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We use direct actions to interrupt the status quo and bring awareness to key issues and different forms of state violence affecting the root causes of the plight of black and brown people around the world.,


We stand against the many forms of state violence: police killings, mass incarceration, poverty and others.  We stand for justice for Tony Robinson and ALL Black lives lost at the hands of the state. We stand for community and self determination. We will not stop until we are free.

Getting Past the Politics: YGB Interviews Madison Mayoral Candidates

YGB raising awareness and building community

Getting Past the Politics: YGB Interviews Madison Mayoral Candidates

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The following are interviews conducted by the Young Gifted and Black Coalition's Sed Smith with candidates for the Mayor of Madison. 

If you want to support YGB's advocacy work, please visit our donate page and join the Movement Fund!


Toriana Pettaway


Why are you running?

Part of the reason I’m running is because I don’t see myself in this city. I don’t see myself in the design, the build, or within these places. Where do i go to see people who look like me. Black and Brown communities should be so much further and i’m just not happy with that. Nothing has changed. We see the same people saying the same thing over several years we are still talking about it. These problems should have been dealt with ten years ago. Where is the progress report? We want see so many disparities amongst people in this city and i’m tired of seeing the same disparities within the government.



Who is Toriana at the core?
First of all, as a person, I’m a woman of God first and foremost. My faith is what grounds me, centers me, and gives me purpose. I’m a mother. I love my children and I love my family. I’m someone who’s passionate about serving others in this community. I hear the residents in a way that they want others to hear them in too. I see people. That’s who I am, I’m the type of person that wants people to know that they are seen. I would like to be the conduit, or the catalyst, to make other people feel like they can thrive and prosper. Everybody wants to have a sense of belonging. I want to operate in a space where I can relate to people and make sure I am my best self to serve other people. I’m compassionate, I’m discerning. People in my work say I give too much and I’m okay with that. That’s what I was created to do and I’m not going to change who I am. I give all of me and it’s to serve other people.


What’s your biggest motivation?
My children are my biggest motivation. My motivation is seeing others who have come before who have made what I can do possible. I have to have hope that if they prevailed and were able to find some means of success through all of the struggles and disappointments and were able to make a way for their family, that I can too. That gives me hope. I have to to continue to do that for my children my family and friends and the community that i’m passionate about. I’m a woman of faith and God has me here for a purpose.



Opinion on new jails? Disproportionality in prison sentences?
I don’t think we should be building more prisons. I think we should be reducing prison complexes. I know the disparities we see in institutions are out of sync. I think how we sentence, how we police, and have people re-enter into society needs to be re-evaluated. Many of the folks don’t belong there and they were unfairly prosecuted and I think non-violent crimes should...I think this needs to constantly be reviewed. The people who brought the unfair penalties should be re-evaluated and prosecuted. We need an overhaul of the criminal justice system. Criminal justice is a business. People profiting off of the backs of Black and Brown people. The inequities in that are another form of slavery and we must name them as that.



How are we going to solve disparities in schools? Student opportunities?

There are several things that need to’s not just up to schools. It should start within the home. My parents equipped me with that knowledge that everyone won’t treat you as family. Parents should educate their children on how to navigate life different for Black and Brown children as well as White children being aware of privileges that they have as well as how to speak up when they see things that are wrong...Everyone teaching their children respect and what equity really is. Awareness also has to happen within the school. We must have culturally competent administrations and teachers. It can’t be transactional, but a transformation. It’s operationalized. The curriculum, the policies, and the procedures have to be lived out in everything done and practiced and rewarded because it’s a lived experience. It needs to be reflected in the hiring of all staff. And reflection of the children amongst the staff is a must as well. It’s a collaborative approach.


