January 9, 2015
2014 was a year full of huge events. The loss of nine African American lives by the hands of the police. LeBron James returned to Cleveland. The Ebola scare came and went. Dr. Dre became the first hip hop billionaire. Domestic violence and parental discipline practices made headlines. Michael Sam became the first openly gay player in the NFL. The Bill Cosby saga. And FINALLY, we got a new D’Angelo album.
So, as we move toward 2015, it is officially time for more. More love. More understanding. More education. More opportunities for economical growth in our communities. More expectations for our own people. And with Wisconsin recently being named as the worst place for African Americans to live, it is more than ever time for our voices to be heard.
We recently asked several leaders in our community their wishes heading into 2015. These movers and shakers make up the fabric of change in our city. And just by looking at their individual wishlists, it should be easy to see that the time for change is amongst us.
Local Leaders Give Their Wishlist for 2015
Anthony Ward aka A.N.T. Da HopeBoy, Director of BROTHER program/Artist
“I wish for more actions and support in closing the disparity gaps that exist for minority's in Madison Wisconsin. I wish that every black boy in Madison will be reminded daily of his value and his importance to the world. I wish that Madison will create a live music venue for the people, by the people, where hip hop can take residency and not just visit.”
Bradley “DLO” Thomas, Marketing and Customer Service Supervisor-UW-Madison; Owner of DLOvision
I wish more hip hop artists would include inspirational or informative content in there art and realize that they are role models by default. I wish more people had happiness around the world.
Sabrina “Heymiss Progress” Madison, Poet/Motivational Speaker/Change Agent/Creator & Host of the Conversation Mixtape
I am wishing with all of myself to throw a “Living the Dream “ party with a purpose in the spring. Over the last few months I’ve been doing workshops with middle and high school students in which I work with them on how to protect their peace and their dreams. In doing so, I meet students who very much have attainable dreams. Lots of them already have the skill set of great leaders and successful entrepreneurs. They simply may need someone to help them to flush out the path to get there. I’m wishing to raise money in order to fund some of the dreams of local high school seniors. For example maybe a student wants to be a fashion designer and can use money for materials to get started. We’d fund her dream by helping to purchase the materials and get her partnered with a designer in the area to assist her on creating her first design! That my wish….to help young people essentially be living their dreams right now!
Rafael Ragland, Filmmaker, 608TV founder
My wish is to find sponsors! I’ve done fairly well with what I have but I’m due for a new camera and computer. Another wish would be to have someone build me a great website. All of the things that I need to create better movies and videos. My dream is to save and help a lot of people off the street and out of the street life through my films. I know kids love to act in my movies as well as adults so I would love to give them a real motion picture experience. And my final wish is to be able to open a space where I can offer free acting classes. These wishes are things I believe will help me to change the world in a loving way through my art.
Jessica Fleischmann, Math Teacher, James C. Wright Middle School
I wish for more involvement of young students of color in college readiness programs that include students with all ranges of GPA’s. I wish for social/emotional and decision making support programs for young boys and girls of color. I wish for thoughtful and strategic intervention services for young people just beginning school that intend to bridge Madison’s rising achievement gap.
Joe Maldonado, College Continuation Manager, Boys & Girls Club Of Dane County
I wish is that we live in a world where every child and adult has access to clean water, fresh local food, meaningful work, education, and a knowledge of who they are and where they come from.
￼￼￼Hedi Rudd, Development and Events Manager, Urban League of Greater Madison
I have personal wishes, like a camera and photography equipment of my own, a vacation to someplace warm or more time to spend with family and friends. Those things will come in time and because I am employed and have skills that will allow me to work for those things. What I really wish is that people would see the work that we are doing at the Urban League of Greater Madison in the area of Workforce Development and get on board. I wish that young men and women who are unemployed or underemployed would stop by and learn about the programs we have that will help them gain the tools and knowledge needed to get on a sustainable career path. In particular, I wish those who are African-American would do so, because the numbers scream that they could benefit the most. I wish that employers would stand united with the Urban League of Greater Madison and other employment programs to ensure we have the resources to continue our work and jobs to put people into. I wish that everyone in our community would understand the importance of education and skill development and understood that everyone can and should contribute towards making the type of community that we want to live in. I wish that the next time Madison makes a best place to live list, that more people would question whether it was the best place for everyone and if not, do something about it. I wish people would support our President and stop making our country appear weak and fragmented and one that caters to a small percentage of people who control our nation’s resources. I wish we didn’t have to remind people that #blacklivesmatter and that we can make it more than a hashtag movement by actually doing things to make Black lives better. Lastly, I wish that I didn’t have an overwhelming sense of fear for my sons and grandsons Black lives. I wish that I could enjoy their growing to be considered. up and let them do so carefree and pain free. I wish that these were not just wishes.
Julian Holt aka Dj Big Juice, Radio Personality WORT 89.9
My wish is that we can bring a positive light to the Hip Hop scene here in Madison and on a global scale break down the walls of racism, sexism and all the ISM’s and build a society of communal peace and understanding of one another. Oh and last but not least I wish to make strawberry pancakes the official food of America taking over the reign of the good ol’ fashioned hot dog.
Carl Hampton, Special Assistant to UW-Madison Interim Vice Provost and Chief Diversity Officer Patrick Sims
My wish is that everyone has a healthy, happy and safe 2015 in a world where we continue to value diversity, equity and inclusion.
Alida Londais LaCosse, Music Educator, Madison Metropolitan Public Schools/Strings Teacher & Choir Director, Madison Music Makers/WORT Radio Station producer for The Insurgent Kiosk
I wish that we would as a Human Race find our True Divinity. I wish that we would stop judging each other…. appreciate each person & show understanding & celebration of creed, class, sexual orientation, economic class, educational level, spiritual journey destination.