I read this BS this morning and damn near pissed in my pants!
We’ve got the Bucks. The NFL draft. ‘Hamilton’ on the way. Wauwatosa alderman questions need for inclusion commission
A Wauwatosa alderman has raised questions about a citizen group’s proposal to promote inclusion and equality.
Tosa Together, formed in 2016, is asking for a city committee to focus on issues “embedded” in the community,” said Lynne Woehrle, the group’s organizer.
Ald. Jason Kofroth cited several examples of the ways minorities are celebrated.
Look at the popularity of the Milwaukee Bucks, he said at a meeting this week of the city council’s government affairs committee. A new arena is full of people “who are all cheering a team that is almost all African American.”
And there’s the recent NFL draft, which he described as a “celebration of a lot of minority players.”
And the Brewers and Major League Baseball celebrate Jackie Robinson Day every year, Kofroth said, with all players wearing number 42 to honor the first African American in the majors.
He didn’t stop with sports references.
The Broadway hit “Hamilton” is coming to Milwaukee. “(The play) is very impactful that you have minorities that are playing out roles that were about white people and how that has been accepted around the entire country and in Milwaukee,” he said.
New data from the U.S. Census Bureau shows an increase in median age, as well as growth in all racial and ethnic demographics. Video provided by Newsy Newslook
Kofroth, who is white, pointed to all those examples and questioned how they fit “into the narrative that you’re (Tosa Together) showing (that) we don’t have that inclusion and equality in our community right now.”
Woehrle responded: “I guess my first reaction is how many hours do you have?”
She said the examples Kofroth cited are the very reason the commission is needed.
A packed room full of Wauwatosa and Milwaukee residents showed overwhelming support for the proposal.
City resident and small-business owner Nydia Mauras-Jones said that when she speaks to people of color, they say Wauwatosa has fun things to do and great restaurants — but they don’t feel like they belong.
“You can’t change a story by posting a nice picture on a website … You have to be authentic,” Mauras-Jones said.
Isiah Holmes, a Wauwatosa East High School graduate, said that over summer vacation he was stopped 23 times by police. Holmes was told he matched a description of someone police were looking for.
“You are taught as an African American male to cooperate in order to make it home from those encounters,” Holmes said.
He said residents provide information to police about “suspicious” cars or people even when he and others of color are just walking by and not doing anything wrong.
“I felt hunted,” Holmes said.
Referring to Kofroth’s comments about the Bucks, Holmes said: “That is all well and good man, but is that enough? Is that enough, because I don’t think so.”
Kofroth also asked about a sentence that was in an earlier version of Tosa Together’s rationale given to him in April, but had been deleted.
It said: “While discrimination is no longer legal, the suburbs have remained overwhelmingly white and Christian until recently.”
Kofroth wanted to know what the term “overwhelmingly white and Christian” meant and why the language had been removed.
Woehrle, who is also white, said the document was edited a number of times. The language wasn’t removed for “any underhanded reason,” but in a response to what people felt was important, she said.
In a phone interview Wednesday, Kofroth said he was just asking questions at the meeting, not making any kind of commentary.
“I was asking how you determine what is considered overwhelmingly white or Christian, and is that a bad thing?” he said.
Kofroth also said he wasn’t suggesting there are no biases or racial issues in the city.
The proposal is expected to be taken up again at an upcoming government affairs meeting.
Contact Karen Pilarski at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter at @KarenPilarski.