By LaKeshia N. Myers
Forward. Not only is this Wisconsin’s motto, it was used as a clarion call by each of our constitutional officers during their inauguration. For many Wisconsinites, myself included, the election of Governor Evers was the dawn of a new era; the ability to move together as one, a united Wisconsin. However, based on the overwhelmingly monochromatic makeup of executive appointees, many people of color are questioning whether the “new day” has dawned or if this will be business as usual. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, in Wisconsin, African Americans make up roughly seven percent of the total population; Hispanics, seven percent; Asians, three percent; and Native Americans, one percent. Historically, ethnic minorities have rarely, if ever, been reflected in Wisconsin’s executive-level leadership.
The trend of the predominantly white workplace also extends to many state agencies and even the state capitol, where people of color makeup only a handful of the legislative staff. This does not bode well for Wisconsin if we are genuinely concerned with improving our image. If we intend to grow and move forward as a stronger, more equitable state, greater attention must be given to diversifying our state’s talent pool. This focus should not begin and end with the executive branch; it is necessary for all state agencies, legislative staff, and school districts etc. All Wisconsinites deserve to see themselves represented at every level of government and in every facet of industry.
I have hope that we can collectively become a more inclusive state. By acknowledging our past and being intentional in our quest to be equitable we can move forward. Governor Evers said it best, “We must turn the page on the tired politics of the past, and we must lead by example. It’s time to remake and repair our state and to reclaim our better history.” We must achieve this by working together, as one Wisconsin, by any means necessary.