–submitted by Valerie Johnson; photo by Mike Engelberger
Following a song with the line “greater things are still to be done in this city” sung by a group from his church’s choir, The Rev. Dr. Alexander Gee, Jr. told Rotarians Madison is often accused of being a tale of two cities: the best place for some and the worst for others.
For the past fifteen months, Gee and members of the Justified Anger Leadership Team convened countless meetings with hundreds of African American Madisonians. They asked what the African American community thinks about racial disparity in Dane County and what suggestions they would make to address the disparity. Five focus areas were identified: education, economic development, incarceration, leadership and capacity development, and family and community wellness.
A framework document was developed, and community leaders were asked to sign up for workgroups in the five focus areas. The next phase will be for African-American leaders to sit with community stakeholders to find common measurables, stand together and then carry out plans for these focus areas. “This is an opportunity to stand on the same side,“ Gee said.
The group also plans to raise $1.5 million by January of 2016 to hire staff. Gee says they will not create programs but rather they will advocate for equity, train for diversity and build capacity for change.
“Designing this document was historical,” Gee said, “Implementing it will be magical.”
In addition to his ministerial, consulting and academic activities, Gee is a co-author (Jesus & The Hip Hop Prophets, InterVarsity Press 2003) and author (When God Lets You Down, InterVarsity Press 2006). He received his Doctoral Degree in Transformational Leadership for Global Cities at Bakke Graduate University (BGU), in Seattle, Washington in June 2009.
The 50-page report is available by clicking: www.MobilizeMadison.com.
We would like to thank the Fountain of Life Covenant Church Choir members who sang the opening song at our Rotary meeting on June 3: Becca May Grant, Alicia Cooper, Lena Archer and Cynthia Woodland.