The Milwaukee Common Council voted 14-0 on September 20 in favor of a resolution that will create a city Office of African American Affairs tasked with improving the quality of life for African American Milwaukeeans.
Authored by Alderman Khalif J. Rainey, the measure will establish the Office of African American Affairs as a division of the City Clerk’s Office to analyze issues impacting the African American community and make policy recommendations. Alderman Rainey said it is critically important to have the office to guide and coordinate city departments in addressing the disparities that African Americans face in Milwaukee.
“Study after study, news article after news article cite Milwaukee as the worst place in the country to live as an African American person,” Alderman Rainey said. “In order to flip the script on Milwaukee’s shameful infamy, every policy decision we make should be guided by the question, ‘How will this address our racial disparities?’”
“The input and the discussion that this office will generate will have a substantial impact on the policies and budgeting decisions that will shape our city in the years to come,” said Alderwoman Milele A. Coggs, chair of the Finance and Personnel Committee. “This is both an acknowledgement that Milwaukee suffers from these racial disparities and a critical course correction to begin fixing them.”
Alderman Rainey said that the staffing makeup of the Office of African American Affairs will be determined in 2017 budget discussions in the weeks ahead.
“The creation of this office is an important step toward a more inclusive city with opportunities for everyone, regardless of race,” Community and Economic Development Committee chair Alderman Russell W. Stamper, II said.