February 3, 2020
At the kickoff for Black History Month in the State Capitol Monday morning, Gov. Tony Evers raised the issue of independent, nonpartisan redistricting, as he did in his State of the State address.
Black disenfranchisement, he said, did not end with the passage of the Thirteenth Amendment, he noted, adding that gerrymandering contributes to it to this day.
He said we need a “fair count” on the 2020 Census, and then we need to “use that count to draw fair and impartial maps” so that everyone in Wisconsin has “the same voice and the same visibility.”
Evers also said: “When many forces seem determined – and they are determined – to divide us by hate, we must recognize that diversity makes us stronger and smarter, not weaker.”
The event was sponsored by the Wisconsin Legislative Black Caucus, and Rep. David Crowley praised Evers. “It’s nice to have a partner in the East Wing” who understands and advocates for the black community in Wisconsin, he said.
Crowley mentioned some existing threats to the African American vote, such as the proposed purging of the voter rolls, the new “tougher on crime” bills that Republican legislators have introduced, and a lack of full funding for an accurate Census in 2020.
Sen. Lena Taylor said, “We are a resilient people.” And she urged everyone: “Ask ourselves, What are we doing for equity and inclusion across Wisconsin?”
Rep. Shelia Stubbs said, “There is a lot of work left to be done,” and noted that “we have the worst racial disparities in the country.” But she vowed: “We’re going to change those disparities.”
Lt. Gov. Mandela Barnes added, “We know there are forces standing against our progress.” But he, too, vowed: “We will fight for a more fair Wisconsin.”