Local civil rights organization wants to revive 1968 ordinance
The NAACP Milwaukee Branch announced that it filed a Writ of Mandamus in Milwaukee County Circuit Court on May 9th asking the court to direct Milwaukee County to establish a Milwaukee County Advisory Commission on Human Rights as provided in Chapter 51 of the Milwaukee County Ordinances.
This ordinance was enacted in 1968 and provides that such a commission’s role is to receive reports on all matters concerning the equal rights of all persons within the county and, after due deliberations and open hearings, advise the appropriate department or division of county government of the proper procedures for preserving the equal rights of
persons as guaranteed by the law. To these ends, it is to advise the County Executive and County Board of pending or prospective legislation or executive orders. It is also to advise administrators concerning proper policies, and is to act as a liaison with community groups and organizations.
Around the year 2000, the County took action to cease implementing the commission activities but the ordinance that governs the commission is still in place but not enforced. We believe the charge of this commission is critical to ensuring equity and equality in the affairs of our county.
We also believe that the absence of this commission has contributed greatly to the socioeconomic decline of the county and disparity gaps. We believe that since the removal of the commission many decisions have been made without consideration for civil rights compliance and equal opportunity.
Approximately a year ago (May 5, 2012), the NAACP Milwaukee Branch and others called upon our local units of government to ensure compliance with equal opportunity laws and policies that we believed were being ignored.
At the County level, we called upon the County at that time to enforce Chapter 51. County Executive Abele attended a public meeting that the NAACP held last June 19th and stated that he would implement this provision. Notwithstanding several conversations back and forth, the NAACP and others are concerned that it still has not been implemented. County Executive Abele and Corporation Counsel Kimberly Walker indicated to NAACP representatives on Thursday (May 10th) that they intend to implement the provision and follow through with establishing the commission. We remain encouraged by that statement of intent and look forward to prompt implementation.
The mission of the NAACP, as stated in its constitution, includes:
- To achieve equality of rights for all citizens
- To ensure economic equality
- To seek enactment and enforcement of federal, state and local laws securing civil rights
- To inform the public of the adverse effects of racial discrimination and to seek its elimination, and
- To educate persons as to their constitutional rights and to take all lawful action to secure the exercise thereof.
It is pursuant to this mission that the NAACP has taken this action.
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