Today Mayor Tom Barrett addressed the City of Milwaukee during his State of the City Address. He mentioned an affordable housing initiative, our newest library on the city’s south side, downtown’s streetcar, the drinking water partnership with Waukesha, and a home renovation project in the Sherman Park neighborhood. He talked about the work being done in the Health Department under the new interim Health Commissioner Dr. Patricia McManus. Mayor Barrett also mentioned the Fire and Police Commission and their work to appoint Milwaukee Police Department’s new interim Chief of Police Alfonso Morales.
However, at a time when the community’s voice is so critical to the work that must be done in our city –particularly around police reform– it was quite disappointing that the mayor did not uplift the hard work of the Milwaukee Collaborative Community Committee. This committee has been charged with convening and hosting community hubs to facilitate discussions and gather feedback in response to the Department of Justice’s 55 findings and 101 recommendations regarding MPD and the Fire and Police Commission. The Mayor’s office, members of the Common Council, Fire and Police Commission, and MPD have all expressed the importance of this work and the need to work collaboratively. The African American Roundtable wants to make sure their work is continually supported.
Milwaukeeans are working extremely hard to ensure the voices of those affected by current police policies are heard and that their recommendations are prioritized. This past weekend over one hundred community residents were able to share their feedback on the recommendations to the DOJ’s draft report at the Southside Organizing Center’s Safety Summit. We are pleased that the community showed up and look forward to hosting more community hubs to hear from additional residents throughout the city.
It is our hope that the mayor acknowledges and uplifts the work of the community, specifically those working to ensure the voices that so often go unheard are a part of real change in our city. Our city has never seen a community led committee nor these particular agencies working together in this capacity. This committee is responsible for carrying out a very important task, but we are ready and want leadership to know we are watching.