In our editorial last week on solutions to the myriad of problems that sparked the Sherman Park ‘civil disturbances’ of two weeks ago, we neglected to note one important measure leading to true and impactful change: the need for a Black political caucus to lead the effort to our community agenda.
Call it a “Unity Caucus,” if you will, but we’re not talking about another fraternal social club, or a do-nothing committee to ‘study’ the problems. We specifically are calling for a caucus to carry out an agenda to be designed by community leaders. A caucus that will put their political rhetoric aside, and instead identifying problems, and provide the means and strategies to carry out solutions
To do this, our political leaders must put aside special interests and partisan bickering and focus solely on the needs of the Black community.
Associate publisher Mikel Holt is fond of saying (sarcastically), that Black people elect or select political leaders based on their ability to articulate problems, instead of offering solutions. There’s truth in that assessment, but there is also truth in the realization that we put hope in our politicians to do what’s best, to grow into their roles and be our liaisons to government, our lawmakers and our solution finders.
We don’t expect our political leaders to have all of the solutions, and thus we suggest the first order of business for the caucus will be to illicit information and ideas from Black community thought leaders—who are in the C-suites and on the streets—from which specific remedies are created to address specific problems such as:
• Economics/business development
• Providing mechanisms though which absentee ‘fathers’ can be enticed to assume their responsibility as parents.
• Emphasizing the importance of two parent nuclear families (which we know will touch off a firestorm of controversy in our community, but we must address the problem of homes without a husband and/or father because they have been replaced by Uncle Sam).
• Breaking the cycle of welfare (see reference to Uncle Sam). As Nation of Islam leader, Min. Louis Farrakhan once said, “welfare spelled backwards is “Fare well” to independence and human dignity— control of your household, family, neighborhood and community.
• Reducing violence/crime.
• Programs for youth, including creation of a new PAL center that will incorporate the TABS program. The center could be housed in a vacant MPS building and provide other youth serving programs.
No one solution will break the cycle of poverty that grips Black Milwaukee—and Black America in general for that matter—but solutions grouped together and advanced can at least begin to solve the problem of poverty and its offspring: Single parent families, poor educational outcomes, crime, incarceration, and poor health.
The time is ripe for action in creating the caucus and intiating an action plan to heal a fractured and oppressed community.