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African American Roundtable: Community members deserve direct power over public resources

Courtesy of Devin Anderson
Devin Anderson is the African American Roundtable’s membership and coalition manager and coordinates the LiberateMKE campaign.

Milwaukee County and the city of Milwaukee will adopt budgets for 2023 in the upcoming months. According to the city of Milwaukee's website, the statutory deadline for budget adoption is Nov. 14.

Local group African American Roundtable (AART) advocate for a community-centered and community-focused approach to budget deliberations.

How the city of Milwaukee's budget works (2021).
How the city of Milwaukee's budget works (2021).

AART believes in a participatory budget process. This framework began in Porto Alegre, Brazil, and is a democratic process that allows community members to decide how to spend public dollars.

Devin Anderson is an organizer for AART and coordinates the LiberateMKE campaign. The campaign’s goal is to divest money from the police department and fund community needs.

Milwaukee 2021 general fund budget comparison
Milwaukee 2021 general fund budget comparison

Anderson joined WUWM's Community Engagement Coordinator Rafael Muñoz-Echavarria via WUWM's Instagram Live to discuss the AART and the LiberateMKE campaign. Here's the conversation:

More information and resources

Here is the current city of Milwaukee 2022 budget.

The city of Milwaukee's Office of Violence Prevention developed the Blueprint for Peace along with youth, community residents, and key stakeholders.

The LiberateMKE campaign published a report in 2019 that includes their survey results and demands.

The city of Milwaukee has an American Rescue Plan Act dashboard that tracks its use of those funds.

Action Center on Race & the Economy looks at the budgets of the 300 largest cities in the United States in relation to their police budget.

The National League of Cities outline the background and process of city budgets.

Journal Sentinel's Talis Shelbourne looked at how Milwaukee's police budget compared to that of other cities.

Rafael Muñoz-Echavarria was WUWM's community engagement coordinator 2022-2023.
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