I have a vision...There’s a gap of an unmet need in this community for youth 12-26. The mall policy grieved kids, it was one of the last safe zones for kids. You penalize a whole generation of youth for the acts of a few. Reaching out to a few people to get ahead of afforded me the opportunity with kids to talk about how we can adjust the policy. How do you counteract someone trying to implement a policy? We showed the kids a we the people process on a reversing a policy and showed them how to come together and use the same information to counteract this action. When I’m mayor, I plan on organizing a non-profit that will incorporate youth teaching youth, creating their own brand of business for themselves. A Business enterprise designed by kids and not adults. Planning curriculum and reaching kids who aren’t being reached. Anyone who is closest to the issues need to create what they want to do. And you have to have a good facilitator for that. These young folks are lacking belonging and hope. We don’t invest funds into them. We don’t invest resources into them. We don’t invest in spaces for them. They need to see themselves in these spaces. I want to remind them that we are all Madison. If you don’t feel part of the all then you are othered. People want to see themselves and this is the biggest part of inclusion. It’s time and It requires hard choices, getting uncomfortable, talking to someone from a different neighborhood. This is everybody’s city.



How can we create a more accessible city?

What I want to focus on is making sure that the community has more access internally including those who don’t have access to downtown. Why does everyone always have to come downtown? We need to make the government more accessible. I want our leaders in government to be more transparent. I want them to know the community. The leaders in government being able to connect to what local leaders are going through. If you’re a policy maker and can’t relate to the average citizen, then I don’t want you making a decision for me.



Is Madison a truly ‘progressive’ city?

 We’ve had the title of progressive, but I think we’re living in an illusion. We’re progressive when it comes to dominant construct, but when it comes down to things that matter most to tough decisions for everyone. We’re living in an illusion. Many people don’t see themselves in the struggle.



What is Madison's greatest challenge?

Dealing with Racial Discrimination and Disparities. We are living in an illusion if you us othering language...those people from Chicago, I don't want them people in my neighborhood, Hip-hop music mean criminal activity take the liquor licence, or just do not issue one give other reason!


What work have you done to mitigate Madison's racial barriers?

Besides being the City's Equity Coordinator for the last three plus years. I am actively engaged with my community on multiple levels addressing housing instability for Madison most needed. I have worked as a homeless coordinator with my church for seven years with community partner formally Interfaith Hospitality Network now The Road Home. In addition to the Fair Housing of Great Madison sense 2007 Advisor Board and Testing. Beyond these rolls I have made countless connections in the community because the awesomeness gained from being a YWCA third shift Y-Transit Driver.



Why should Madison pick you?

Madison residents should pick me it's next Mayor because I bring experience to the position of Mayor from two prospective. As a professional who have navigated both State and City government as a Human Resources professional leading Administrator of State Agencies and Department Head on how to be good managers, I understand and lead personnel management, labor relations with unions, and capital and operational budgets. I am the only candidate who manages a Racial Equity and Social Justice Initiative with a team of 40 people whom with that has national recognition for leading the nation on deconstructing institutional racism in our policies, practice, structure/operations, budgets and in our community for our low-income, marginalized and people of color. Ser attentments for my solutions for Madison difficult issues we a faced today. I have the experience to address and implement real inclusion from a grassroots engagement that is fiscally responsible.




Maurice Cheeks


Why are you running?

Seeing Barack Obama elected expanded horizons as much as possible. It expanded how I felt I could express my citizenship. Growing up I had a good relationship with my dad. He worked a lot to provide for his family. I remember we woke up to go to his jobsite and we were on a strike. He worked for a union. He said:

‘This is why I’m so hard on you. Part of the fact that I’ve been able to support our family...This is what it looks like fighting for ourselves to get a quarter raise. I want you to be the first Cheeks to write his own ticket. Prove to your brothers this is possible. I want you to figure out how you can help yourself and others.’

I knew I wanted to be of service in college. I knew teachers who were in service, so I went to school to be a teacher. I didn’t become an educator, but I still wanted to be of service. I settled in Madison in 2007 and started tutoring in the schools. I started volunteering. I was elected to city council at 28 years old.

