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Dear Friends and Neighbors, 

February is Black History Month! I always look forward to being part of the programming that the Wisconsin Legislative Black Caucus puts on in the Captiol and in Milwaukee. The City of Milwaukee and County of Milwaukee, as well as many local organizations throughout the community, also offer many opportunities to celebrate the accomplishments of African Americans presently and throughout our history. I hope you have a chance to take part in some of these opportunities. Below I have included information about some of the events that the Black Caucus is hosting. 

As always, please let my office know what issues are important to you! 


Sincerely, 

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LaTonya Johnson
State Senator

 

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Be Prepared for Tax Season!

Tax season is here. The Department of Revenue (DOR) has helped create programs to help ease the process of filing your taxes. VITA (Volunteer Income Tax Assistance) is a free tax preparation program. Another program, called Tax Counseling for the Elderly (TCE) assists residents 60 years of age and older that have questions about pensions and retirement. These programs allow for taxpayers to get their Earned Income Tax Credit, and their Homestead Credit. 

Click here for more information about these programs.

 

Celebrating Black History Month 

 

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As in previous years, the Legislative Black Caucus will be hosting a variety of programming at the State Capitol and in Milwaukee to observe Black History Month in February. Black History Month is an opportunity to reflect on the history, culture, and progress of African Americans. This year, the Black Caucus will focus on a specific topic each week. Topics will include economic development, health and mental health, education and families, and criminal justice. 

In addition to these events, Governor Evers and Lt. Governor Barnes have acknowledged the national theme for Black History Month this year, which is African Americans and the Vote. This theme, selected by the Association for the Study of African American Life and History, was chosen because 2020 marks the 100th anniversary of the Nineteenth Amendment and the culmination of the women’s suffrage movement as well as the 150th of the Fifteenth Amendment (1870), which acknowledged the right of black men to vote after the Civil War. 

As Governor Evers and Lt. Governor Barnes pointed out at our Capitol kick-off press conference, this theme speaks to the ongoing battle of voter suppression, particularly for marginalized groups. For those reasons, they
 stressed the need to protect voting rights, ensure this year's census is conducted accurately, and redraw legislative and congressional districts fairly.

Click here to learn more about the history of this year's theme from the Association for the Study of African American Life and History.

Click here for a larger version of the flyer below.

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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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On March 21, I am thrilled to be hosting my next EMPOWER-MKE event, the second of a two-part informational series about navigating our criminal justice system. 

Part one of this series, held on September 21, 2019, focused on providing a greater understanding of the role of law enforcement in our community, and how residents can work with our local police districts to ensure safe and secure neighborhoods. Part two of the EMPOWER-MKE: Navigating the Criminal Justice System series, will focus on providing information and resources to individuals who are in the criminal justice system, such as information about how the court process works.


EMPOWER-MKE: Navigating the Criminal Justice System Part 2
When: Saturday, March 21
Registration: 8:30 a.m. | Program: 9 a.m.
Where: Washington Park Senior Center, 4420 Vliet Street
RSVP: By calling 414-313-1241 or emailing Sen.Johnson@legis.wi.gov


This event will bring together experts to talk openly with community members about how the criminal justice system works, and is strictly informational. No legal advice on specific situations or cases will be provided.

If you have a specific question that you would like the speakers to address, you can email it to me ahead of time at Sen.Johnson@legis.wi.gov.

 

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ICYMI: 2019 Lookback!
Last month, I shared this 2019 lookback with you. It has been a privilege to serve the 6th Senate District, and I was grateful to have spent time getting to know my neighbors better throughout this past year. I was also thankful to visit many amazing organizations and churches in our community. From volunteer days to our summer outreach program and opening a new district office, 2019 was a busy year. In case you missed last month's newsletter, here's a snapshot of the past year:

  • Johnson Office Volunteer Days! 
    This year, my office started doing regular volunteer days with organizations throughout the community. I am inspired to see and be part of all of the great work happening around the 6th Senate District. My staff and I spent time at Next Door Milwaukee volunteering with the Read With Me program, had a blast gardening at Groundwork, assisted building a Habitat for Humanity house,  helped put together over 880 Stockboxes at Hunger Task Force, and organized and cleaned the facilities at Neighborhood House. Thank you to all of these organizations for allowing us to have an inside look at your day-to-day operations.  

