Wisconsin routinely ranks worst nationally with regards to social, economic, educational and health disparities. These disparities are especially apparent amongst Wisconsin’s African American children, families and communities. Longstanding efforts to address the social, political and economic complexities at the root of these disparities have been fragmented and piecemeal, unable to build and sustain longitudinal agendas that serve and support African American children, youth, adults and seniors. During an interview with the Capital Times in 2013, Reverend Dr. Alex Gee laid out a holistic agenda to better coordinate community-wide efforts. This new initiative, Justified Anger (JA), which includes an advisory board and five focus area working groups, seeks to strategically narrow racial disparities in the City of Madison in the areas of: (1) Education, (2) Incarceration, (3) Economic Development, (4) Family & Community Wellness, and (5) Leadership & Capacity Development.
Key priorities and empirically-informed strategies have been developed in each focus area to ultimately empower African Americans in Madison, Dane County, and beyond. In so doing, JA promotes an agenda that supports safe communities, educational achievement, economic development, workforce advancement, and broader renewal. In late May, the first phase of JA culminated with the presentation of the group’s framework for change, “Our Madison Plan,” to more than 700 community members. This vision includes historical analysis, policy reviews, and a conceptual strategy that can mobilize Madison around a shared agenda that addresses the unmet needs of African Americans across Greater Madison. At present, JA is preparing to assist community-based partners in executing a long-term strategy that expands opportunities, identifies resources, and establishes and renews relationships between citizens, policymakers, and leaders across the state. JA will move Madison from “worst to first” by building social capital through innovative interactions and collaborative approaches to drive systemic change.
- Justified anger: Rev. Alex Gee says Madison is failing its African American Community
- Our Madison Plan: Mobilizing Madison for Change
- Next Steps: Learning, Getting Involved, Expanding Your Influence