By Karen Stokes
During the final days of Black History Month the community was invited to a social hour at Tropic MKE to meet with special guest Dr. Hasan Jeffries.
Wisconsin Democrats (WisDems) Black Caucus and the Milwaukee County Democrats, hosted the event and guests had the opportunity to eat, drink and socialize with Supreme Court Justice candidate, Judge Janet Protasiewicz, Dane County Circuit Court Judge Everett Mitchell, Representative LeKeisha Myers and other leaders in the Democratic Party.
The race for Wisconsin’s high court has been referred to as the most important election in America in 2023, according to the New York Times.
“We have this national spotlight that’s on us right now. We want to use it to make sure we galvanize everybody together to see that all of our issues are brought to the table to see that everybody has an opportunity for justice. Justice is not just what you say, it’s what you do,” Mitchell said.
Jeffries, an Associate Professor of History at The Ohio State University is an American historian and scholar who specializes in African American history. Widely recognized for his scholarship on the Civil Rights Movement and the African American experience, his work has helped to deepen the understanding of the African American experience and its continuing significance in the shaping of American society.
Jeffries is the brother of Minority Leader of the House of Representatives, Hakeem Jeffries.
History was at the forefront of his message. History, racism, globalization and mobilization.
“History is under assault, historical truth is under assault. If you understand the present you can chart your course for the future,” the Associate Professor said. “From the founding of this nation to that particular moment in the mid 20th century the federal courts have been hostile to Black people. We are really at a turning point at the moment where we are repeating history.”
On the fight against racism, Jeffries said, “Racism is the most powerful political organizing ideology that America has ever created and they’re still using it and it’s still effective so we can’t play the colorblind game. We have to call it out all the time when we see it. We’re fighting for what’s just and unjust. We are really at a turning point. We have to take this moment and disrupt those forces.”
“For change you have to have pressure from above but you have to have pressure from below like the NAACP,” Jeffries continues. “You have to have mass globalization. You have to have people out in the streets. It isn’t enough to globalize from the top, it has to be a grassroots effort. We need mobilization and education.”
The 2023 Wisconsin Supreme Court election will be held on Tuesday, April 4, 2023, to elect a justice to the Wisconsin Supreme Court for a ten-year term.