It makes no sense to us why the United States Postal Service is considering closing five post offices in Milwaukee’s African American community.
The Postal Service is considering closing 41 post offices in Wisconsin. However, all of the possible closings in Milwaukee are located in the predominately Black north side and clustered within a few blocks of each other in an area where the median household income is between $0 to $28,419.
Reportedly, some 3,400 individuals with post office boxes would be displaced and have to transfer their service to another location, most likely outside their respective neighborhoods.
Plus, the proposed closings would mean the loss of jobs, reduce consumer spending, lead to reduced housing purchases; severely impacting an already struggling central city economy besieged by high unemployment and poverty.
Fortunately, African American political leaders don’t think the closings make any sense either and have spoken out against the proposed closings of post offices at North King Drive, West Fond du Lac Avenue, West Vliet Street, North 35th Street, and North Teutonia Avenue. All of these locations are in the heart of Black Milwaukee.
On Monday, central city aldermen, led by Ald. Milele Coggs, introduced a resolution before the Common Council’s Judiciary and Legislation Committee urging the Postmaster General and U.S. Postal Regulatory Commission to keep the aforementioned postal offices open and “maintain affordable, secure and dependable postal services in the city.”
The alderwoman noted the post offices on the list are heavily used by residents and post office box rentals at the five post offices are between 86 percent to 95 percent fully rented.
According to Coggs, many neighborhoods that would be impacted by the post office closings have already had delivery stoppages because of crime and public safety concerns, and USPS mailboxes in many of them have been removed or relocated.
Obviously, the Postal Service did not get the “postcard” informing them of the fact that while many younger, tech-savvy African Americans depend on their email (as well as Facebook and Twitter) to communicate with family and friends, older members of our community who aren’t computer savvy still depend on “snail mail” to communicate with loved ones and to transact business.
When forwarding their proposal to close the post offices to our city’s leaders, did the Postal Service even consider how their proposed action would devastate our community’s residents who don’t own (let alone can’t afford) computers and depend on USPS to get their mail, buy stamps for their postage and send packages?
Is the U.S. Postal Service, in confronting its own financial challenges, abandoning its mandate to provide affordable, secure and dependable service to all Americans when, in a city with 26 post offices, five of its closings are concentrated in a few specific neighborhoods, all predominately Black and low-income?
Did postal officials consider the type of hardship their actions would place on those citizens who depend on their post office boxes to get their Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid checks and other assistance they need to lead a normal life, not to mention news from out-of-state family members still practicing the dying art of letter writing?
The answer is pretty clear by the callous manner the Postal Service selected their list, which by the way, they have yet to explain.
When a public hearing on the suggested closings is held, we urge you to attend and speak out against the closures and let postal officials know you will not tolerate this obvious disregard of our community
February 18, 2015 //
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