thumbnail of American Journey; 104
Hide -
If this transcript has significant errors that should be corrected, let us know, so we can add it to FIX IT+
I'm a great you know James Baldwin said that in black who is relatively gotcha's relatively to say fully just a little bit. Time is always in a state where. More than a little bit. I'm very conscious and I have. Always was that. Way. Because there's so many things as. There's not right. There's so much has gone on that we need to step aside. And so I do my part. But I know one thing people should always say Ali when he's out there fighting. Now I promise things you can do stuff. That. Didn't have to be.
Honest. Good morning. Ed.. For. Some. It's no surprise to me that Wisconsin is the scene of the one of the most interesting experiments in education reform. Or that Tommy Thompson's the catalyst for change. He's told me about the Milwaukee choice program. Starting next school year nearly 1000 underprivileged kids from Milwaukee's inner city schools are going to have a chance to attend the private nonsectarian school of their choice with the state. So with the state supplying
their share of tax dollars for for tuition how many found an ally in his fight for Milwaukee choice in a former welfare mother and Democrat named Polly Williams a woman who'd heard a lifetime's worth of worn out excuses on what's wrong with our schools. Ah. What I want to do is to make a try to save as many children as I can to educate as many children as as we can. That was my focus for the choice is to educate children that are not been educated. Now that's my main My main concern with the students that are not been educated if in getting those children educated that the Milwaukee public schools will get better. That's great but I'm not out to destroy the public school system. That is not my main target My target is to keep them from destroying continue to destroy children and business most of whom are African-American children.
My peers will not allow their kids to be mistreated the way black children not being mistreated now on this issue. Don't they have the right. Say that they don't want to challenge us. Everything they have done up until now was moving toward getting this bill passed. It's a bill that empowers low income families were given a grant from the state. The twenty five hundred dollars that the state of Wisconsin the stae share that we give to all students in the city of Milwaukee is twenty five hundred dollars. So what we're doing at the state is given the parents the option to take that 25 on a dollar grant and go and purchase education outside of the public school system. In recent months Representative Williams has renewed focus on the issue of choice in education in the city of Milwaukee as well as the national attention on the issue. The Milwaukee public school system has about approximately 100000 students. The largest school district in the state of Wisconsin.
Although most of those students we have approximately thirty one thousand children are protected predominately black children are riding in buses every morning in the city of Milwaukee thirty one thousand children. And they're riding the buses because there is no seat for them because there's no place much. In the neighborhood. Close to the family. And we also on the corner here in the city of Milwaukee. And the court order they say is why they have to do this to our children. That the court order says that we have to deal with the disaggregate the schools and the way they did that was to put all these black children on the bus. Parents say OK I'll suffer that if as you know they run much out is going to be educated. We know we have to suffer and struggle for it when we get so we'll I'll do
that I'll put my child on the bus for the sake of education. But it didn't happen. There was no education of the bus ride. Plan factorization for this person is a. Prime factorization. I was one of those parents who refused to put my challenge in bus when the order came down because I know integration had nothing to do with education. I knew that and I also would not accept the fact that the only way my child can learn is that they must sit next to watch oh so and I feel like a child to be educated no matter where they live. I feel that no matter what color they are. I feel that no matter what the neighborhood I fear that because I have a single parent you can still learn. We don't want.
