Exploring how the Madison region can reach its true potential
A. David Dahmer
There is no doubt that madison is a special and unique city. It’s often considered one of the best places to live in America. From “Healthiest” to “Safest” to “Best Biking Town” to “Best Schools” to “Smartest City” to “Best Place to Start a Family,” the national accolades that we earn are well deserved and go on and on.
As Madison reels in recognition from national media outlets, it is also rapidly becoming a much more diverse community. The days of walking around downtown without seeing a person of color are long gone. As are the days of having to travel all the way to Milwaukee or Chicago to get delicious soul food or an authentic Mexican meal.
Yes, diversity is here to stay in Madison, and where so many cities have failed during this similar stage in growth, we are in that unique position where we can get things right. As we grow from a mid-sized community to a full-fledged metropolis, we have a chance to avoid the pitfalls of larger U.S. cities that see racial segregation and profound and persistent racial disparities in health, education, child welfare, criminal justice, employment and income.
Our first and most important step in helping Madison become that ideal city is getting to know all of our community, understanding all of our community and celebrating all of our community.
At the weekly newspaper the Madison Times, we highlight all of the interesting, inspiring people, their positive impact as well as the abundant activities that are going on in Madison’s fast-growing communities of color. More than twenty-two years old, the Madison Times is one of the city’s oldest, most established minority-owned businesses. We capture many of the fantastic diverse events that happen in Madison and list many more in our “What’s Up?” section of the paper. The Madison Times is that important resource that can connect all communities.
We recognize that Madison is at a very critical point right now and we’ve covered extensively current challenges we face and opportunities that exist. Despite dismal racial disparity statistics that have the potential to blemish our great reputation, the city of Madison does have the passion, the talent, the resources and the will to implement solutions to improve outcomes and reduce those disparities in our community and to keep us from seeing the same fate as so many other growing U.S. cities.
Madison can be that model community. The city that took a different path. The city that bucked the trend. We have the resources and the passion. We have great potential.
But it’s imperative that we not only start making that move to appreciate and celebrate our diversity as an asset, but to take that next bodacious step out of our comfort zones to interact with people who are different from us. Because we are all in this together. We cannot and should not accept a reality of “two Madisons”—one in which people thrive, another in which they struggle. Instead we can and should strive for a model, multicultural Madison.
Why not start today?
A. David Dahmer is editor in chief of the Madison Times Weekly Newspaper.