Urban League of Greater Madison to
Launch One Madison Campaign
Uniting Two Madisons
President/CEO Kaleem Caire and the Urban
League of Greater Madison have developed
a strategic plan to to help Madison close the
socioeconomic gaps that exist between its
always experience 25 percent poverty. In a city this prosperous, if we could overcome that, imagine what could happen here. I told the
mayor and all of these people that they complain about them, but we have the best poor people here in America. How many murders do
we have in one year? Has the rate ever changed? It is said that we have a great police force. It would be greater if everyone was off the
chain. They don’t stop people from shooting. They round them up when they do. What is it? People come here seeking the same thing.
Some find it; some don’t. Those who don’t find it get depressed. Those who do, some might succeed and move on, but Madison could be
Caire already sees signs of that happening now.
“The Black-Latino Unity Picnic, that is progress,” Caire said. “Even if 50-100 people show, that’s progress because they do it every year.
Lisa’s event, the Black Women’s Wellness Day, got all of these sponsors from companies to sign up: hospitals, you name it. They are
coming on board. The dental health association just came on board. The GirlTrek initiative that Vanika is heading up is progress. What
the Latino Chamber has done is phenomenal. What Peng Her and the Hmong community did this summer with the Hmong culture group
was great. There is all of this stuff that is happening. And at the same time, you have great things like Taste of Madison and Concerts on
the Square. The Farmers Market on the Capitol Square has more diversity, especially from the Hmong community. If we can focus on that,
we already have the nucleus for a movement. A lot of stuff is already happening, but we lose focus and then it goes away. We want a
movement so that we don’t lose focus.”
On September 28, the Urban League held the One Madison Community Festival that featured food, entertainment and information booths
from across the spectrum of the South Madison and greater Madison community. It was a small reflection of the movement, the One
Madison movement, that the Urban League plans to focus its energies on in the future. On November 15, the Urban League will roll out its
vision for that movement at a fundraiser.
“The One Madison initiative is meant to bring everyone around the ideal that everyone should be able to prosper,” Caire said. “So we say
it is a mission, not a message. It’s not just something you throw on a page. It is something we have to live by.”
Caire recognizes that the solutions go beyond the Urban League’s resources and so One Madison is envisioned as a communitywide
“We’re going to show people what we do more than people have ever seen before,” Caire said about the fundraiser. “But they are going
to see whom we do it with. It’s not just going to be, ‘Hey look the Urban League has this program.’ Guess what? The UW-Madison will be
there. Madison College, all of our partners will be there so people can see what we can create because we’re doing it already. And when
they look at themselves, they will see that where in their lives, they are doing this a little bit themselves already, but they have to have a
movement to get behind that carries us forward, something that puts us all in the same boat going in the same direction. That way you
won’t have a lot of people back there pulling and tugging holding you back. And I think Madison will be better off. We’ll work hard to
come up with names and things like that of what Madison’s future will be. You can’t get there if people in this community don’t value it.
And there are a whole lot of people who value it differently.”
If Madison is going to effectively compete on a global level, it must be able to attract and retain people from every walk of life. One
Madison is a movement to get Madison there.
“Madison should become the best place in the Midwest to live, learn and work,” Caire said. “Now is the time to move towards this
notion of One Madison. If we are going to realize that vision that we have something for everyone, then everyone has to be able to have
an opportunity. This community needs to provide that for everyone, not indifferently between different groups, but for everyone.”
The November 15th event, titled Jazz Cabaret: Celebrate Achievement will be held 5:30 - 10 p.m. at Monona Terrace. It will feature artists,
magicians and performers providing a multi-sensory experience. Tickets are $75 and can be purchased online at www.ulgm.org. For
more information, contact Hedi Rudd at 729-1268 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
By Jonathan Gramling
Part 2 of 2
When you talk candidly to people from many different ethnic and racial backgrounds, the
picture emerges that there are two Madisons. While there are people from every racial and
ethnic group who have come to Madison and prospered, it is often Euro-Americans who
have a more unfettered access to the means of pursuing life, liberty and happiness than
those from other backgrounds who come up against often invisible barriers to achieving
their life goals.
Kaleen Caire, president and CEO of the Urban League of Greater Madison, grew up in
Madison and has seen these different sides of Madison. And he firmly believes that there
needs to be One Madison, an urban area where all people have access to opportunities
that will lead to a high quality of life. And if Madison is able to achieve this, it will have the
competitive advantage over other urban areas in terms of flourishing in the global
“My biggest job is can we transform one community in America and show that it is
possible,” Caire asked. “Madison is small enough to do that. There are smart people here.
It can be done here. If it can’t be done here, I don’t know where we can do it. We have the
lowest poverty rate overall still in the nation. Ours went up from a 1.3 percent poverty rate
to a 5.5 percent rate. There are cities and towns around this country that would value that
during the best of times. But there are those of us who never experience that. We