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Dear Friends and Neighbors, 

It looks like the warmer weather may finally be here to stay. While there are many positive and fun things to do as we head into a summer season filled with festivals and sunny days spent in our many beautiful parks, there are also additional safety precautions for your family to consider. 

From heavier traffic to an uptick in crime, now is a good time to reflect on ways to stay safe this summer. Our May edition of Community Connections is dedicated to reviewing some easy safety tips to ensure our families stay safe as the weather continues to get warmer.

Also, as a reminder, I'll be holding a town hall listening session at the end of the month along with the state representatives of the 6th Senate District. More details are included in the In the District section below. 


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LaTonya Johnson
State Senator












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With the warmer weather finally sticking around, many of us are thinking ahead about how we can be more active this spring and summer. This time of year is great for taking walks outdoors, which can not only benefit your waistline, but also lower your risk of adverse health outcomes like high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and diabetes. The American Heart Association encourages people to walk for at least 30 minutes per day, and there are some simple steps you can take to meet your exercise goals. For instance, walking with a neighbor, friend, or family member can help keep you both accountable as well as offer support. Click here for more tips to consider for staying active this spring and summer.


Staying Safe and Active
this Summer!

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Summer is quickly approaching, and with school getting out in less than two months, it will be here before the blink of an eye. With the excitement that comes with the departure of the cold weather and a couple months of vacation from school, unfortunately so too comes certain levels of added danger, whether it be through crime, the elements, or accidents. However, there are numerous ways in which we can ensure a safe summer here in Milwaukee - a goal that we can all strive for.

Listed below are numerous ways in which we can ensure a safe summer, with a focus on personal and asset security. Keeping school-age children active is also a good way to promote safe communities. Therefore, I have included kid safety tips and fun opportunities for children during the summer as well!

Keeping You and Your Kids Safe
It is imperative that you remember that your own safety is the most important thing and that everything you own can be replaced if you are in an unsafe situation.

Other personal safety tips include:

  • Always be aware of your surroundings, and trust your instincts. It is always a good idea to be with people you are comfortable with, whether you are running errands or going out for a night. If walking at night, avoid dark or vacant areas. Pay attention to warning signs, such as people watching you or quickly approaching. If you are in a situation in which you do not feel safe, make your way to a public place and ask for help from someone you can trust. If you are on or around the UW-Milwaukee or Marquette University campuses you can also make a call for assistance using a Blue Light Phone. 

  • Protect yourself and your children from extreme heat and summer accidents. With the summer so too comes the sun and heat, so it is imperative to protect yourself and your kids. Wearing sunscreen and making sure to stay hydrated is incredibly important for your own safety and health. Also, unintentional injury is the leading cause of death in children. Falls contribute to a large proportion of injuries in kids, so be vigilant and alert when kids are playing. Kids riding anything with wheels, like bikes and scooters, should have a helmet that fits properly. More summer protection tips can be found, here. 

  • Consider extra traffic in the area, due to summer festivals and other activities. The months of June, July, and August typically see more injury-causing accidents in Milwaukee County and across the state. While summer festivities are a major contributor to the increase in traffic, young adults having more free time and thus more time on the roads is another factor. That said, make sure to always wear a seatbelt, avoid combining alcohol with driving, stay alert to your surroundings, and take advantage of our area's public transportation options. 

Protecting Your Assets
Beyond your own personal safety for this upcoming summer, you will also want to protect your assets, like money, your car, your home, and other valuables. There are numerous steps you can take in order to protect these items, not only for the summer but at all times of the year. 

Here are some asset security tips to keep in mind:

  • To the extent possible, do not carry around large amounts of cash, your social security card, or other irreplaceable items. Additionally, when you are not around these items, make sure they are secured at home, car, or another trusted location. You can help keep them secure in these areas by double checking that your doors are locked, using a safe if you have access to one, or placing valuable items in another securable location, such as a locked glove compartment.

  • Inform someone you know and trust of any extended leaves. If you are leaving your home for an extended period of time, like for a vacation or to visit family elsewhere, there are some additional steps you can take. As mentioned already, make sure doors are locked and valuables are secure. Furthermore, if you have a trusted relationship with a neighbor or nearby friend, give them a heads up that you will be gone. You can ask that they collect your mail and newspapers while you are away, as well as generally keep an eye on your home. 

  • Securing your car or vehicle. At a recent District 7 Crime and Safety Meeting, I learned that one-third of cars are stolen while parked in the driveway with the keys in the vehicle and the door unlocked. Therefore, it is important to ensure your vehicle is secure. If you are looking to further secure your car when you are away from it, in addition to keeping it locked, one option is to have a functioning car alarm. You can also take further precautions such as having a steering wheel immobilization device or GPS tracking device.

