Click here to watch the recording of SDC’s Community Engagement Series presentation with Richard Rothstein.

MILWAUKEE, WI, April 21, 2022 – “Every Metropolitan area is residentially segregated. Milwaukee is no different,” declares Richard Rothstein. “How can we continue to live in an apartheid society?”

With the census reconfirming Milwaukee as one of the most segregated cities in the United States, hundreds of people joined the Social Development Commission (SDC) and Richard Rothstein on Monday for a conversation on racial segregation and redlining.

As part of SDC’s Community Engagement Series, Rothstein presented findings from his best-selling nonfiction book, “The Color of Law: A Forgotten History of How Our Government Segregated America.” Using his studies and research, Rothstein explains how government policies have impacted generations of African-Americans leading to socio-economic inequalities.

“They exist in Milwaukee and across the country,” Rothstein stated during the luncheon. “Racially explicit written policies by the Federal government.

Following Rothstein’s presentation, Frank Martinelli presented an exercise on the root causes of poverty, self-advocacy, and what true civic engagement looks like.

“Keep asking why are things this way to get to the root cause”, Martinelli said.

“We have the power,” remarked SDC CEO Dr. George Hinton. “I’m excited about the work that we are doing at SDC. We are here to be the convening agency, bringing people together to make significant transformational change.”

SDC’s next Community Engagement Series presentation is scheduled for Thursday, July 28, 2022. Save the date for the 2022 Summit on Poverty at the Wisconsin Center from October 25-27, 2022.

Richard Rothstein is a Distinguished Fellow of the Economic Policy Institute and a Senior Fellow (emeritus) at the Thurgood Marshall Institute of the NAACP Legal Defense Fund. Through his book, The Color of Law, he recovers a forgotten history of how federal, state, and local policy explicitly segregated metropolitan areas nationwide, creating racially homogenous neighborhoods in patterns that violate the Constitution and require remediation. He is also the author of many other articles and books on race and education. Previous influential books include Class and Schools: Using Social, Economic and Educational Reform to Close the Black–White Achievement Gap and Grading Education: Getting Accountability Right.

Frank Martinelli has over 35 years of work, training and consulting experience with a variety of nonprofit and public sector organizations. He is president of the Center for Public Skills Training where he specializes in strategic planning, governing board development, and community partnership and alliance building.

For more than 50 years, the Social Development Commission (SDC) has served as a planner, coordinator, and provider of human service programs for low-income individuals and families in Milwaukee County. The mission of the Social Development Commission is to empower Milwaukee County residents with the resources to move beyond poverty.


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