By Orlando Owens
More than 50 years ago the Civil Rights Act of 1964 was signed into law, aimed at ending injustice and segregation in our country. However, as we look around at communities of color, it’s hard not to notice the disparities that separate our society. As we reflect the end of Black History Month, my message to my community is simple: Black Americans have been taken for granted by the Democrat Party for far too long and it’s time for change.
The disparities that have particularly hit the Black Community can easily be traced back to policies championed by Democrats in the name of progress, when in fact, we’re worse off now than ever before. Just take a look at Milwaukee. After decades of Democrat leadership, what do we have to show for it? Education and wealth disparities, homelessness and unemployment, not to mention the significant rise in crime.
In Wisconsin, we are blessed that parents and kids have the option of choosing the best education options for their families. Thanks to school choice laws, parents don’t have to send their kids to public schools that historically underperform charter and private options in the same area. Unfortunately, Democrats keep siding with the teachers union instead of our kids. Throughout his time in office, Gov. Tony Evers has proposed freezing school choice enrollment and suspending charter school expansion in both his 2019 and 2021 budgets.
Meanwhile, a look back at the COVID-19 pandemic is a constant reminder of the Democrats’ heavy-handed response that killed jobs, shut down small businesses, and compromised the well-being of our children. According to a Pew Research study conducted last year, 40 percent of Black adults said they lost jobs or wages since March 2020. Meanwhile, a Brookings report found that “Black Americans and their communities lack sufficient income and wealth to buffer both the job loss crisis and the economic crisis.” As if COVID wasn’t costly enough, Tony Evers locked our students out of the classroom, many until August of 2021– leaving inner city students behind. Thanks to ineffective virtual learning options forced upon our kids instead of the in-class time they needed, Wisconsin students are academically and developmentally behind. In fact, studies show minority students across the country were disproportionately harmed as a result of the Democrats’ education policies.
Unfortunately, our families haven’t been affected by the COVID pandemic alone – crime has kept us up at night as well. Last year, Milwaukee broke its record for homicides. As parents, we want what our parents and grandparents had – safe neighborhoods where our kids can play without fear of a body count in our streets. Yet, Democrats have ignored these stats in favor of a new line: defund the police. How does demonizing those who willingly put their lives on the line for our families keep us safe? It doesn’t.
While Democrats have nothing to offer, Republicans have shown us already they have a plan for growth and prosperity. Under Republicans, Black Americans saw their wages go up, the use of food stamps falling, unemployment numbers down, and a historic number of Black women getting back into the workforce. Within our community we have seen this with the Joseph Project— a real community investment by U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson. The Joseph Project has helped countless African Americans get good jobs— offering a path to success. Republicans continue to champion school choice for all children, regardless of race, and support a parent’s right to be involved in their children’s education.
This Black History Month, I encourage my brothers and sisters to give the Republican Party a chance – for our children and our grandchildren.
Orlando Owens is a Republican candidate for State Treasurer. Owens is a co-founder of the faith-based workforce initiative, The Joseph Project, and minister at Abundant Harvest Church of God. He previously served as southeast Wisconsin Regional Director for U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Oshkosh).