SHORWOOD, WI – The Village of Shorewood Board of Directors passed a resolution at its regular meeting on Monday that sets a framework for how the village organizes work done on issues of equity, diversity and inclusion .
The resolution is the culmination of a long-standing discussion in the community and with Milwaukee County on how to approach countywide EDI issues locally. The framework describes how the village will seek to organize efforts towards equity, diversity and inclusion in the future, but this is not the last piece of the puzzle.
“I think we’ve come a long way to make this kind of issue a priority for us,” Administrator Wesley Warren said at the meeting. “That doesn’t mean we’re near the end or the middle of the trip, the real hard work is making this actionable and taking the next steps.”
“Understand, listen, make sure we understand the experience of the people within our community, the recognition that we need to improve, and the hard work begins now,” said Warren.
At the top of the framework is a key goal: “By achieving racial equity, Milwaukee will be the healthiest county in Wisconsin. ”
The local efforts come after Milwaukee County declared racism a public health crisis in 2019. Three concepts are leading the way in addressing the public health crisis: creating intentional inclusion, bridging the gap, and investing in it. equity.
“There appears to be a general consensus that aligning with a metro-wide approach to achieving racial equity in Milwaukee County, and thinking about DCI Village initiatives within a framework, is laying an important foundation for the long-term commitment required to remove barriers to diversity, equity and inclusion, ”Village President Ann McKaig wrote in her report to the board on the framework.
At the forefront of these concepts is a clear racial gap in Milwaukee County. The data presented by the county at previous Shorewood meetings was “blatant,” a county official said:
Black infant mortality is more than double the white infant mortality rate in Milwaukee County; Milwaukee County does not have access to food at higher rates than surrounding counties; homeownership occurs at half the rate for blacks and whites in Milwaukee County, and the list goes on.
A report released Oct. 13 by The Sentencing Project found that one in 36 black adults in Wisconsin is in jail.
There are four key elements as part of the village resolution:
- Education: A commitment to learn – both individually and as a community – about the lived experiences of people of color.
- Awareness: Communicate what the Village is doing to tackle EDI issues.
- Training: Applying a fairness lens to all decisions about how we do our work.
- Policy: Ensure that all decisions are grounded in the creation and maintenance of an inclusive community.
More details on the resolution can be found in the agenda of the last village board meeting on page 50.
County, Village meets
In July, village chiefs had a discussion with county officials at a Shorewood community development meeting.
Issac Rowlett, Milwaukee County strategic advisor, said at the July meeting that addressing health inequalities must be proactive.
CDA President Peter Hammond said challenges remain in getting everyone on the same page and finding the solutions that will actually come to fruition at Shorewood.
Milwaukee County Office of African-American Affairs Director Jeff Roman added to the feeling that “we need to integrate and socialize these conversations.”