The annual Day at the Capitol event is the culminating event of Black History Month events hosted by the Wisconsin Legislative Black Caucus every year at the state Capitol building in downtown Madison. This year, the 2018 Day at the Capitol will take place on Wednesday, Feb. 28, and is also being organized by several chapters of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. from across the state who planned the event in partnership with Senator Lena Taylor and Representative David Crowley.
“This year will be no different from what we started last year. We’re going to talk about all of the areas that are affecting our communities,” Taylor tells Madison365. “We’ll be talking about business, economic development. Very candidly, we can’t go forward if we can’t make sure that there is an opportunity to build economic wealth in our communities. That’s what we’ll be talking about.”
The theme for the 2018 Day at the Capitol event is “Be the Voice 4! The Black and Brown Agenda Across Wisconsin.” Taylor says that she’s very excited to see the African-American and Latino communities working together.
“All of the Black/Latino Caucus members will likely be engaged throughout the morning at this event unless their schedule has a conflict,” Taylor says. “It’s great to see the unification of the groups in Wisconsin that are challenged by these huge disparities that exist in our state. It’s inspiring to be able to work together to empower, encourage and to inspire each other. It’s wonderful to be able to engage with our Latino community and our Latino legislators.
“It’s going to be a great time on Wednesday to be able to come and talk about the issues and the similarities that exist amongst us all,” she adds.
Two panels will help constituents learn more about legislative issues that significantly impact communities of color. Panel members consist of elected officials from the Black and Latino Caucus and local leader, Dr. Ruben Anthony, from the Urban League of Greater Madison. The first panel will primarily focus on jobs and include entrepreneurship, DWD, transportation and business. The second panel will focus on issues of education, children and families and corrections.
“This is a really important event and I really appreciate Nichelle [Nichols] stepping up this year to help organize with the Black Caucus,” Taylor says.
Nichols is president of the Madison chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc, Kappa Psi Omega chapter. She also leads the political action committee for the chapter, called Connections, and has been working with chapters across the state to promote this event.
“This event is important because as we look at the issues across the state, we need to think about the power of the vote that communities of color have to elect people who represent our concerns,” Nichols tells Madison365. “This is an important election year and anything we can do to keep the issues in front of people is a win, because we want people to know who they are voting for and where they take a stand on our issues.”
Nichols has worked directly with Sen. Taylor and Rep. Crowley to organize the event, which will feature, in addition to the aforementioned Dr. Ruben Anthony, Representative David Crowley, Milwaukee, District 17; Representative Jason Fields, Milwaukee, District 11; Representative David Bowen, Milwaukee & Shorewood, District 10; Representative JoCasta Zamarripa, Milwaukee, District 8; and Senator LaTonya Johnson, Milwaukee, District 6.
Nichols would like to see as many members of the Divine 9 historically black fraternities and sororities in the greater Madison area send representatives to attend.
“It doesn’t’ matter that this was organized by AKA chapters, because historically black fraternities and sororities have had a long history of organizing get-out-the-vote efforts and making statements about the political issues that impact our communities and members, and we all have skin in the game,” Nichols says.
The annual Day at the Capitol will be held on Wednesday, Feb. 28, 9 a.m.-noon in the capitol building’s North Hearing Room. The event is free.