a swath through the heavy, late August air.
It was a day of celebration for the multitude — many chanting “pass it, pass it…” of President John F. Kennedy’s civil rights program before Congress. And it was a red-letter day on the small screen for millions who witnessed the historic event as it played out.
And 50 years later we remain justly proud of Dr. King — the first American since George Washington be honored with a holiday of his own. Rightly so, for his manner of man rarely walks among us. I am lucky for having had the opportunity to talk with him for the first, and best time, on a cold January day in my hometown of Milwaukee. Milwaukee native Richard G. Carter is a freelance columnist
Compiled by MCJ Staff
Though Milwaukee political and law enforcement officials recently announced strategies to corral the spike in gun violence, Black political and civil rights leaders called for just as an aggressive approach in addressing the root causes of the shootings.
Last week, Mayor Tom Barrett and Police Chief Edward Flynn outlined strategies for reducing the shootings. There have been a rash of shootings in the city this month. As of August 13, seven people have been fatally shot and 16 injured by gunfire.
The mayor reportedly ordered more police overtime, and wants the state to chip-in and pass tougher gun laws. Flynn has reportedly assigned his officers to watch districts and individuals with a history of gun offenses.
James Hall, president of the NAACP-Milwaukee Branch, said the increasing violence in the community should not come as a surprise.
Hall said it’s not enough to express outrage about violence. There must also be outrage at the circumstances contributing to the situation.
“The poverty, unemployment rates and disparities in income and opportunity affecting Milwaukee’s African American community are among the highest in the nation,” Hall said in a statement on the sudden rise in shootings.
“The fact is few African Americans or others with jobs and opportunities commit murder or other violent crimes,” Hall said, adding elected officials, business leaders, the faith community, community organizations, and educational institutions “have an important role to play in addressing these issues.
“We must move the needle and reduce disparities by creating jobs and socio-economic opportunities to trans form our community into ‘One Milwaukee’ that is inclusive.”
Echoing Hall, Milwaukee Ald. Joe Davis, Sr. called out local political leaders who “get tough on crime, but are soft on economics.
“The City of Milwaukee has a pathetic rate of growth in its private sector that is directly related to its crime rate,” Davis said, adding the politics of “divide and conquer”—local government officials fighting over miniscule issues that could unite the city—stagnates its economy and shuts out Black males.
“Now we want to spend $500,000 on police overtime, but fight not to invest the same amount in African American men and boys who will be the target of strict law enforcement because of our dismal local economy in their community,” Davis said.
Davis noted the city’s illegal drug trade is the common way some Black residents provide for themselves economically. “Its mere presence is creating instability that is directly related to our violent crime statistics.”
Davis said local government has neglected benchmarking reasonable economic growth by not targeting investments that could give a reasonable rate of return in the domestic and global economies.
“We accept group homes, day cares, gas stations and corner grocery stores as a pro business growth strategy while other local economies are looking at us in their rear view mirror.”
As an example, Davis noted that the City of Kenosha recently landed an Amazon distribution center.
In Milwaukee and other metropolitan areas around the country, pedestrian right-of-way laws are almost never enforced. Lack of enforcement and failure to yield the right-of-way to pedestrians lead to many deaths every year.
In fact, another fatal pedestrian accident occurred last night on the east side of Milwaukee as a pedestrian was hit in a marked crosswalk on Farwell Avenue.
Drivers are legally obligated to stop for pedestrians at all corners and crosswalks. Even when yellow “Yield to Pedestrians” signs are posted to heighten awareness, pedestrians all too often end up waiting for cars to pass by. Clearly, many people are either unaware that they should yield to pedestrians or they just don’t care.
Furthermore, police aren’t even enforcing the pedestrian laws as if they’re expecting the signs to speak for themselves. Although the signs and cones are meant to draw attention to pedestrian walkways, pedestrian awareness is obviously lacking.
The personal injury law firm of Hupy and Abraham has been actively promoting pedestrian awareness by distributing over 15,000 “Yield To Pedestrians” bumper stickers and creating a public service announcement calling for heightened pedestrian awareness. This PSA has been aired hundreds of times on television stations in Milwaukee as well as Madison, Green Bay, Wausau and various cities in Illinois and Iowa.
The PSA has also been viewed over 1,000 times on YouTube. View the 30-second PSA here http://www.hupy.com/reports/ get-your-free-i-yield-to-pedestrians-sticker.cfm.
This week, Attorney Michael Hupy wrote to over 30 public officials asking them to commit to enforcing pedestrian right-of-way laws by issuing citations to violators.
