February 13, 2015
In September of 2014, Livability magazine published an article reporting Madison, WI as the top 100 places to live in the United States of America. This is based on our great university, research investment, and jobs. The article also indicated that Livability prides itself in saying the foundation of its measurement of cities lies in the idea that the city should work for everyone. This number one ranking gives the citizens of our city reason to celebrate. However, our beloved city lies in the heart of Dane County, a place that has been reported as the worst county in the United States of America for an African American family to live, according to the “Race to Equity” report.
The Equal Opportunities Commission for the city of Madison applauds the report by Livability but also calls into question particularly the notion that its measurement tool lies in the idea that the city should work for everyone. If Dane County is failing its African American community, it is safe to assume the same problem exists in the city of Madison. Our community prides itself in being progressive, forward thinking, and inclusive. If we are to live by what we believe in and we know a segment of our community is struggling and or excluded, we must move towards action.
As a city, we have recently celebrated the great work of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. In the spirit of what he stood for, we challenge the community as individuals and collectively by leaving you with one of his quotes, “the ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.” The city of Madison for most is comfortable and convenient, but for others it is challenging. Regardless of where we are as individuals and as a community, we must come together to meet the challenges of those in need and effectively eliminate the challenges so Madison can truly be the number one city to live in for ALL!
On behalf of the Equal Opportunities Commission
Note: The full original PDF version of this letter to the editor is available here.