Integration. We don't want integration as a condition of education. Yours is. Six times ten. These are turned to schools have a 98 percent graduation rate. Ninety eight percent. Your. Work. Time. And 90 percent of these kids all go on to. Higher education. Milwaukee public schools are exact opposite. We believe that every child can learn if given the opportunity and that's what they do when those are turned to schools. And that's why we have this bill. And we were talking to Empowering Parents that's what we're about the only way we're going to get the chains of promise in the schools. Parents have got to be involved. Parents have got to make those
decisions. Yes no question. They come out. Yeah. You know now that I think about it wasn't that bad because we lived in a little segregated little town we lived in you know all black people lived in one part of town and the white people lived in the other part of town. But we were it was OK. And terms of the fact that we had all of us all of it neighbors everybody
was like family. But we were poor very very poor. Repairs were to work in the fields. Shop and pick cotton. I was poor and one of the neighborhood was poor so I didn't make that much of a difference to me except my sisters and brother I think have problems. That is frightening. But with me you know I am I was a kid and I was poor I knew it you know but it didn't matter because everyone else was too. That we hung out where we went to private schools. Course I was an urban one of the schools that's involved in the choice program. Urban Day I think is responsible for. Molding me and for me being the way I am today outside of what my mother over and you're here is me right now and I'm in law school for like a year last week. I have a lot of her characteristics very assertive.
I'm aggressive when necessary. It makes you feel unworthy and that something is wrong with you and your low life. But I was on it for a while and luckily I had a job that I could always go back to. And so it wasn't like it was a did anything for me and but my kids didn't like it and didn't like the idea when that chick came in with a pink below you know with the pink chick peering through the cellophane and the food stamps and things like that and then go shopping with me. You know one of our local black president a walky you know I think of the paper and I'm always the must have depicted very negative sometimes you know like with a gun in my hand. Robin
a poor public school. You know that was the most the most ridiculous pitching you could have painted about me. Of all the ways to depict what I did that certainly wasn't what I've done is because I've got I've never had a gun in my in my life. It's an. Absolute. Panic. Response to the fact that. Prison is a prison. Not. To. Drive a truck. Kind of deprivation. That comes. From trying to. Get a perm.
What kind of racial isolation takes place surrounds this sort of sense to the proposal would have. Been years from the first from two point five dollars to further racially isolate. Black. Truck. So he does not like this program because it gives API power. And he doesn't have the power. Plays had up until now and he didn't do a very good job. So now it's into the parents. Let's see what you can do. Let's see if you can do better than a state superintendent and find a good school. They don't really educate the children and their nation. So the purposes of the common school in America are a fun way to civilize our people and then engage us in a common social contract Obam rights responsibilities and privileges and opportunities. And when we start to harbor together different ways
around us. So Shirish will add mix that isolates us from each other. Weary we're going to have trouble down the line and terms of the American culture and the American lifestyle. Yes. There was never a doubt in my mind that. We would we would see the September 4th and the
children with the company. I knew we would. Look at the stories that history make us look at is that it. This is beautiful. And this is that. You know we don't need to waste resources but they have what they have. No excuse to say that they can't educate. And graduated from the school. Shared this with a lot of pride and dignity. Everybody's going to look at what you know because we know you live right now but I won't let you down from being the
best. I have a purpose I want to feel that we have a purpose in life and we also always want to feel that we have made a difference. And as we travel through this life you know everybody wants us to be able to say that I've left something you know back and then I've done something good. Well I can die happy you know this is one thing I always wanted to do was make a difference and I think I am. I've had to give up a lot already and I've retained just
enough to keep my interest keep me busy. I'm not on the road seven days a week. Or a night or teaching every day. I can't do that anymore but I've got just enough to keep me happy. Tipping point. Lot of my musician friends are all gone now. A lot of mine are sick but it's you know like acting like ballet or like a live musical fields. Go home and I don't want to. Stereotype or anything like it. There are a lot of gays involved with the fine arts. So we just see amongst ourselves a lot. Of information slut boy are you registering as a key ring of Adelaide today.
It's just happened to have been the majority of gays have gotten it but a lot of people don't realize this. For instance over in Africa and most parts of Europe it's a heterosexual sex. Than women straights old people young people. The little kids the dogs everything everybody that's walking here shows that more walking is a caring city. Is really opening up. To. Be more aware of the AIDS epidemic. Four years ago next month four years ago April. Had you been sick. Yeah but it wasn't anything related to that. They did take me down to the hospital in just more extensive testing than they did the routine blood work and I
just happened to do an HIV test. Because the doctor suspected that I was gay. And then things went downhill from there because this particular doctor had a bedside manner of an aardvark. Literally. You know he signed my death certificate for me that day. I was four years ago. I. Although it's. Inevitable it's going to be terminal. At one point or another. They're coming up with all these new drugs and everything that are giving us quality life and a longer life extending that. When the first dates cases came out people were diagnosed HIV positive and were dead within six months.