Keep Kids Engaged with Milwaukee's Summer Opportunities
One way to stay safe this summer is to get involved! This can be with non-profits, schools, or other local organizations. Listed below are some opportunities to take advantage of during this upcoming summer season. 

  • Hot Summer MKE
    Hot Summer MKE delivers an interactive map that provides information on various opportunities, whether it be regarding summer schools, camps, enrichment programs, or more general festivals and events that take place over the course of the summer. This is a great resource to find different exciting and enriching opportunities for the summer. Click the link above for more information!

  • MPS Summer Academy
    Milwaukee Public Schools offers free summer programming for K5 through grade 12 every summer. There are various schools - elementary, middle, and high schools - that are Summer Academy sites. Programming goes from July 2 to July 27 from 7:30 a.m. until 11:30 a.m. for grades K5-8, and from 8:30 a.m. until 12:30 p.m. for high schoolers. Summer Academy not only provides breakfast and lunch, but it also allows students to go on field trips and experience various subjects, ranging from math and science to theater and visual arts. For more information on MPS Summer Academy, click the link above.

  • Safe Summer Initiative
    Every summer, Mayor Barrett and the city of Milwaukee host a Safe Summer Initiative, inviting 2,000 children to different non-profit, faith-based, and youth organizations that address and promote non-violence in our community. At the end of the summer, children are rewarded for their effort and behavior by receiving a ticket to a Milwaukee Brewers game, along with a free hot-dog and soda. Not only does this initiative provide a great educational experience while keeping children safe, but also allows for a memorable day to look forward to.

Together, we can make this upcoming summer in Milwaukee a safe and exciting one. Overall, make sure to take steps to protect yourself and your assets, but also make sure to spend time with your family and friends and to enjoy the warm weather!


In the District

I frequently attend and host events in the 6th Senate District, tour local facilities, and visit schools in our neighborhood. Updates on what's happening locally in our community can be found in this section. I'll also include updates on listening sessions and EMPOWER-MKE events in this section in future editions. 

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6th Senate District Legislative Listening
I want to thank you for providing me the opportunity to represent you in the State Legislature! As your senator, I feel that is it critical to provide ample opportunities for you to ask questions and get updates first-hand on community and state happenings. Please save the date for an upcoming town hall happening soon. Details below. 

Listening Session with Senator LaTonya Johnson and the 6th Senate District 
Thursday, May 31, 2018
6 p.m. to 8 p.m.
Washington Park Senior Center 
4420 W Vliet St, Milwaukee, WI 53208
RSVP on Facebook! 

Save the Date! EMPOWER-MKE: July 17!
Back in January, I joined elected officials and community leaders for the 6th Senate Districts first EMPOWER-MKE event. I received a lot of great feedback and suggestions after the event (read more about that event, here), and am excited to be hosting another EMPOWER-MKE event on July 17, 2018. Check next month's newsletter for more details! I will also include further details as they become available at 

April Lookback 

The 6th Senate District is home to many great organizations and community members, and I appreciated meeting with just a handful of them this past month.

Here are a few of the things I've been up to:

  • Celebrating the Grand Opening of Mo's Food Market 
    Mo's Food Market opened its doors to the public for the first time in early April with a lively celebration of Asian culture and community. I spoke with owners Qing Jie Mo and Mary Mo as we watched a traditional Chinese lion dance performer weave between the aisles of produce. We are all very excited to expand access to fresh food and affordable grocery options for Milwaukee's near west side. If you are in the neighborhood, be sure to check this spot out!

  • Sherman Phoenix
    At the beginning of April, I was pleased to attend a press conference highlighting a $250,000 grant to the Sherman Pheonix project. This project seeks to redevelop the BMO Harris Bank that was destroyed during the Sherman Park riots in 2016. I am proud of our community for their work to invest in the Sherman Park neighborhood through this initiative. You can learn more about the Sherman Phoenix project, here. 

  • Child Abuse and Neglect Prevention Month
    Earlier this month, I planted a pinwheel to raise awareness for Child Abuse and Neglect Prevention Month. The national movement, 'Pinwheels for Prevention,' plants blue pinwheels in Pinwheel Garden’s across the country to show a commitment to strong families and healthy children in abuse-and-neglect-free households.

  • Golda Meir Career Day 
    I had a great time a couple weeks ago participating in Career Day at Golda Meir School. While there, I was able to speak with the kids about their future and career goals. No matter what path they choose, these talented young people are going to change the world!


