Compiled by Courier Staff
For the city of Milwaukee and especially the African American community there were a few highlights believe it or not. The Milwaukee Courier’s longtime social columnist, Mattiebelle Woods was honored with a street naming dedication on what would have been her 108th birthday on Oct. 31, 2011. The street which is actually a triangle is located on 27th and Center Streets.
Also, our own nationally renowned urban farmer Will Allen, CEO & Founder of Growing Power continued to build on his dream, and also announced an initiative to create 150 new jobs aimed at African American males in Milwaukee. With legislation signed by Mayor Barrett followed by a unanimous vote by Milwaukee’s Common Council, Growing Power, Inc. was awarded $425,000. to build 150 hoop house gardens on vacant land within the city, thus the job creation opportunity.
This year’s United Way of Greater Milwaukee campaign raised a record $50 million, exceeding its $48 million goal by $2 million. With the funds, the United Way will help more than 400,000 people in 2012 through more than 160 programs in education, income, health and social services at more than 80 local agencies.
The re-opening and remodeling of the Villard Avenue Library, the new development is now the Villard Square branch at 5190 N. 35th Street. The new mixed-use building, for the first time, one of Milwaukee’s neighborhood libraries occupies the ground floor of a building with privately-owned affordable apartments located above. The grand re-opening was celebrated with a parade, UW-Milwaukee’s vice chancellor, Joan Prince, Alderman Ashanti Hamilton and Mayor Tom Barrett lead the way carrying books to the library. This project represented an investment of more than $11 million in the Villard Avenue neighborhood.
Nationally, the top story of 2011 was the death of Osama bin Laden. The killing of Osama bin Laden during a raid by Navy SEALs on his hideout in Pakistan was the top news story of 2011, followed by Japan’s earthquake/tsunami/ meltdown disaster, according to The Associated Press’ annual poll of U.S. editors and news directors.
For African Americans nationally, the most positive top story had to be the official dedication of the Dr. King Monument in Washington, D.C. This Monument marked the first of its kind for non-president, and the first one dedicated to an African American.
This feat was spearheaded by Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc., the first collegiate fraternity for African American men whose members include Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Thurgood Marshall, Milwaukee attorney John Daniels, Jr., Milwaukee physicians Dr. Randle Pollard and Dr. William Finlayson, who also has claim to being classmates with Dr. King while they attended Morehouse College in Atlanta, GA.
And also nationally for the Black press of America, a report entitled, ‘The State of the African American Consumer Report’, a collaborative effort by Nielsen, a leading global provider of insights and analytics into what consumers watch and buy, and The National Newspaper Publishers Assoiciation (NNPA), a federation of more than 200 Black community newspapers across the U.S.
And before the end of 2011, President Obama’s poll numbers begin to rise as he takes a stand with Republicans regarding the payroll tax extension. Let’s hope the numbers continue to rise as the Tea Party continues to lead Republicans down the road of diaster and confusion.
On the other side of the coin, controversial and more negative headlines were lead by the name ‘Governor Scott Walker’. Even before 2010 ended, the newly elected governor followed through with his hatred of the ‘High Speed Rail Project’, and even before he took his oath of office the deal was taken back by the federal government. He continued his reign of slash, and attacked union collective bargaining rights, new unnessary voter ID laws, stomped on school budgets, opened the door for unlimited charter school chaos, attacked BadgerCare, and let us not forget the new concealed carry gun laws. But, let us give him credit for inviting a select few of Black Milwaukeeans for some snacks and promises to the Governor’s Mansion before the end of the year but two weeks after the launch of the ‘Recall Walker Campaign’.
Some hopes for 2012…we could all use some financial and work opportunities…but it looks like the public will have the opportunity to elect some new blood into some upcoming elections, energize and make those elected officials who have served for a long time more accountable…and hopefully recall the current governor who has created the most polarizing atmosphere probably in Wisconsin history.