I've been here four years already. And that was a job I just did to get a contract renewed. Because they found no. Legal. Technically. Now you know because a lot of state laws and a lot of federal laws don't apply to churches.
Did you get angry at people's reactions angry at the lack of compassion. Angry at the bigotry. I've experienced a lot of that. People who call themselves Christians turn around and tell you that this is God's punishment now and you deserve it. So here's people who are supposed to be loving the same God made all of us and all of a sudden they're better than I am. But most important of all let me step out of this walk be a
step for dignity and justice and against prejudice and discrimination. Through the Wisconsin AIDS walk we affirm today that AIDS is no longer a lonely stigmatized disease but it is an epidemic that affects people from all walks of life who deserve dignity and respect and who have our total commitment and support. Thank you. Ugh. Ugh. Ugh. I wanna get out. I didn't have any doubt that we have a good turnout of course beautiful day like this today helps to. It's. Nice to know that there's people out there to care for the silly. Maybe twenty five hundred of them. We've got a million people here we've got to reach out to.
People and. We're just on the tip of the iceberg now. And it's going to explode Jepson Wisconsin is just sitting on a time bomb and we've got to get the word out there. And when I say rather big. The first time I came here I didn't come alone and I recommend my friends you know and I've seen it not come along. It's heavy. It is that the
pictures are very craft like. I've seen all this happen to my friends already. And. I don't know if it's when I have to look forward to or not. You know you take something like this here. Just a simple thing like. Taking care of your own personal things in the bathroom and just doing things for yourself whether it's shaving or washing up. On. For a lot of people it's really difficult. I'm a shy naturally shy person when it comes to certain things and. I would rather be able to do it myself. You get to a certain point with disease and. You're feeding the virus in you not feeding yourself the viruses taking all the nourishment. And that's what happens. With something
like this. We call it the wasting. So it's. In the body just totally wastes away to nothing. Now the pictures seem the same but. The diseases are. As individual with each one of these pictures as of a beach where everybody was infected. Or. Went missing. After all this is we're sick and tired of being sick and tired. I say that with a smile because we got. Something. Like. That or you know what the outcome is going to be.
This record is featured in “Education Reporting on Public Television.”
Want to help make this content more accessible? Correct our machine-generated transcript.
American Journey
Episode Number
Contributing Organization
Wisconsin Public Television (Madison, Wisconsin)
Public Broadcasting Service Series NOLA
AMJO 000000
If you have more information about this item than what is given here, we want to know! Contact us, indicating the AAPB ID (cpb-aacip/29-62f7m72g).
No description available
Social Issues
Content provided from the media collection of Wisconsin Public Broadcasting, a service of the Board of Regents of the University of Wisconsin System and the Wisconsin Educational Communications Board. All rights reserved by the particular owner of content provided. For more information, please contact 1-800-422-9707
Media type
Moving Image
Embed Code
Copy and paste this HTML to include AAPB content on your blog or webpage.
AAPB Contributor Holdings
Wisconsin Public Television (WHA-TV)
Identifier: WPT1.72.T4 MA (Wisconsin Public Television)
Format: U-matic
Generation: Master
Duration: 00:30:00?
If you have a copy of this asset and would like us to add it to our catalog, please contact us.
Chicago: “American Journey; 104,” Wisconsin Public Television, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (WGBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC, accessed May 26, 2019,
MLA: “American Journey; 104.” Wisconsin Public Television, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (WGBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Web. May 26, 2019. <>.
APA: American Journey; 104. Boston, MA: Wisconsin Public Television, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (WGBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Retrieved from