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Wisconsin Lawmakers Discuss How To Better Serve People Of Color

Milwaukee Lawmakers Hold Wisconsin's First 'State Of Black And Brown Wisconsin Address'

Sen. LaTonya Johnson
Marylee Williams/WPR

Legislators from Milwaukee held the first-ever “State of Black and Brown Wisconsin Address” at the state Capitol to talk about issues in communities of color.

African-American and Latino legislators gathered Monday to discuss how the state could better serve people of color in Wisconsin.

Democratic Rep. David Crowley led the event and said he hopes legislators in both parties hear the concerns and try to solve them.

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“When it came down to the issues, I think that this is a great platform for us to finally talk about what’s affecting our communities, because a lot of the time it’s pure ignorance. And I don’t mean that in a disrespectful way. It just means you haven’t been taught,” Crowley said.

Speakers at the event said the state needs to do a better job addressing disparities in graduation and employment rates for minorities, and housing for minorities. They also called on the state to reduce recidivism in Wisconsin’s prison system.

Democratic Sen. Lena Taylor brought up how the state doesn’t adequately serve minority youth, pointing out a flawed foster care system and the failed juvenile prison Lincoln Hills.

“I would be remiss if I (didn’t tell) you about our problems in our state being the worst place in the nation to raise a black child and be a black American,” Taylor said.

She added that the state needs to work together to confront these problems.

Democratic Rep. JoCasta Zamarripa also spoke on Monday. She said Republicans who run the government are blocking reforms that could help the Latino community, and it’s important to put pressure on them.

“This is the fastest growing constituency in the state, the Latino community, and you better start to do some proactive things in the Legislature.”