After the 2016 Presidential elections I started thinking about how we can lead locally. This is still our state, still our city. We can’t give up because we elected the wrong president. We still have to fight for civil rights and women's rights. There’s still place to move a needle on that in our community. We should absolutely be able to broaden the table so that more people can fit. My job as mayor will be to uplift the voice of the community. We’ve been lacking that in Madison for 8 years. Everything about our society is different. It’s like student loans...forty years ago college was $800 a semester cheaper. We are not the same America. We are not the same Madison. I think the job of being mayor in Madison is too big to be anyone’s back up plan. We should expect someone to be committed to their job and it’s critical that we have leadership focused on community and city as an act of service.



Who is Mo Cheeks at the core?

I’m a father. I’m a husband...I’m somebody who has been serving on the Madison city council for 6 years. I’m the district 10 alder where i’ve been serving Allied, Nacoma and everything in between…They’re microcosms of the city. In a day job I have a career in the tech industry. I’m someone who is excited to see what we can bring to the city. I’m the oldest of three boys with an involved dad who shared a lot of how he thinks about the world. We grew up in Matteson, Illinois in the middle class. The only people I recall having college degrees were my teachers. I’m a biracial black man who found his identity in the time where I thought it wasn’t possible to elect Barack Obama.



What’s your biggest motivation?
I want to make Madison a city where every community has kids ready to learn and families that feel safe. A community that has access to food and transportation to navigate this community...people that live with dignity. We have people on a limp just trying to pay rent. I want to make this everybody's city...a city with mutual interdependence.



Opinion on new jails? Disproportionality in prison sentences?

This is a big question with intergenerational parts. We have small conversations about what is the precise number of police to add to force to make the city more sage. Talking about safety to acknowledge that conversation is bigger than policing. By the time the police are involved the ‘thing’ has already happened. People have conversations about incarceration and more police. Does that make us a more sage community? We have to think about kids growing up in broken homes without male role models. We’ve been doing this for generations. Our system has been actively disproportionately wrecking Black families.



How are we going to solve disparities in schools? Student opportunities?

As Mayor I’m going to make sure that every child has a college savings account. We have research that they are more likely to graduate. With this they will have an identity formed. I’m going to establish a program so every high school student has access to an internship. After which they will return learning better when they are productive in the summer. They’ll see something for their future. My focus is at the systems level, not how do we put $1000 into a program, but how do we reimagine the foundation of the blocks of society so that it feels different to be a member of the society in Madison. A place where every kid believes someone is believing in them and investing in them. Even if their parents are incarcerated, have mental health issues, etc. our can community still believes in kids regardless of color. Maybe we can shift biases made against people in our community. None of this is simple stuff. We’re still working on it. We’re still listening.



How can we create a more accessible city?

We have to work hard to advocate with peer communities in the surrounding area to create support for regional taxi authority. We need people to be able to access jobs in sun prairie or fitchburg, or even just be able to go to the theatre. Being able to fund needs to be more than just complaining about the state. We need to lean on relationships developed state wide to work with folks to support this. We need to look at Eau Claire and Appleton.



Is Madison a truly ‘progressive’ city?

We need to be frank about this as a community. We need to figure out how to create work that creates upward mobility. We have to be aware of where the city is investing the money. If we’re investing in projects that will support employers, we have to support employers that will be willing to be community partners. Places where the community can move up the ladders and make a life for themselves. I want to diversify the middle class. 100state, for example, is the largest coworking space in Wisconsin. I want to see space that is diverse. We have all types of entrepreneurship in communities of color. As a community we need to make sure we are supporting this work. We need to be a community creating authentic space for communities of color.



What is Madison's greatest challenge?
The central challenge we face is racial and economic inequality. We have the most diverse economy and the most diverse population that our city has ever had. Yet, in Madison, the two primary socioeconomic demographics that have grown in recent years are households making six-figure incomes and households earning less than $30,000 a year. My priority as mayor is ensuring that our growing prosperity is affording to the benefit of all Madisonians. Because to be the most innovative, inclusive, and safe Madison possible -- it is imperative that we ALL do better.

