The NAACP Milwaukee Branch reiterates our prior statements and joins the call for ending the violence that occurs in our community on a regular, almost daily basis.
We abhor the murders and other violence that has plagued our community.
The recent shooting of 10-year-old Sierra Guyton highlights the insanity of it all. Obviously, this criminal conduct is unacceptable and cannot be condoned or tolerated.
We must work with law enforcement and community stakeholders to contain and reduce crime but, beyond that, each of us as individuals, and collectively as a community must be responsible and accountable to each other.
At the same time, we as a society must not lose sight of the root causes for much of the violence. The poverty, unemployment rates and disparities in income and opportunity affecting Milwaukee’s African American community are among the highest in the nation.
The fact is that few African Americans or others with jobs and opportunities commit murder or other violent crimes.
This means that all of us – elected officials, business leaders, faith community, community organizations, educational institutions – have an important role to play in addressing these issues.
It is not enough to express outrage about the violence.
We must also be outraged by the circumstances that contribute to this situation, and we must take actions and implement policies that address these circumstances and conditions.
We must move the needle and reduce disparities by creating jobs and socioeconomic opportunities to transform our community into a Milwaukee that is inclusive for all.
The mission of the NAACP is to promote equality for all people and to oppose discrimination based on race.
We feel strongly that working to increase public safety is consistent with that mission.
However, we know that the way to resolve it is not only by calling for a stop to the violence, but also by taking specific, meaningful and targeted steps to eradicate its root causes.
We call for actions that address the lack of jobs and opportunity, the imbalance in education, and the general hopelessness that permeates our community.
We also call on all citizens to be accountable to each other and to the community. We all have a stake in this and must do our part.
James H. Hall, Jr., President NAACP – Milwaukee Branch