by Taki S. Raton
She is a Milwaukee Native and a third generation human rights activist. She has been a visible advocate for a variety of service populations to include health care recipients, children, youth and young adults and senior citizens. She currently serves as Chair of the Milwaukee County Human Trafficking Task Force. Her name is LaShawndra Vernon and her goal is to represent those in need of support and services while encouraging and developing self advocacy initiatives. Vernon is also a candidate for Wisconsin State Assembly Representative of the 18th District. As a member of the National Association for Community Mediation since 2010, she has a specialized focus on restorative justice and community mediation. Vernon is driven by a commitment to provide information and growth strategies to service organizations and educational institutions. She conducts training in Conflict Transformation, Proactive Communication and provides services and support to victims of crime. She brings a solutions oriented approach to change and her priority will be to listen to the people of the 18th District and work with the community to present their ideas, concerns and issues to the Assembly with passion and rigor. “I have served as an advocate for disadvantaged populations for over 20 years,” says this 18th District candidate. “I have worked as a case manager and primary investigator on community health studies and have lobbied for health care, education reform, women’s equality and human rights. It is now time to move to the next level. The 18th Assembly District of Milwaukee needs to have a voice unafraid to speak truth to power,” she adds. Education and public schooling is one of her key issues. She contends that the cuts to public education have in her words “demolished the school system.” She seeks to improve the schools from within instead of closing them down and she also seeks to encourage family involvement in education that would inspire lifelong learners, an investment which she believes would be in the public interest.
“As a proud graduate of Rufus King High School, I was given the opportunity to explore my talents and aspire to lead in many unique ways. “During my days at Rufus King, we were among the top high schools in the nation. We must improve the public school systems and ensure that public and private educations are equally funded,” she positions.Vernon says that our youth must be given all of the quality tools necessary in their education if they are to become productive members of society and asserts that, “it takes many villages to create a whole community. A balanced and equitable solution must be designed to meet the collective and shared interest of diverse neighborhoods.”She recently received the Changemaker Award from Public Allies Milwaukee, and was named the Wisconsin Grassroots Activist of the Year from the Women’s Caucus of the Democratic Party of Wisconsin in 2010.“I proudly endorse LaShawndra Vernon for the 18th Assembly seat,” says 6th District Alderwoman Milele A. Coggs. “Her leadership and her commitment to the neighborhoods that she would serve are evident by her body of work and her experience. “A person with her unique combination of education and dedication to the community is needed to continue the fight on the state level on our behalf,” she adds.Vernon has additional endorsements from Milwaukee Treasurer and Senator Spencer Coggs, the Amalgamated Transit Union (ATU), the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME), the Service Employees International Union (SEIU), the Wisconsin Education Association (WEAC), and the Milwaukee Teachers Education Association (MTEA). Interested persons desiring additional information on Vernon and her candidacy are urged to visit her website at www.votevernon.com. Voting dates are August 14, 2012 and again on November 6, 2012.
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