The recent spate of shootings in our community and last week’s announcement of a $13.5 million settlement of a suit brought by the Black Health Coalition of Wisconsin (BHCW) and Milwaukee Innercity Congregations Allied for Hope (MICAH) against the Wisconsin and U.S. Departments of Transportation to increase access to jobs outside Milwaukee county by creating and expanding bus routes are interrelated.
How, you ask?
Jobs are seen by many poltiical figures and law enforcement officials in Milwaukee and the city’s Black community as the best way to decrease the high crime rate–especially the homicide rate–that dogs our community.
The $1.7 billion Zoo Interchange project currently underway ignores the needs of those who depend on public transportation to reach jobs that are increasingly being created outside the city of Milwaukee and Milwaukee County.
Approximately $11.5 million will be spent over the next four years to create bus routes that will transport workers between Milwaukee and suburban communities that have built business parks that are attracting manufacturing companies, corporate headquarters, and financial institutions that generate billions of dollars in revenue and thousands of jobs.
With a good paying job that can support a family, a person is NOT very likely to hold up a corner store or gas station; or be so stressed and angry about not having a way to support a family, they take their frustration out on someone else, whether known or unknown to them, with a gun.
With a good paying job, there is no need to sell drugs on a street corner to support a family and risk loss of life due to competition or robbery.
Yes, the settlement and the city’s rising homicide numbers are very much intertwined.
That is why what the BHCW and MICAH accomplished is so important to the welfare of our community and its future–especially for our children, who have become unwitting collatoral damage brought on by senseless violence committed by individuals with misplaced rage and bravdo.
We hope the two government entities and the suburban businesses who are targeted by the settlement will not fight BHCW and MICAH, but work with them to create opportunities for our community’s jobless, who only want to work to support their families and give their children a brighter, better future.