First Place. Really??

Last year Madison came in 5th in one of the many “Best Places to Live in America” surveys. According to the Wisconsin State Journal, City staff teamed up over the last year to work on improving our ranking. This year we finished 1st. Well done.

Efforts put forth to improve this ranking begs a question: As Madison is rated near the bottom, or even the worst, place in the U.S. for young black men in a number of critical areas (e.g. high school drop out rate, employment, incarceration), what is being done to help us improve those rankings?

The Justified Anger Coalition is working hard: listening to people who are most affected by our low ranking (children, ex-offenders, single moms, students, services professionals and community activists), planning and building strategic partnerships. As our plans are revealed and a vast coalition of individuals and organizations is mobilized, we will be able to work together to eliminate the unacceptable racial disparities that unfortunately are miserably affecting Madison and Dane County.

Below is a graphic that shows what we’ve been up to and what is coming in the next few months. We urge you to not let these matters “cool” or succumb to “issue fatigue” but instead to keep working to make a difference in our community by doing things such as:

  • continuing to read about these issues
  • talking with friends, family and coworkers about what you are learning and thinking about race relations
  • directing friends to our survey site ( to weigh in on offering solutions
  • joining our mailing list and asking friends to the same by clicking Join Us!

The strength of any sustained social movement lies within its grassroots structure. We appreciate your standing with us. You will have a chance to be a major part of our plan as things move forward. Thanks for staying connected and thanks for being a part of the solution.

We can and must bring about hope, transformation and justice for everyone.

Working together to take us from Worst to First,

Rev. Dr. Alex Gee, Jr.

JA Process Map 09162014

A Tale of Two Madisons.

Madison ranked most livable mid-size city in the U.S. - Wisconsin State Journal

As a lifelong resident of Madison, it does my heart good to hear good things about my community. As a lifelong African American resident of Madison, I read headlines like these with a great deal of cynicism and frustration. I wonder, which Madison are they talking about?

I own a home in this community. Of course I want it to be viewed and valued appropriately. I have nephews, nieces, congregants, godchildren and many loved ones in this community.  I want them and their needs to be viewed and valued appropriately as well. I long for a day when everyone in this community will celebrate headlines like the one above and everyone will cringe at headlines like this one: ‘Alarming’ racial disparities continue to plague Dane County - Wisconsin State Journal.
I do want Madison to be recognized for its bike trails, beautiful lakes and historic Farmer’s Market. My angst is that Madison will use this a
ccolade to celebrate its own press and will turn its attention away from the ugly and unacceptable issues that we must face and resource together.

I am torn and I don’t want to be. As I write this email from my office, I am looking out of my window at
Badger Road where balloons and beer cans remain in memory of a young man who was gunned down at that spot a few weeks ago – 100 yards from my desk and 30 feet from what will be our South Madison Field of Dreams basketball court and soccer field.

Here are just a few of Madison’s “other” realities as reported in the recent Race to Equity report by Wisconsin Council for Children and Families:

  • High school drop out for young African American males is at an all time high in this community – over 40%.
  • The academic disparity between African American and White 4th and 8th graders is the greatest in the county.
  • 50% of young African American males (18-24) are caught up in the criminal justice snare (incarcerated, on probation or parole). 50 percent!
  • Our state incarcerates more African American males than any other state in the U.S..
  • The unemployment rate for African Americans is 5 times higher than for whites.

Hopelessness abounds unnecessarily. When my staff, coalition and trusted colleagues (of all ethnic backgrounds) say that we love the community, we mean everyone in Our Madison.

Our coalition has been up to some amazing things lately. I will update you early next week on where we are and what you can be expecting. We need your collaboration now more that ever. Thanks for journeying with us.

Working for hope, transformation and justice,

Rev. Dr. Alex Gee, Jr.

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us, we were all going direct to Heaven, we were all going direct the other way. . . .

~Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens

We are grateful that you are interested in working to improve the racial inequality and eliminate the achievement gap in Madison.  The time for action is NOW, and we are uniting forces, bringing forth leaders to be held accountable, and getting ready to roll out the welcome mat of opportunity and dreams to everyone who calls Madison home.

Please take a few moments and help us by sharing your feedback and how you (might) want to be involved.

Click here to take the survey – and we will be contacting those who want to get more involved.

Thank you!

What a great turn out on Saturday February 15th, for the Justified Anger event.  Over 500 people turned out to support the cause and get involved.

Here are a few video worth checking out in case you missed the event, want to relive the magic, or are curious about what all the buzz about racial inequality in Madison is about.




Thank you for stopping by and being concerned with ending racial disparity in Madison.   If you want to share your thoughts or get involved, click here.