By M.D. Kittle
MADISON — While portions of riot-ravaged Kenosha were still smouldering, Gov. Tony Evers’ health czar fired off an agency-wide email on “Advancing Equity” at the Department of Health Services.
The email, obtained by Empower Wisconsin, is crammed with Woke language and promises of a ‘cross-divisional’ equity committee. It says nothing about the disorder, the violence, the insanity that Kenosha — particularly its Uptown and Downtown business districts — had just endured. Of course, it made no reference to the fact that the damage rioters wrought could have been greatly averted if Tony Evers had only been a leader instead of a radical left politician.
“The fact that Jacob Blake’s shooting occurred in our own backyard – granted, something that we have seen too many times before – makes this especially painful, including for many of us at DHS, and particularly for our Black colleagues and colleagues of color,” wrote Andrea Palm, then-DHS secretary-designee, in the email, dated Sept. 2.
Palm, who illegally locked down much of Wisconsin through extended stay-at-home orders last year, was referring to the black man who was shot on Aug. 23 by a Kenosha police officer. Blake had repeatedly resisted arrest during a domestic incident. Kenosha County District Attorney Michael Graveley, after an extensive investigation, later ruled that the officer acted in self-defense because Blake, who was wanted on a felony warrant, was armed with a knife. Blake repeatedly refused police commands to drop the weapon.
The shooting set off protests that quickly devolved into riots in which scores of businesses, government buildings and homes were damaged, looted, and set on fire. Dozens were burned to the ground. When it was all over, two people were dead, several were injured, including a police officer, and Kenosha businesses had sustained more than $50 million in damage.
None of that information, or even a passing reference to the pain a Kenosha under assault was going through, can be found in Palm’s political message to her staff.
Instead, Palm went full Woke on the kind of “equity and inclusion” initiatives the Evers administration would prioritize, even as DHS faced a historic health crisis.
“Although I cannot possibly feel the effects of this in the way these colleagues are feeling it, I want all of you to know that I support you and will continue working with you to ensure that DHS develops and implements a strategy and framework for realizing systems-level change,” wrote Palm, who left her post in January to become President Joe Biden’s second in command at the Department of Health and Human Services.
DHS, Palm wrote, had been soliciting input from staff on the actions the agency needed to take. Those conversations “reinforced” what DHS leadership already knew, that the department is “filled with individuals who are committed to promoting and advancing equity and anti-racism work.”
“And in addition to this, we learned that DHS will be best positioned to advance this work by formalizing, organizing, and giving greater visibility and strength to it,” Palm wrote.
Anti-racism initiatives have come under fire for incorporating racist concepts, particularly in stereotyping all white people as white supremacists.
Palm announced DHS would be creating a “cross-divisional committee,” It would be made up of leadership and membership “reflective of staff of color, to conduct research, deliver feedback, and develop recommendations related to eliminating disparities in our internal work as an employer and in our external work in service to the people of our state.”
These initiatives, awash in liberal politics, were the focus of a Department of Health Services that was the lead government agency in the fight against an unprecedented pandemic.
At the same time, Kenosha’s nerves remained on edge, its citizens wondering when the next burst of violence and mayhem would come. The city had spent the past sleepless week dealing with rioters and begging Evers to send help. The governor was slow to deploy the National Guard, and he failed to provide adequate support when he eventually consented. And Evers initially rejected federal law enforcement assistance from then-President Donald Trump in what clearly was an act of political pettiness.
But Evers was quick to send out recriminations of law enforcement in the aftermath of the shooting. His health secretary, too, was quick to push the administration’s radical left politics out to government employees who had more than enough on their plates at such a historically challenging time.
The emergency to Palm apparently wasn’t COVID or Wisconsin cities in ruins. It was a bureaucratic “equity committee.”
“There has been an urgency to form this committee as quickly as possible,” Palm wrote.
“I want you to know that this is just one email in a series of updates that I will be sending you over the next weeks and months to detail our work to combat systemic racism.,” adding that such initiatives support Evers’ “call for a diverse, equitable and inclusive state government.”