If you breathe air or drink water, listen up. The Legislature has the ability to impact your air, land and water — and all indications are that the session beginning Jan. 5 will not be a positive one for our natural resources. A review of the last session combined with the recent election results shed a little light on what we’re up against.
We as human beings had the ability to dig ourselves into this ditch of racism and we can dig ourselves out. Here are seven things I know for sure about racism:
Obviously and unfortunately, there are many similarities among the matters involving Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, Eric Garner in New York and the Dontre Hamilton situation here in Milwaukee.
Actually, it is even clearer than in the other two cases that the victim — Dontre Hamilton — was not approached by a police officer based on an alleged reasonable suspicion of criminal activity, as there was no suspicion of crime in Mr. Hamilton’s case, and still the interaction led to the same outcome — his death at the hands of a police officer.
ColorOfChange.org, the nation’s largest online civil rights organization, is urging both local and national media to be particularly mindful of their coverage of the protests in Ferguson, Missouri and across the country in the wake of the grand jury’s impending decision regarding Officer Darren Wilson.
Recognition of the dangers posed by a hostile media climate for Black people is crucial at this very important juncture in our nation’s history. In the wake of yet another young life lost to police violence, hundreds of thousands have taken to the streets to express their outrage and demand better of law enforcement, as well as our justice system. This is a constitutional right. Our media should aid in the protection of those rights, rather than contribute to a racist drumbeat against them.
Formalizing a decision already hinted at in 2013, the National Basketball Association included as a condition of the Milwaukee Bucks’ sale that a new arena be constructed to house the team. If a new arena was not constructed, the league could buy back the team, potentially resulting in Milwaukee losing the Bucks as our professional basketball franchise.
The midterm election results were obviously not everything that progressives were hoping for. However, many strong progressive champions were elected to the Legislature across Wisconsin. This includes two new state senators — Janis Ringhand in Janesville and Janet Bewley in Ashland. Four new progressive state assembly members under the age of 35 also were elected on Nov. 4, which means we now have 10 Democrats under 35 serving in the Legislature. The youth movement among progressives is alive and well.
Progressives have important work to do to rebuild our infrastructure. This will not happen overnight. If we want to be successful, we must first focus on recruiting and electing champions to local office. Mayors, county board supervisors, town board chairs and school board members all serve as an important check on conservative overreach coming from the state Capitol. They are the officials who have to endure the consequences of the policies created by the Republican majority. In the years to come, we must rely on these local elected officials to provide a voice for progressives — and to make it clear that decisions made in Madison affect Wisconsinites every day.
With November’s elections failing to achieve a change in leadership, the year 2014 was disappointing for progressives.
Congrats are due to two bona fide lesbian geniuses: artist Alison Bechdel and legal eagle Mary L. Bonauto. Both received prestigious MacArthur Foundation genius grants in 2014.
Wisconsin Gazette celebrates its fifth anniversary this month. It’s a wonderful accomplishment in this era when newspapers are struggling and face competition from so many digital distractions.