MILWAUKEE, MAY 25, 2018 - It is only through intentionality and togetherness that we can begin to change the narrative in our city, county, and state. I am saddened and frustrated by the divisive rhetoric and racial climate that seems to be getting worse as of late. Epidemic numbers of racial minorities are being unjustly scrutinized, brutalized and even killed at the hands of law enforcement in the U.S. In 2017 alone, police officers killed 1,129 people. That is more than the total number of U.S. soldiers killed in action around the globe. In addition, African Americans accounted for 27% of the people killed by law enforcement officers. African Americans made up 37%, of unarmed victims of police violence, which is almost three times their percentage of the U.S. population (13%).
In our own city, over the last couple of days, we have viewed disturbing video encounters between our Police Departments in Milwaukee and Wauwatosa involving the mishandling of African American males. One involved a 17 year old teenager and the other involved Milwaukee Bucks player, Sterling Brown. These are only the latest of incidents of police brutality against African Americans.
The police used unnecessary force in situations which has once again damaged trust between the police and the community. Unfortunately, these negative outcomes continue to be regular occurrences and are wreaking havoc in race relations and trust between African American families and those paid to protect us. I know our city is better than that, and it is imperative that this issue is addressed.
As an almost 100 year old organization, the Milwaukee Urban League is dedicated to empowering diverse populations and underserved communities through education, employment, health, housing, economic development, social justice, and civic engagement. Each day we work with individuals from millennials to baby boomers working professional jobs in business and the community or simply seeking jobs that provide a quality of life for themselves and their families. We work with students who are striving to learn and prepare themselves for postsecondary education or training and other career and job opportunities. Of course these groups include African American males who are doing the right thing, yet are living under the microscope being unnecessarily watchful and even paranoid with every move they make. How will we retain and attract needed diverse talent who contribute to this economy if they live in fear?
The Milwaukee Urban League stands with anyone in making this an environment of opportunity and prosperity, where all are treated fairly. I commit to participating in local forums and committees designed to address this matter and create win-win solutions.
Dr. Eve M. Hall