Thirty-three-year-old Joshua Wright has lived in Madison, Wisconsin his entire life.
He grew up on the southside of town, playing youth football for the Southside Raiders. He graduated from West High School and later from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
While he’s made Madison his home, he realizes that living in the capitol city is oftentimes like living in a bubble.
"I feel like being here in Madison, Wisconsin, we live in a kind of bubble and that things, they sound very good. They sound like they’re on the right track," Wright said on a recent summer afternoon at the 2018 Unity Picnic & Black Expo put on by the Urban League of Greater Madison.
Wright pointed out that while Madison seems like an ideal place to live where everything is perfect, that's not the case for all of it's residents.
"They’re not always as rosy. I know that Madison, and the surrounding areas, have been highly rated in terms of places to live, but that’s really based on who you are and what kind of things you have access to and really just if it feels like you have opportunities to advance yourself," he said.
For Wright, it’s clear who in Madison isn't getting access to those opportunities, and he said it plainly: "Black and brown people."
Wright, who is black, continued.
"It’s not just contained to us, but at the same time, I did grow up here and it does seem like with things continuing to be as they were when I was growing up, I would hope that the issues got a little bit more traction instead of just continuing to come up and hit and be a media splash every five or 10 years and being like we really haven’t fixed this."
"They’re not always as rosy. I know that Madison, and the surrounding areas, have been highly rated in terms of places to live, but that’s really based on who you are and what kind of things you have access to and really just if it feels like you have opportunities to advance yourself," Joshua Wright said of Madison's bubble-like atmosphere.
Wright said education is the key to lifting the community up.
He works as a health educator and community project coordinator for the UW Carbone Cancer Center. And he hopes the next governor of Wisconsin will ensure that public education programs both in schools and outside of schools are funded for success.
"I am an education advocate proponent so just in terms of getting the word out there in any type of way about making sure that resources are available for people to learn whatever it is they want to learn to be productive," Wright said.
And Wright points to several organizations in Madison that are already on the ground, working in the community.
"There are efforts by people that are making a difference in terms of health and education and wellness," Wright said, mentioning The Foundation for Black Women's Wellness, the Rebalanced-Life Wellness Association and the Men’s Health and Education Center at JP’s Barber Shop by name.
"Being able to really lift them up and let them know that the work that they are doing is having a benefit, that people’s lives are changing because of the presence and the work that is being done," Wright said. "We want to continue to lift up those efforts because with a sustainable and consistent presence, those are the types of things that are going to help people feel more connected."