Local black leaders reflect on changes, actions since August 2020; say the community has a long way to go | Local News

“We now have a Kenosha Black business directory. We have a new improved Juneteenth. We have the Black Wall Street market, ”added Owens, a recent winner of the Mahone Fund’s Living Legend Award for his work in uplifting the community. “So we do certain things. “

Following the unrest, Owens said he was invited to join “every city, every county and every faith group.” He could not.

“I was too close to the situation,” said Owens, who supported and moderated the Blake family’s community gatherings. “I was just exhausted listening to whites talk to me about how whites should treat blacks. I have moved away from a lot of these groups. I was not angry or angry. I had to make sure I was okay.

“I’ll say I’m proud Kenosha has a lot of people and all the names that wanted to make a difference. I know white people, black people, Latinos, Middle Easterners in these groups and I appreciate that.

“Do I feel that there is progress? Yes. Baby steps are progressing, yes, ”he said. “Still, we have a long way to go. “

Citing U.S. census data for Kenosha, Owens said residents of Italian descent made up 12% of the local population and African Americans about 11%. And yet, gaps remain in education, political leadership, healthcare, among others.

“And we’re only one percent of the population of another community. We salute the Italian American Club and every building you look around, we eat in a lot of their restaurants and patronize a lot of their businesses, ”he said. “But how can Kenosha be strong without a strong and prosperous African American community? “

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