What work have you done to mitigate Madison's racial barriers?
In my first year on the Madison Common Council, I authored and passed the city’s Ban the Box ordinance requiring hiring practices that prevent discrimination based on criminal record. This legislation was written with the involvement of leaders and advocates in the re-entry movement. This reform was particularly crucial in Madison, where arrest rates and conviction rates are disproportionately high for black and brown people, and where discrimination based on someone’s past was a recurring concern as people tried to get ahead. That is why I didn’t stop there but then expanded it to apply to anyone doing business with the city.

Likewise, as an Alder on the Common Council, I sponsored the funding that we allocated to reviewing the Madison Police Department Policy, Procedure, Culture, and Training practices, which resulted in the OIR report. This work is going to be critical to raising the bar for what safe policing, and community relationships with police can hope to be.

Personally, even before being elected to the council, I spent years tutoring young men of color in our schools, and have been an advocate and supporter of job training programs that have a successful track record of empowering people of color to get ahead in our workforce.

I recognize that my election would be historic as the first African American ever elected Mayor of Madison, and I’m committed to returning the classroom and being a mayor that tutors in our schools.


Why should Madison pick you?
I’m running for mayor of Madison to take on our persistent reputation as a tale of two cities.
As an alder who serves in one of the most diverse districts, I’ve spent the past six years representing Madisonians from all walks of life. Additionally, as a high-tech business leader in Madison, I know that our city’s economy can't grow without improved access to a diverse and educated workforce. And as an advocate for our schools, and past tutor in our schools, my commitment to our next generation has been unwavering.

These experiences are essential because Madisonians deserve a mayor who brings a sense of urgency to fight for all of our futures and one who can authentically bring together various constituents to ensure our community lives up to our progressive values.




Satya-Rhodes Conway


Why are you running?

People have been asking me to run since I was on the council. I’m running because I want to make sure Madison is a city where everyone has the opportunity to thrive. We need someone who’s not going to just talk, but someone who’s going to get the job done.



Who is Satya at the core?

I am from second hand clothes. From Wonder Woman and Nancy Drew. I am from the kitchen with mismatched plates and silverware, accumulated from garage sales and Salvation Army stores, chipped and worn with faded beauty. I am from lilacs, both the single old tree spreading it’s offspring across the lawn and the carefully manicured specimens in Highland Park. I'm from scientists and artists. From Jane and Josey. I'm from intellect and opinion. From “act like you own the place” and “don’t put your elbows on the table”. I'm from Christmas and Passover and Solstice, home cooked meals with family, chosen or not. I'm from Espanola, the lowrider capital of the world, but also Rochester and La Jolla, Platteville and Grosse Pointe. Home baked banana bread and holiday morning waffles. From the time Dusty jumped out of a runaway peach truck and broke his arm. From Anne’s choosing art over a “normal” life. Kodachrome slides stacked in boxes, memories of Libya, Europe, Colorado, Japan, Altadena. Images you can only see with forgotten technology.

I was born in New Mexico to parents who were hippies living off of the grid. In middle school, I led all school meetings and those skills have been important in my work in government. I went to Smith College in Massachusetts studying biology. My masters degree was in Ecology. nI eventually applied to an internship at the State Environmental Resource Center.  I worked on policy on state levels. I talked my way out of an internship and into a job. After three years I got the job at COWS and I’ve been at UW ever since. I bought a house and live in Lincoln park neighborhood. I live with my partner and my dog. I was on the city council for ten years.



What’s your biggest motivation?

For me, what it comes down to is that there are things we need to be working on that aren’t working hard or fast enough in the city. If we don’t work on them now, they become harder and more expensive five years down the road. If we had started building more affordable housing ten years ago, we wouldn’t be where we are now. What I see in other cities that I see here is that we’re not willing to accept density. We can’t fall into the trap of opposing across the board. We have to make sure ti’s productive across the board.



Opinion on new jails? Disproportionality in prison sentences?

I say no to privatized prisons. There’s no excuse. And why prison just to begin with? Not that there shouldn’t be consequences for crimes that hurt the community, but I’m way more interested in restorative justice and ways that communities can make amends by giving back to the community. Addiction, mental health issues, or poverty, we need to address the issues instead of locking people up in cages. Change comes slow within the criminal justice system, but it doesn’t mean we don’t try it. I doesn’t maen that we shouldn’t decriminalize poverty. We need to think about all of these things to keep people out of the system.