Still, Attorney Hupy believes that everyone in the city in needs to do their part to fix the issue.
“We’re trying to save lives, but people are working against us. Even police departments are working against us by not publicly enforcing pedestrian laws. They’re sitting by and doing nothing,” said Attorney Hupy.
To increase the walkability of high traffic areas, drivers need to be more aware of pedestrians’ rights and adhere to the yellow signs. Everyone from police officers to common citizens plays a crucial role in pedestrian safety.
Save a life!
by Nicola Menzie , Christian Post Reporter
Bishop T.D. Jakes was asked to weigh in on Tuesday on whether he thought President Barack Obama’s comments on Trayvon Martin after George Zimmerman’s acquittal in the teen’s shooting death were misdirected, considering the deadly violence plaguing his home city of Chicago.
President Obama spoke out last Friday on Trayvon Martin’s killing, which occurred inside a gated community in Sanford, Fla., in February 2012, and expressed his condolences to the Martin family. He also affirmed his faith in the U.S. justice system after a jury found Zimmerman not guilty of manslaughter or second degree murder in the black youth’s death. The president added, however, that it was important for everyone to consider the context of some of the discussions surrounding the case, in particular among African-Americans.
“You know, when Trayvon Martin was first shot I said that this could have been my son. Another way of saying that is Trayvon Martin could have been me 35 years ago. And when you think about why, in the African-American community at least, there’s a lot of pain around what happened here, I think it’s important to recognize that the African-American community is looking at this issue through a set of experiences and a history that doesn’t go away,” said Obama.
“Fox & Friends” co-anchor Gretchen Carlson, talking with The Potter’s House pastor on Tuesday, asked Jakes, “Why is the president addressing this case and not the shootings in his hometown of Chicago?”
“Is he in a difficult situation here, did he do the right thing, did he do the wrong thing?” added Carlson of the president’s remarks.
Jakes, one of a handful of Christian leaders who have served as spiritual advisers to the president, suggested that Americans might have been interested to hear Obama’s take on such a high profile case.
“Every now and then cases come along that really capture the fascination of the entire nation. Trayvon Martin’s case was that kind of case,” said Jakes. “I just left Aurora, Colorado, where we did a memorial service. That was another situation. Though Trayvon’s was less people, it captured the fascination of the nation. I think people are curious to hear what the president thinks in times like that.”
Asked again if he thought President Obama’s focus should be on the “mostly black on black crime” plaguing Chicago, the Dallas, Texas, mega church pastor insisted that the president has spoken about the troubling number of murders that have occurred in Chicago—with the Chicago Police Department counting 217 such cases in July 14 report.
“There’s an ongoing problem in Washington, D.C., in Los Angeles, it’s all over the world,” said Jakes. “It’s an ongoing problem. I don’t think he can become the police officer.” The minister suggested, instead, that the divisive Martin- Zimmerman case should be a catalyst for racial reconciliation in the country.
“This is a great opportunity for us to talk about race in this country and I think that it can be the impetus for change. If we begin to understand that we’re not a monolithic society, that we are very, very diverse and there’s a great need for us to develop ways to get along better, to become more cohesive and we can’t do that if we don’t talk about it,” said Jakes, echoing what many Christian leaders and the president himself have suggested.
The gripping details of the event make up the story for a new graphic novel comic (pictured) that was promoted by one of the Civil Rights Movement’s mostvisible leaders, Rep. John Lewis, at a comic book convention over the weekend.
The Congressman was in San Diego at the Comic-Con 2013 comics convention to promote “March: Book One.”
Co-written by an aide in his office, Andrew Aydin, and illustrated by Nate Powell, Rep. Lewis drew big crowds as he signed copies of the book, which won’t be available to the general public until next month.
Speaking with WXIA, Rep. Lewis explained the purpose of the graphic novel, “We have told the story in many ways to many different audiences,” Lewis said.
“But this is an attempt to reach hundreds, thousands, and millions of young people. And people not so young.”
The novel opens with the events of Bloody Sunday in 1965, featuring Lewis and Hosea Williams facing Georgia state troopers ordered to halt the peaceful march.
For what images have been shown, Rep. Lewis hopes that people embrace the project for being more than just a leisurely comic.
“It’s not just words. It’s illustrations. It’s drawings. It’s action. It’s drama,” Lewis said. “And we hope that young people will be able, by reading this book, will be able to feel, to almost taste what happened.”
“March: Book One” will be available to the public in August.