Milwaukee, WI—On Tuesday, at Milwaukee City Hall, the African American Roundtable (AART), its partners, and community members held a rally and press conference to demand participatory budgeting and highlight community priorities in the 2023 budget. The event was held immediately after Mayor Chevy Johnson’s budget meeting with the Common Council, where he proposed to continue spending nearly $300 million, or 44 percent of the city’s budget, on the Milwaukee Police Department.
For almost the last three years, residents have made it clear–through public testimonies–that they don’t want MPD receiving such a large percentage of the city’s budget. AART believes that Milwaukee only has one viable option, which is to listen to the will of the people and defund MPD and invest those funds in neighborhoods to support adequate housing, mental health services and opportunities for the city’s youth.
“It’s clear that Mayor Johnson’s first budget fails to meet the needs of the people of Milwaukee,” said Devin Anderson, AART’s Membership and Coalition Manager. “Continuing the status quo will lead Milwaukee towards bankruptcy.”
“As a far Northwest Side resident, I say give our people decision-making power and the agency to execute our decisions through participatory budgeting and let us keep us safe,” said Ryeshia Farmer. AART’s Community Programs Manager. “It is clear that this city’s current budget process just can’t do that.”
AART will continue to fight for a Milwaukee where all residents have the freedom to thrive. The organization believes participatory budgeting is the first real step in creating safer, liberated communities.
About the African American Roundtable
The African American Roundtable (AART) is an assembly of partners led by and serving the African-American community in Milwaukee. AART exists to empower and organize the community to transform policies so African Americans can thrive and live at their greatest potential. AART collaborates to show power, amplify each others’ voices, nurture leadership, promote racial equity and accessibility, and pass policies to radically improve the lives of African Americans in Milwaukee. Learn more at liberatemke.com.