How are we going to solve disparities in schools? Student opportunities?

There are a lot of things that belong to the school district. We have to think about what the city can do. Kid show up to school having ‘behavior problems’ or fights or whatever/ Why are they don’t that? It’s historical trauma. Are they eating enough? Are their needs being met? Why are they being presented as a problem in local schools? And why are we punishing kids that are having a reaction to their world? I’m talking about access to healthy food in neighborhoods. Making sure kids get to school safely. Focusing on transit. Making sure kids have a safe healthy place to live which mens affordable housing for their families. Kids don’t want to have to move around, we need more stability. It all goes back to affordable housing, food access, affordability and a good transit system. That’s sort of the top of the line.

You would think the question of giving students opportunities would be straight-forward. I would love to see more paid internships, seeing people learning and getting paid across the board. Like Operation Fresh Start, teaching construction, home renovation, ecological restoration, and clean up crews. Any number of things that need to be done in the public realm if there are young people who need job opportunities and need to learn skills. This is crazy, but one of the things that needs to be done is that there are hundreds of single family homes that need to have energy efficiency. Could we not have these kids in need of opportunity train to weatherize and make homes more energy efficient? We need more fresh foods. Why not train folks to farm? Why not have market gardens?



How can we create a more accessible city?

We need rapid transit. We need people to get to their damn jobs. I’m lucky because I live where I live. If I worked at East Towne or one of the hotels, I wouldn’t be able to take the bus. That’s not right. That’s closing off an opportunity and that’s not right. I want to do something about it, this is where the city could be doing something, but it isn’t. I want to see kids in folks own their own business. We need tiny houses for homeless people. There’s a need and it builds potential wealth within the community. I was appointed member of the Madison Food Policy Council. We’ve been working on healthy food access, healthy retails, and a couple of grant funds. Funded Luna’s Grocery’s and River Food Pantry to buy a refrigerated truck. There’s needs in the community…we have to do that in a way that doesn’t cost an arm and a leg. That’s why I’m running.



Is Madison a truly ‘progressive’ city?

I think individually people who live in Madison are progressive and would describe themselves as such. I don’t think our city government has been progressive as it should be given who lives here. That’s a part of why I’m running. I see the places we are resting on our laurels. I know we can do better. We don’t do a good enough job in this city listening to the impact of communities and treating them like they have access and something to contribute. We have to take that. We have to take asset based approach to our neighborhoods. We have to look at grassroots solutions that exist and support them, because the city government is pretty white. We have a dynamic bunch of white people coming to poor neighborhoods to fix the problems and it’s not how the problems get better. We have to break that up and think about how we support the community. How we empower communities. That’s going to be uncomfortable for  a lot of white people. It’s going to be hard. We’re going to have to step on toes. It may be hard, but we have to do it. Opportunity gaps any gaps don’t shift until we build capacity and empower the people. What does that look like? I’m not exactly sure and that’s okay because we have to source those solutions form the communities themselves. It’s something that I want to start.




Raj Shukla


Why are you running?

We’re confronted with a few challenges that are converging. In this moment issues of racial social and economic inequity that the world is grappling with, Madison is no exception.

We have a federal government and a good chunk the state government, a little less of it now, that is openly hostile to the values of this community. And hostile to the ways that we want to address some of our problems. Then we have climate change that will affect every facet of our lives for the rest of forever. That is how it is. Everyone is being called to do more: to bring communities together and make progress in the face of difficult challenges including people like me who are political newcomers. I feel that I am not a newcomer to leadership. I Chaired City committee called Sustainable Madison Committee. We have written legislation, built coalitions on council to pass resolutions to commit the city to the most ambitious climate change goals in the state. Other communities have since followed suit...I’m also the executive director of a statewide water policy group. I believe I am one of two candidates in the race with actual executive experience. Myself and Paul Soglin. The skillset is one of being able to articulate a vision for an organization being able to motivate and manage talented employees. It’s a skillset that requires you to make tough decision. We have issues like affordable housing and transit that is broke in the community. We have issues of racial inequality that play to the eye, but also to the spirit when you just talk to people that are living in circumstances that are blatantly unfair and that can’t survive. I want to be a mayor that can replicate some of the success i’ve seen professionally and certainly as a civic leader and I hope as a father. I want to bring people together to solve difficult challenges and set the bar higher than we have.


