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Art and Integration
Local groups to highlight segregation in Milwaukee with art and design.

Father James Groppi leads a fair housing march in 1966.

A local group of designers are putting their own spin on the 60th anniversary of the historic Brown v. Board of Education decision that ultimately lead to the racial integration of public schools. And in doing so they're pointing out that in Wisconsin, there's still a very long way to go.

The American Institute of Graphic Art's (AIGA) local chapter, which is celebrating its 100th anniversary, along with the NAACP, ACLU Milwaukee Teachers' Education Association and Schools and Communities United have created a campaign called Greater Together, which will be an "awareness" push that shows just how far Milwaukee has come - or not - since the U.S. Supreme Court's 1954 decision.

Among other things, the groups will be distributing report card booklets filled with artfully designed statistics about how Milwaukee and Wisconsin stack up nationally in certain social justice realms.

One of the most glaring examples comes from a 2014 study by the Annie E. Casey Foundation that found that Wisconsin is one of the worst states in the country for African-American children in fostering economic and academic success; however, Wisconsin, by the same measures, is the 10th best state for Caucasian children.

Wisconsin also has the widest achievement gap between black and white children, the worst incarceration rate for black men, and a relatively very low rate of Hispanic-owned businesses.  For African-American and Hispanic people in the metro Milwaukee area, the poverty rate is higher now than it was in 1979, and more than three times higher than the poverty rate for Caucasian people in the same geographic area.

Tomorrow, May 17, the groups will be hosting a unity parade at 10 a.m. with a one-mile walk from Martin Luther King Park  Milwaukee High School of the Arts.

Images courtesy of AIGA.

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POSTED 1/12/2015