Vol. 4    No. 20
OCTOBER 1, 2009 Archives

2009 Production Schedule


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 First, some great news. It may have come at the last moment, but the Urban League of Greater Madison met
its capital campaign fundraising goal of $4 million on Wednesday and qualified for its $380,000 Kresge
Foundation grant. As a matter of fact, it raised $4,111,720 as of Thursday night and they are still counting. All
together, they had 498 donors with a whopping 307 of them making a donation this week. Way to go Madison!
I think Annette Miller, the ULGM board chair and Ed Lee, interim CEO deserve a round of applause for getting
the job done in spite of the sudden transition in leadership they faced during the midst of the campaign. They
hung in there and got the job done. And the 498 donors deserve a lot of credit too for making this new chapter
in Urban League history possible so that it can serve the next generation of students and
unemployed/underemployed adults with the capacity that will allow it to get the job done.
 South Madison will also be turning a new page in its history when the Urban League moves into its new home
in The Village Mall next month. We expect great things to come out of the synergy that the League will have with
the agencies that are near it and the great people of South Madison.
 Again, congratulations Urban League of Greater Madison for getting it done!

***

 On September 30, a historical press conference was held on the steps of the City-County Building as County
Executive Kathleen Falk, County Board Chair Scott McDonell and the Dane County Task Force on Racial
Disparities in the Criminal Justice System issued its final report that detailed how Dane County’s racial
disparities in arrests and incarceration are often ranked the highest in the nation.
 Now you might say ‘Well, we’ve known that for years. It’s nothing new.’ Yes, we knew it, but it had never been
documented on this level before. I would equate its significance to the Report on the Academic Achievement of
African American Students that the then Madison Urban League released back in the late 1980s. Yes, everyone
knew the achievement gap existed between Black and White students, but it had never been documented in
such a public way before. That report spurred the creation of race and equity efforts within the Madison
Metropolitan School District, which lasted until they were dismantled under the pressure of the district’s
continued budget cuts.
 I hope that this report will spur a similar level of activity on the part of all local governments in Dane County
and that we will witness a diminishing and eventual elimination of this most ugly racial disparity. I believe Falk
and McDonell deserve a lot of credit for having the political will to seeing that this landmark report get
completed. Congratulations are also definitely in order for co-chairs Celia Jackson and Laurie Mlatawou. It is
their leadership that saw this project through in one year from start to finish.
 In my humble opinion, I think it is very important that the city of Madison and Dane County empower their Equal
Opportunities Commissions to monitor and evaluate our progress in implementing these recommendations
over the next decade lest these reports due to time and tight budgets begin to collect dust on a shelf
somewhere. It is important that these groups are able to make suggestions and report to their parent bodies on
the progress — or lack thereof — in implementing these recommendations. As Lucía Nuñez, the director of the
Madison Department of Civil Rights said at the press conference, “This is the civil rights issue of this
generation. History is going to judge us on how we deal with this and how we resolve these problems.”         
 We need the institutional capacity to make it so!

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Reflections/Jonathan Gramling
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