This picture includes people from the Milwaukee County Committee I co-chair.
These are facts that might have been omitted from the application I submitted to County Executive Chris Abele to serve on the Milwaukee Mental Health Board. I was nominated for the Milwaukee Mental Health Board this spring and it was a top 10 experience. Up there with my prom date, receiving my draft number and going to New York to become a hippie. Many of these are things that might not have shown up if someone was doing a thorough background check on me. I have attended one of these Mental Health Board meetings and I said I was in favor of creating a peer run respite in Milwaukee. Which I still am. I have a number of other names by which I have been known, what you might call aliases. In the 7th grade I was known as that black bastard by an asshole I had to fight with. By high school I was a traitor because I refused to stand up for the pledge of allegiance. I was living in a racist city where the school board operated two separate school districts, and there was nothing separate but equal about them. And I was quite certain I was not going to be just a number.
I was very radical in my youth because I was excited about the people of Africa regaining their freedom. I wanted to see Portuguese troops leaving Africa by whatever means necessary. I was a little too young to understand what had happened to Patrice Lumumba. I was a baseball fan but I did not live and die on whatever Willie Mays had done. The song Young Gifted and Black helped define me and my generation. We were poetin.
But times have changed and so have I. My lovely brown hair has turned gray. Some of the heroes I admired have been killed. Counterrevolution has killed many of our African freedom fighters. After protesting the US military, I allowed myself to be drafted. As a man of 66 years I have a long career behind me and a relatively short career ahead of me. A lot of this depends on which of my 93 year old mother’s genes win out and whether I am found guilty of driving while black (or brown, which technically, I still am). I am working my 40 hour shift at the agency you help to pay for. I co-chair a Milwaukee County committee. And I write about things in my blog that appeal to me. I have never been rich. I have outlived my father many years and I stand for black lives matter. If those are the kind of traits you want represented on a body that helps make mental health decisions in Milwaukee County, then by all means go ahead and pick me. If not, I will always be Kenyatta.