Who is Raj at the core?

When you ask people who i am and people who know me, they think of me as deeply principled person who is fiercely committed to working with everyone in order to make progress. I’m the son of immigrants who grew up in Waukesha. I’m the father of a child with a disability. Those two parts of who I am have built an ethic in me that you just don’t turn away from people. You do everything you can to build relationships with people even those who you disagree with and make progress to find commonality. I’m principled but pragmatic that prides community above all else.



What’s your biggest motivation?
A challenge. We’re looking at really big challenges that only get harder as time goes by. Our community is growing with different perspectives as we try to mesh. And we are dealing with the spectre of human climate change, which no one else in history has had to manage. We have giant challenges ahead of us. When I look at my daughters, I am motivated by the idea that I need to wake up everyday and do everything I can to make this world everything they deserve. Everything their friends deserve. The world that my parents deserve to. The world that my neighbor deserves...they have every much a right to a city that is clean, a city that is equitable, and a city that is prosperous. People motivate me. Spread love and I know that might sound cheesy, but it’s true. We need a lot more folks especially within political leadership who insist on treating one another with respect, with compassion, with creativity, and ambition. We owe it to each other.



Opinion on new jails? Disproportionality in prison sentences?

There should be no private prisons. None. I don’t think the solutions to our problems are in jailing more people. I think the solutions in our problems are in caring for more people. I’d like to create a truly citywide Madison model for early childhood care. WHen you look at the research as far the most cost effective way to repay the educational debts we owe young people in this community who are born facing bigger obstacles through no choice of their own and no choice of their parents, we need to repay that debt and the way you can do that and shrink some of the gaps in achievement at school and shrink some of the disparities. We have to focus on birth to three when 80-90% of your neurological development happens as a human being. That should be our focus. We need to have a commitment to early childhood care and necessary resources and systems. So that every child gets the resources they need to start off on an even playing field.



How are we going to solve disparities in schools? Student opportunities?

This is a difficult question. Especially when you have a state limiting resource to schools. Special education affects me the most. Most of the kids in special education are kids of color. Kids who need special education, but often don’t get it are also children of color. I do believe that representation in decision making is important. I’m seeing people of color on the school board and it’s eye opening to be having conversation with people of color having represented voices. I don’t think you can separate the disparities in schools form the economic disparities you are seeing outside of school. Challenges are of social welfare and not just education. Schools are a reflection of society instead of a driver. THey are important. Kids aren’t getting the right nutrition when they are outside of school. These are economic issues.

When it comes to student job opportunities, this is one of those areas where environmental goals and social justice intersect. I very much want to see how we can expand energy efficiency and renewable energy on people's homes in our community. There are financing questions involved, but imagine us making a concerted effort to expand, for example, people insulating their homes. You need people who know how to do that and people who can be trained on how to do that. So why can’t the city expand on some work that it’s already doing, but bring young people into a trade like that. Give young people a start on an area that the economy really needs and an area that the environment really needs and a path to employment that that young person really needs. We can give these kids the opportunity to be the hero in a big story: How we’re going to manage climate change and in the process give them a skill that may the foundation of them starting a business. A foundation of a lifetime of employment. That’s one way I’d like to see if we could approach this.



How can we create a more accessible city?

It starts with leadership. You learn this very viscerally when you lead an organization. Even in the most collaborative like the flat management structure I have at river alliance. The leader of every organization sets the tone. Right now we have a mayor whose first response is to deny and just say things are getting better. I don’t believe that’s leadership. That’s the opposite of leadership. Refusing to recognize the pain is not leadership to me. It’s important to people who are leaders in the business community to be unafraid of acknowledging where we need to grow and what progress we need to make.



