Hundreds of community advocates, state agencies, and local leaders gathered in downtown Milwaukee for the annual Summit on Poverty, hosted by the Social Development Commission (SDC). This two-day event aimed to address the issue of poverty in the greater Milwaukee area and bring about meaningful change.
The summit attracted over 800 attendees, who participated in various sessions covering a wide range of topics related to poverty. One highlight of the conference was a conversation with actress Erika Alexander, known for her role in the hit TV series Living Single. Alexander shared her insights as an activist, entrepreneur, and director, emphasizing the importance of reclaiming ownership of Black stories and history.
Another key focus of the summit was expanding housing resources for Milwaukee residents. The Metropolitan Milwaukee Fair Housing Council delivered a presentation on common discrimination experiences faced by Milwaukee residents and highlighted protected classes in civil rights law. Additionally, the SDC’s Milwaukee Emergency Rental Assistance program provided financial aid to thousands of households affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, with a shift in focus towards homeownership in the near future.
The second day of the conference featured a keynote address by Stacey Patton, an assistant professor at Howard University. Patton discussed the impact of physical punishment on children and its links to various negative outcomes, such as depression and abuse. She emphasized the need to challenge the belief that violence is an effective means of communication and called for a shift towards non-violent discipline practices.
In addition to the informative sessions, the summit showcased student researchers from across Wisconsin who presented their findings on topics such as discrimination, food security, and substance abuse. Attendees also had the opportunity to contribute to a community history archive through the Story Cart booth, where they recorded their experiences and perspectives on food and land justice.
The summit brought together a wide range of community partners who shared valuable resources with attendees. These partners included organizations like the Wisconsin Housing and Economic Development Authority, Self Help Credit Union, TMG, and Wellpoint Care Network.
Overall, the Summit on Poverty in Milwaukee provided a platform for meaningful discussions on eradicating poverty in the community. Through engaging sessions, prominent speakers, housing initiatives, and youth research, the event aimed to make a positive impact on the lives of individuals affected by poverty.