Milwaukee, September 1: Community Call to Action re: the Public Safety Action Plan

Community Call to Action re: the Public Safety Action Plan

“If you are silent about your pain, they will kill you and say you enjoyed it.”
Zora Neal Hurston

Common Council’s Public Safety Action Plan is No Starting Point as Common Council President Ashanti Hamilton Stated
UBLAC’s Community Call to Action this Thursday at the 9 a.m. Common Council Meeting

This speaks truth to power and in many ways is a call to action. Similar to the Milwaukee Common Council’s Safety Action Plan. The draft report of the safety plan was scheduled for release at 4 p.m. Monday, August 21st. This release did not take place. Instead the plan was leaked to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, a press conference held, and many Milwaukee residents were left trying to figure out how exactly the Common Council managed to create a “plan” for public safety that will have the opposite of its intended effect.

Milwaukee residents have not been silent about our pain and we will continue to make our elected officials feel the pain of residing in the worst city for Black Americans, where 4 out of 5 Black children live in poverty. Milwaukee, where not only are our schools are underfunded, but the suspension rates for Black youth in Milwaukee high schools is also the highest in the nation. If we were to examine the state budget you might get the impression that Wisconsin prefers to fund corrections over education. If you examine the Common Council’s Public Safety Action Plan you will notice a trend. The Common Council’s safety plan acknowledges the aforementioned challenge’s Milwaukee faces while explicitly stating that this is not the plan to address them. Where is the plan to address them? We know that more police do not equal less crime. In fact, if Milwaukee were to hire an additional 280 police officers over the next two years in addition to their ongoing recruitment to replace retiring officers, this would lead to broken windows policing and encounters that can be deadly for Milwaukee residents.

The safety plan favors keeping those who have been arrested for “serious crimes,” including juveniles, in custody until their case is resolved. According to the Justice Policy Institute’s report on the Cost of Confinement, states that have significantly lowered the number of youth incarcerated were more likely to see bigger drops in crime than states that increased their correctional population. The burden of proof is on the Common Council to prove that locking up more youth will definitively improve public safety. Particularly when we are referring to the same youth who have experienced some level of adverse experiences as a child. The same experiences that the common council designated money towards for trauma informed services. Where is the line between trauma informed services and criminality?

Milwaukee we cannot allow this plan to go unchallenged. According to Patrick Curley, the chief of staff for Mayor Tom Barrett, “It’s more of a compilation than a plan,” Curley said. “And there’s certainly a lot of room to talk about the necessary resources for any one of the multiple recommendations.” While there is a discussion of whether this is a compilation or a plan UBLAC is clear that whatever it’s called it will not improve safety in the Milwaukee community. UBLAC invites the community out to the next Common Council Meeting.

WHEN: Thursday, September 1st at 9 a.m.
WHERE: Room 301-b at City Hall, 200 E. Wells
WHAT: Come voice your concerns about the Common Council Public Safety Plan recommendations.

UBLAC (Uplifting Black Liberation and Community)
A coalition of Black women, queer and trans people working toward Black liberation.

Zora Neale Hurston

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