The Office on African American Affairs (OAAA) was created to serve an integral role in “recognizing and resolving the County’s racial inequities for the benefit of all of its citizenry, and for the region to achieve its full potential.”
Under the County Executive, the Office shall further function to:
- Examine and define the issues central to the rights and needs of African Americans
- Advise policymakers and the public on recommendations for changes in programs and laws for the benefit of the African American community
- Develop and implement policies, plans, and programs related to the special needs of African Americans
- Promote equal opportunities for African Americans
Milwaukee’s racial inequities have existed for as long as Milwaukee has had a measureable African American population. While every American metropolitan area struggles with income inequality, concentrated poverty, unequal incarceration rates, disparate health outcomes, and poor overall quality of life for African Americans, Milwaukee is unique in the comprehensive issues faced by its African American population. Given this reality, it was critical to create the Office on African American Affairs to initiate a long-term effort to improve the condition of Milwaukee’s African American community.
Under the leadership and oversight of the County Executive, the Office will understand that Milwaukee is capable of being a great county for African Americans and will seek to empower the African American community to achieve positive, long-term, sustainable outcomes. It will do so through an honest assessment of today’s conditions and tomorrow’s possibilities. It will demonstrate the courage to address complex and difficult issues in a well-rounded manner, It will exercise the discipline to maintain a focus on quality decision-making, the use of best practices, and an efficient and effective service delivery model. It will have the humility needed to work with the community and other stakeholders in a way that respects all points of view and acknowledges the contributions of all to both Milwaukee’s challenges and Milwaukee’s solutions.
In accomplishing its mission, the Office will focus both on the internal workings of Milwaukee County government as well as the conditions of the Milwaukee County community at-large. While Milwaukee’s racial issues are complex and interrelated, a key component of any successful strategy for improving those conditions will be policies and programs that increase access to jobs for those who need them. This is why the first action of the Office on African American Affairs has been to conduct a workforce development mapping exercise that analyzes the variety, strength, breadth, and depth of the various workforce development initiatives that exist within Milwaukee County Departments.
The ambitious mission of the Office on African American Affairs cannot be accomplished by Milwaukee County alone. This is why the Office will lead a strategy that utilizes robust partnerships throughout the community to conduct a collective impact approach to its mission. The first step in a successful collective impact approach, aside from assessing current community resources and building partnerships, is hearing from the community. One of the first activities of the Office will be to hold a series of community meetings in Milwaukee County to get the community’s perspective on how the mission of the Office on African American Affairs can be accomplished.
To receive future updates and provide input on the Office's direction, click here.
To contact the Office on African American Affairs, email AfricanAmericanAffairs@milwaukeecountywi.gov