April 16, 2015

Dear Members of our Madison and Dane County Community,

We came together in October 2014 in the wake of the officer-involved shooting in Ferguson, MO. to discuss how we could assist our community as we all reacted to this tragedy. As we met regularly, our focus was how to protect people’s civil rights and safety during this time, but our conversation also spanned the work needed to further address the root issues contributing to racial disparities in our own community.

Following the officer-involved shooting of Tony Robinson we immediately gathered but with increased shock, sadness and gravity. Since that time we have all been shaken by what seems to be an undeniable rash of these occurrences in our nation. But we each, and all, felt a responsibility to stay together to continue to assist in whatever way we could with how our community is processing our tragedy at home. We understand the fear, anger and extreme sadness this has released.

Soon our District Attorney will be making a determination on this case. There likely will be other decision points along the way. We want to point out some resources to individuals and families over the coming weeks and ask for your help.

First, if anyone you know is experiencing challenges they cannot handle alone and don’t know where to turn please call 2-1-1. There are a myriad of mental health, behavioral health, and other services available. The service is available 24 hours 7 days a week.

Next, many families have asked about how to talk to their young children about this issue. We understand that this causes stress to children of all ages. The Center for Disease Control has a very helpful link that helps parents talk to children about difficult crisis in an age appropriate way. This information can be found at www.cdc.gov/violenceprevention/pub/coping_with_stress_tips.html

Finally, the Boys and Girls Club is putting together a Youth and Unity Summit, which many of us are co- sponsoring, on April 26 at Memorial High School. Please go to www.youthandunity2015.com to learn more about this summit and how to register. It will be a great opportunity for young people to come together so we can hear their voices on this issue.

We understand that hard, hard work, self-reflection and the need for understanding and change are ahead of us. We’re committed to working on and dedicating our organizations’ resources to correcting these racial disparities. As we navigate these coming weeks we ask for understanding and that everyone exercise his or her civil rights respectfully & peacefully.

Yours in community,

Dr. Floyd Rose
100 Black Men
Bishop Harold Rayford
African American Council of Churches
Michael Johnson
Boys and Girls Clubs of Dane County
Gloria Reyes
City of Madison
Chief Mike Koval
City of Madison Police Department
Charles A. Tubbs Sr.
Dane County
Greg Jones
Dane County NAACP
Chief Craig Shervan
Dane County Chiefs of Police Association
Sheriff Dave Mahoney
Dane County Sheriff’s Office
Peng Her
Hmong Community Leader
Jennifer Cheatham
Madison Metropolitan School District
Luis Yudice
Madison Metropolitan School District
Reverend Alex Gee Jr.
Nehemiah Center for Urban Leadership
Leslie Ann Howard
United Way of Dane County
Chief Susan Riseling
University of Wisconsin Madison Police Department
Noble Wray
Urban League of Greater Madison