I attended Alex Gee’s town hall meeting on racism this afternoon. It was very interesting. A standing room only crowd, traffic jams on Badger Road, politicians of all stripes including Senator Ron Johnson came together to listen to Alex speak about what’s happened in his life since his article in December. We learned about the coalition that has emerged in the African-American community and hopes for real change to some of the wide disparities in achievement, economic status, and incarceration.
In the comment period that followed, we heard from people eager to participate, some ideas on what to do, and the need to engage other people of color in this conversation. We also heard about some of the challenges faced by the African-American community–the problems faced by people who are trying to reincorporate into society after prison; problems of under- and unemployment among African-American women, and the absence at this conversation of people from the under-class. We also heard about efforts over the past decades–reports of inequities and racism in Madison going back to the sixties and people who had tried to initiate change in previous generations.
It was heartening to see so many people come together across the great divides in our city. We are separated by class, economic status, and education, and more often than not, we are also deeply divided by our faiths, including divisions within Christianity.
For more information and to get involved in Alex’s emerging efforts, visit the website: http://madisonjustifiedanger.wordpress.com/JustifiedAnger