  • Summer Outreach in the 6th Senate District
    This summer and fall, my office and I went door-to-door to talk to community members about the issues and concerns that matter most to them. We spent the majority of our time talking with people in the 53206 neighborhood, as well as Riverwest and other areas in the district and knocked on about 6,000 doors. Reckless driving, public safety, vacant homes, potholes and access to quality child care were some of the major things we heard about while out in the community. Of course, there is no one solution to fixing all of the concerns that were shared. However, I have been working tirelessly to do what I can at the state level to improve the everyday lives of our loved ones and neighbors. For instance, I have introduced legislation to combat reckless driving, supported Governor Tony Evers' state budget that would have put more money into fixing our local roads, and advocated for an investment in quality child care in the 53206 neighborhood. Our office also reached out to local branches of government to bring attention to things we heard from our neighbors, such as streetlights being out and requests for speed bumps on busy streets. 

  • EMPOWER-MKE Citizen Engagement Events
    I hosted two EMPOWER-MKE events in 2019, focusing on areas that community members said were of interest to them. In January, a wide range of stakeholders and experts came to talk to individuals about affordable housing and related issues. In September, we held the first of a two-part series on navigating the criminal justice system. Stay tuned for more information about our next event in the series. 

  • Visiting Churches in the 6th Senate District 
    This year, I was honored to visit over 20 churches around the community. I appreciate being welcomed to worship with so many of my neighbors. I look forward to seeing many more of you at your places of worship throughout 2020.
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. 

 

Apply for the State of Wisconsin Student Diversity Internship Program
Recently, Governor Evers' administration revamped and launched the State of Wisconsin Student Diversity Internship program. If you or someone you know is looking for a paid internship opportunity in a professional work environment, consider applying for this exceptional opportunity!

This program is offered to students of diverse racial and ethnic backgrounds, female students, students with disabilities, and Veterans that are students.

To participate in the 2020 Student Diversity Internship Program, students must be a Wisconsin resident and currently attending, or plan to attend an accredited two- or four-year college/university or a vocational/technical school program in the 2020/2021 school year. The deadline to apply is March 2. 
 

Policymakers for Peace Network
I believe in a need for community-led solutions to end gun violence. For this reason, I’m honored to have recently joined a new national group called Policymakers for Peace to focus on solutions that tackle the root causes of gun violence, rather than just temporary fixes.

Want to be part of a movement committed to broadening conversations about gun violence prevention? Sign up to stay connected as a citizen activist.

Earn Extra Money by being a Census Taker
Every ten years, the U.S. Census Bureau is responsible for conducting the nationwide census. While the next census will be taken in 2020, the Census Bureau is already recruiting to fill temporary positions as a Census Taker. As a Census Taker, you will get paid to help your community. #2020CensusJobs are temporary, provide extra income and weekly pay, have flexible hours and even your training is paid. Apply online here. 

 

C.R.O.W.N. bill gets a Public Hearing
A couple of weeks ago, I testified in a state Assembly committee on a bill I have co-authored with Senator Taylor and Representatives Myers and Stubbs.

This bill, AB 440, also called the C.R.O.W.N. (Creating a Respectful and Open Workplace for Natural hair) Act, seeks to add discriminations based on the hairstyle to our state's anti-discrimination laws, including traits historically associated with race identification, such as hair texture and protective hairstyles like braids, locs, and twists.

 

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.'

 

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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 Evers.....................................................608-266-1212
Milwaukee Common Council...............................414-286-2221
Milwaukee County 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!