The racial disparities in our community are all the more troubling and embarrassing for the fact that solutions are available. We’ve just chosen not to pursue them. There are proven strategies for helping all our kids succeed, for hiring, and for keeping Black men from disproportionately populating our prisons. Other communities have adopted them. We have not. That’s why we’re the worst in the nation.


This week, Dane County Executive Joe Parisi took a major step toward addressing the employment gap. Working with a Milwaukee model, and partnering with organizations like the Urban League of Greater Madison, Operation Fresh Start and the Nehemiah Community Development Association, Project Big Step will recruit and train individuals to address worker shortages in the construction industry. If done right, and we believe it will be, it will help close the racial employment gap. And that makes project Big Step, step one.