Milwaukee aldermen voted unanimously Tuesday to create a city Office of African American Affairs.
The Office of African American Affairs will be “tasked with improving the quality of life for African American Milwaukeeans,” and will “analyze issues impacting the African American community and make policy recommendations,” according to a news release from Alderman Khalif Rainey, who led the push to create the office.
Rainey said the Office of African American Affairs is needed to guide and coordinate city departments in addressing the disparities that African Americans face in Milwaukee.
“Study after study, news article after news article cite Milwaukee as the worst place in the country to live as an African American person,” Rainey said. “In order to flip the script on Milwaukee’s shameful infamy, every policy decision we make should be guided by the question, ‘How will this address our racial disparities?’”
Rainey was also the author of legislation to create a Milwaukee County Office on African American Affairs when he was a member of the County Board.
“The input and the discussion that this office will generate will have a substantial impact on the policies and budgeting decisions that will shape our city in the years to come,” said Alderwoman Milele A. Coggs. “This is both an acknowledgement that Milwaukee suffers from these racial disparities and a critical course correction to begin fixing them.”
“The creation of this office is an important step toward a more inclusive city with opportunities for everyone, regardless of race,” Community and Economic Development Committee chair Alderman Russell W. Stamper, II said.
The Office of African American Affairs will be a division of the City Clerk’s Office. Rainey said that the staffing makeup of the Office of African American Affairs will be determined in 2017 budget discussions in the weeks ahead.