by Thomas E. Mitchell, Jr.
Thanks to an impressive show of unity and support by activists and concerned citizens and parents for Milwaukee Public School Board President Michael Bonds, the Board recently withdrew a resolution that would have stripped Bonds of much of his power.
Led by former state legislator Polly Williams and 860 WNOV AM talk show host Sherwin Hughes, parents and activists filled the auditorium where the board holds its meetings on Vliet Street to near capacity to defend Bonds, protest the action being taken against him, and remind the board of his accomplishments on behalf of Milwaukee public school children.
Also in attendance were Milwaukee Urban League President Ralph Hollmon, NAACP Milwaukee Branch President James Hall, and new CYD Executive Director James Ferguson II. Also at the meeting was state Sen. Lena Taylor, a longtime supporter of MPS and Bonds.
Shocked by the showing of support for the embattled board president, board directors’ voted 9-to-0 to put the resolution “on file.” The action effectively killed any chance the measure would be reintroduced.
The resolution that was withdrawn would have required Bonds to share power and responsibilities–that he has sole position of under state statues– with the board’s vice-president, Megan Holman.
Both would have had the joint responsibility of assigning committee chairs, co-conferring with the district’s top administrators, co-authorizing visits to other school systems and review contracts before they would be signed by Bonds. The resolution was created by board member Larry Miller.
The resolution passed in committee by a five to four vote.
But Williams and Hughes revealed what certain members of the board, led by Miller, were trying to do to Bonds on Hughes’ WNOV talk show, “The Forum.”
Blasting the boards’ action on the air, Williams called the effort to strip Bonds of his power the “emasculation of a Black man,” adding if the board had succeeded in passing the resolution in the full board session Thursday night, there was no telling what else the board would have done that may have been detrimental to the district’s children, of which some 80 percent are Black.
“(The turnout) showed the board the community won’t tolerate what it tried to do to Bonds,” Williams said Monday following the previous Thursday’s meeting.
“The community came together. We showed unity,” Williams declared, adding Miller told her following the meeting he was “shocked” by the level of community support for Bonds.
Williams hoped the community will show this type of support in the future not only for Bonds and other committed board members, but other political leaders who come under fire for standing up for the people.
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