Is Madison a truly ‘progressive’ city?

I don’t think that we’re meeting the expectations we have for ourselves. I chose to live here. All three of our daughters were born at Meriter hospital. All three of them attend the public schools here in Madison. We love this city and there’s a lot to love about this city, but here’s the reality. Unlike 40 years ago, we are a city with more people, with a diversity in voices that didn't used to exist and we need to embrace them in a way that we haven’t before. If we want to attract and retain world class talent, that’s going to power our economy going forward, we will need to demonstrate that we embrace a full range of ideas from everybody in the community, not just city government. Everyone in the community feels that same love. Too many people are shut out from what makes this community a great place. This isn’t acceptable to me.



What is Madison's greatest challenge?
Madison's greatest challenge is whether we can grow and prosper in a way that is environmentally responsible, and true to our commitments to racial and social equity. I believe we can and have outlined my Green Growth Agenda on my website:

If we can focus on clean, affordable energy, scaling up birth-three supports for families, expanding our transit system and eliminating exclusionary zoning practices, we will be on our way. But we need experienced leadership that can bring people together to make progress. That's what I offer in this race.



What work have you done to mitigate Madison's racial barriers?
My city committee, the Sustainable Madison Committee, has focussed on recruiting women and people of color to our membership since I took over as chair in 2014. We have also instilled racial and social justice into the legislation we have written. Our latest proposal to implement recommendations to get to 100% renewable energy explicitly requires the Racial Equity & Social Justice Initiative Toolkit be used by the city to reach our objectives.

As the executive director at a state-wide water policy organization, I have taken similar steps. We have doubled the number of staff of color since my arrival, and re-doubled efforts to support and celebrate the work and accomplishments of tribal partners.

I have also worked with children of color in the foster care system as a Dane County Court Appointed Special Advocate. The intersection of race and poverty played out in excruciating detail during my service. The experience continues to inform my every action as a civic leader.



Why should Madison pick you?
I am one of only two candidates in this races that runs an organization -- Mayor Soglin being the other. I set a vision, manage a talented team, meet a payroll, and make the tough decisions when budgets and priorities collide.

I also bring a fresh perspective to the stale state of local politics. My reputation as a civic leader and executive rests on the foundation of being a listener who bring people together to make progress.

This city needs new energy to make a Madison that works for all of us. I offer the experience and fresh ideas to lead the city with creativity, ambition and a sense of common purpose.



Nick Hart


What is Madison's greatest challenge?

Madison’s greatest challenge is the people have to be honest with themselves and adhere to the fact that there are racial issues that the city needs to address and soon.


What work have you done to mitigate Madison's racial barriers?

I’m a comedian, every time I take the mic, I’m trying to simultaneously make people laugh while challenging them to rethink their views on society and question why they think the way they do.


Why should Madison pick you?

Why should Madison pick me? I’m charismatic, funny, and black people love me but honestly Madison probably shouldn’t pick me. My whole campaign is based on running for office as civic duty, not as a career. I’m not a politician, I virtually don’t have any money behind me so I’m not tied down to any agenda. I’m learning as I go through this experience.



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YGB needs your voice in order to get an investigation by the United Nations as we elevate the conversation of of racial disparities in Madison and fight for justice for Tony Robinson, the unarmed black teen murdered at the hands of officer Matt Kenny of the Madison Police Department  



YGB demands that Matt Kenny, the murderer of Tony Robinson, be fired. Far to often are killer cops left unpunished, and we want Kenny off the streets.



The Young Gifted and Black Coalition is a circle of young leaders determined to end state violence and raise the voice of communities of color. We are young Black Women, Queer Folks, Straight Folks and Feminist Men who are fighting for Black Liberation. Our focus is on the low income black communities that our core members call home. 




During high activity times, we send about two emails per week to keep you informed.
Don't worry, we hate spam!