By Nyesha Stone
Last Friday, Sept. 14, U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin came to Milwaukee to visit NAACP’s Office. While there, she sat down and spoke with the young Black leaders impacting Milwaukee about a variety of topics.
The leaders who talked with Baldwin were: Ranell Washington, assistant vice president of Business Banking at Town Bank; Marquayla Ellison, owner of Ellastic Designs, LLC; Jeffery Roman, an equity advocate, organizer, and strategist amongst other things; Tristan Hickman, a traffic engineer at Ayres Associates; Adam Gabornitz, senior project manager for tech advancement and outreach for Northwestern Mutual; Oby Nwabuzor, director of community impact for the American Heart Association; LaShawndra Vernon, executive director of Artists Working in Education (AWE); Latoya Newsom-Harris, a maternal and child health specialist and trainer in the Greater Milwaukee Area; Jordan Roman, president of the Milwaukee Urban League Young Professionals (MULYP); Anita Mogaka, a digital media consultant; Tokara Henry, owner of Bijou Nails & Company; and Dr. Lyah Holmes, member and co-chair of the Health and Human Services Facet for Cream City (WI) Chapter Links, Incorporated.
The meeting’s organizer Nadiyah Groves with the Tammy Baldwin for Senate campaign, started the meeting by introducing herself and then everyone went in a circle following suit. Four tables were put into a square shape, so everyone in attendance could see each other eye to eye.
After introductions, Baldwin shared her childhood story of not being able to receive health care because of a pre-existing condition. She explained how she worked with past President Barack Obama to ensure individuals stay on their parent’s health care plan until the age of 26 with the Affordable Care Act. Before the bill, she and others noticed that youth from 18-25 years of age didn’t have health insurance, so she stepped up and worked towards a solution.
“I had a voice in policy making and wanted to use that voice for people going through similar problems,” she said.
The discussion didn’t stop there. Gabornitz was one to not hold back when it came to expressing what he wants to see Baldwin do after the meeting, and how to get Milwaukee back to a successful city overall.
“What we were before [the Milwaukee community] has changed, and what we are needs to change,” said Gabornitz. “I just want to figure out how we get s*** done.”
Everyone at the meeting understood that one person can’t fix all of Milwaukee’s problem, but by having these types of meetings is a start. It was also stated, by a majority of the leaders, that it’s time to put an end to just talking, and then doing nothing afterward. Action has to be taken [Madison, in Congress and Washington D.C.] where most of the power resides.
Newsom-Harris said Milwaukee is a city of disparities, which everyone agreed to, and one of the biggest disparities is education. Throughout the entire meeting, education consistently came up. Newsom-Harris said we’re never going to develop a productive workforce—which was another topic at the meeting—until education for the entire state is fixed, especially in Milwaukee.
The meeting ended with how to get Baldwin back re-elected, and it all starts with voting. Baldwin said to anyone who isn’t sure about voting that this is how a democracy for the people works.
Early voting starts on Sept. 24. To learn more about voting locations and how to vote visit https://city.milwaukee.gov/VotingbyAbsenteeBall924.htm