In the News

I'm working hard for Wisconsinites and am fighting to make our communities a better, safer place to live and raise a family. This section of 'Community Connections' will keep you up-to-date on hot topics happening locally, statewide, and nationally. Additionally, I frequently talk to residents of our community, and share your voice and values when talking to members of the media. That said, I'll share articles that I am quoted in, too. 


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Honoring Vel Phillips
I was incredibly saddened by the passing of civil rights champion, Vel Phillips on April 17. Phillips has a long legacy. She was the first African-American woman to graduate from the University of Wisconsin Law School. She was both Milwaukee's first-ever African-American alderperson and the first woman to serve on Milwaukee's Common Council, as well as the first woman to serve as a Milwaukee County judge. She was a leader in making it illegal to discriminate against renters based on race.

To honor the life and legacy of Vel Phillips, her family will greet friends from 4 p.m. until 8 p.m. on Friday, May 4 at Feerick Funeral Home (2025 E. Capitol Dr.) in Shorewood.  A memorial service is slated for St. Mark AME Church (1616 W. Atkinson Ave.) in Milwaukee on Saturday, May 5. It is scheduled to begin at 11 a.m. and go to 1 p.m.

Catching up with Earl Ingram
On Friday, April 13, I was on the Earl Ingram show to give an update to the community on legislative and local happenings. If you missed the show, you can still catch my interview on their podcast at the link above. While on the show, I discussed bills that passed this session and how they will impact our community.

Walker's Welfare Scheme in the Washington Post
A recent Washington Post article discussed the national Republican movement to cut people off from accessing basic necessities. The Washington Post reached out to me for comments on Wisconsin's recent legislation that makes it harder for families to access things like food and housing. In talking with them, I discussed the gross racial disparities in Wisconsin and the reality that many in our state to not clearly understand what happens in Milwaukee's inner city. For example, the growth in manufacturing that’s happening in Wisconsin is largely in the suburbs along the I-94 corridor, where public transportation options are slim. Click the link above to read the full article. 

Serving on a Legislative Study Committee
I am honored that I'll be serving as vice chair of the Legislative Study Committee on Minor Guardianships, alongside State Representative Jim Steineke. This committee's purpose is to examine our current guardianship process and look into ways to improve the lives and wellbeing of Wisconsin children and families. I am looking forward to serving on this important study committee.

Inside MATC's Culinary Art Program
Get an inside look at Milwaukee Area Technical College's Culinary Arts Program! 
A four-part television series produced by Milwaukee PBS titled, “Cook. Plate. Dine," will begin on May 3 on WMVS-TV (Channel 10) and will feature the program.

Lead Testing Grant
Thanks to a generous grant from the Junior League of Milwaukee, the Bucyrus Campus Medical Clinic at St. Ann Center for Intergenerational Care will soon be able to offer on-site lead testing to Milwaukee residents.

The grant will allow Bucyrus Campus Medical Clinic to purchase a capillary blood lead test kit, which will allow hundreds of Milwaukee residents to be checked for elevated lead levels this year. In addition, the Clinic will provide families with information on lead poisoning and provide strategies to help minimize lead exposure in the home. Information regarding appointment scheduling will be available soon.

Wisconsin Democrats: 
Under the Dome Update*

Senate and Assembly Democrats provide a weekly update to help keep Wisconsin citizens informed about activity happening at the State Capitol and stay updated on how your elected officials are voting on important issues in Madison. Click on the links below to view recent editions of 'Under the Dome.'


*Due to legislative activity coming to a close, the Under the Dome Updates will be halted until 2019. This section of the newsletter will continue to provide links to the Under the Dome updates at that time. 

Useful Phone Numbers

There are many levels of state and local government that can help answer questions and get you connected with resources you may need. I have listed some useful phone numbers below. You can also see a comprehensive list of numbers by clicking the link below. If you see a change needed or an important number that should be added, please let me know! 

Congresswoman Gwen Moore.............................414-297-1140
Governor Walker..................................................608-266-1212
Milwaukee Common Council...............................414-286-2221
Milwaukee Country Board....................................414-278-4222
Milwaukee Police Department.............................414-933-4444
Poison Control......................................................800-222-1222
Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program..............800-815-0015

Medigap Helpline.................................................800-242-1060
Consumer Protection Hotline..............................800-422-7128
Department of Health Services............................608-266-1865
Workforce Development......................................608-266-3131
Public Service Commission..................................800-225-7729
SeniorCare Wisconsin.........................................800-657-2038
WI Commissioner of Insurance Complaints.......800-236-8517

For other useful phone numbers, click here!