Rep. Shelia Stubbs, chair of the Legislative Black Caucus, leads a virtual 2021 celebration of Black History Month.
The Legislative Black Caucus is circulating a resolution to recognize Black History Month. Like in resolutions of years past, the caucus’ 2022 resolution recognizes numerous Black citizens and their contributions to the state of Wisconsin and the country as a whole.
This year’s resolution, seeking to honor 33 individuals, is a stark contrast to a Republican-backed resolution to honor Black History Month. Introduced by Sen. Julian Bradley (R-Franklin), the GOP resolution lists the creator of Black History Month as the sole honoree. Last year’s resolution by the Legislative Black Caucus was rebuffed by Republican legislators, who objected to several of the activists and other individuals whom it recognized. It also listed Jay Anderson Jr., Jacob Blake, and other individuals killed or wounded during police encounters.
While some of those names have not made a repeat appearance, others are back on the list. Anderson, Blake and some community activists in Milwaukee did not reappear this time around. This year’s resolution recognizes Gab Taylor, co-founder of Program the Parks and a member of Standing Up for Racial Justice MKE, who was also listed last year. The resolution also mentions Nat Turner, preacher and leader of the1831 rebellion of enslaved Virginians, Hatian general and leader of the Haitian revolution Toussaint L’Ouverture, Black Panther Party Co-Founder Bobby Seale, and several other activists throughout time. Fred Hampton, a Black revolutionary activist who was killed in his sleep during a Chicago police raid on his home in 1969 makes the list. Documents and investigations since then have revealed the FBI’s involvement in the raid, which killed Hampton, who was only 21 years old at the time.
Prominent Black artists, writers, and journalists are also honored. From Nikole Hannah Jones, a Pulitzer Prize winning investigative journalist involved in the 1619 Project, to Angela Davis, a writer, teacher, activist and distinguished professor emerita at the University of California Santa Cruz. Bree Newsome, a filmmaker, musician, and activist who removed the Confederate Flag from the South Carolina State Capitol on July 10, 2015, is another honoree.
Colin Kaepernick, a civil rights activist and athlete who catalyzed a national movement among Black and brown activists by taking a knee during the National Anthem, also makes an appearance in the resolution. Giannis Antetokounmpo, a Milwaukee Bucks player who was the NBA’s most valuable player in 2019 and 2020, joins Kaepernick, along with four other athletes. Antetokounmpo led the Bucks to their second NBA championship in 2021.
Colin Powell, the first Black person confirmed as United States Secretary of State, is also recognized. Powell served through various presidential administrations in several roles, including as national security advisor, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and deputy national security advisor. Powell, like several other officials in the George W. Bush administration, has been criticized for pushing for the 2003 invasion of Iraq on the false premise that the Iraqi government had weapons of mass destruction. He died last year due to complications from COVID-19.
Milwaukee Police Chief Jeffery Norman is also honored in the resolution. Norman has had a long career in the department. He also holds a bachelor of science degree in criminal justice from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, a masters of public administration degree from Kaplan University, and a law degree from Marquette University Law School.
Those are just a few of the individuals spotlighted in the 2022 Legislative Black Caucus resolution for Black History Month. Although Black History Month has become a point of tension over the last couple of years in Wisconsin’s halls of government, the caucus plans to move forward with the recognition and celebration as it historically has.
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