MADISON, Wis. – As we celebrate Black History Month – and dedicate the month of February to honoring and celebrating the contributions of Black Wisconsinites – it’s important to underscore the work that remains in addressing the inequities Black Americans face every day. That’s why Wisconsin Democrats are fighting for policies to address these inequities, from access to economic opportunity to health care and child care. Governor Tony Evers has been a committed leader in this charge – most recently, the governor dedicated $75 million to support minority-owned businesses.

 

This investment from Democrats’ American Rescue Plan will fund two programs to support Wisconsin businesses – the Diverse Business Assistance Grant program and the Diverse Business Investment Grant program, which will support and provide grants to minority-owned businesses across the state. Additionally, Gov. Evers is directing $82 million in American Rescue Plan funds to support community-based organizations working to increase equity and eliminate disparities in communities disproportionately affected by the pandemic statewide, including communities of color. These funds support grants for community health care organizations, youth and literacy groups, and organizations providing financial assistance and emergency support across Wisconsin.

 

Democrats will continue to build on these funds provided by the American Rescue Plan and advocate for legislation that supports Black Wisconsinites. In fact, President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law will further this work by working to close the digital divide and address infrastructure issues that disproportionately impact communities of color. Here’s how funding from the federal infrastructure law will help Gov. Evers and Wisconsin Democrats deliver for Black Wisconsinites:

  • Providing funding to further expand access to broadband to all Wisconsin families, building upon Gov. Evers’ work to increase broadband access and helping lower costs for Black Americans who are 9% less likely to have high-speed internet.

 

  • Providing the Evers administration with more federal support in eliminating lead pipes and funding the largest investment in clean drinking water in American history after Republicans in the Wisconsin Legislature removed funding for this project from both of Evers’ budgets. Lead pipes disproportionately impact low-income families of color in Wisconsin.

 

  • Further investing in public transit, which would reduce commute times and address the backlog of repairs created during the Kleefisch-Walker administration — as well as addressing the racism ingrained in transportation and urban planning.

 

  • Funding roughly $65 billion to upgrade power infrastructure and reduce pollution, the single largest investment in clean energy transmission in American history. Black Americans are almost five times more likely to die from asthma-related causes than their white counterparts.

 

  • Remediating brownfields and Superfund sites — building on Gov. Evers’ work to clean up Superfund sites, including his leadership in completing the cleanup of Lower Fox River. 26% of Black Americans live within three miles of Superfund sites which can lead to elevated lead levels in children’s blood.
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