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Community members propose African American statue stands at Capitol

A city leader wrote an open letter to state leaders proposing to mount a statue honoring Vel Philips
Published: Jul. 5, 2020 at 11:09 PM CDT
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MADISON, Wis. (WMTV) - Empty pedestals surround Wisconsin’s State Capitol where statues once stood. Some community members said it’s a great opportunity for change.

“The fact that there’s zero black representation in or around the building, it’d be good,” Tim Beasley, Madison resident said.

Beasley said adding an African American statue would drive an important influence of representation.

"Belonging, a sense of respect, we're all equal," he said.

"I started thinking in my mind who was the most influential African American in this state, and I couldn't think of anyone better than Vel Philips," Michael Johnson, Boys & Girls Club of Dane County CEO said.

Johnson wrote an open letter to state leaders proposing to mount a statue honoring Vel Philips. Phillips is the nation’s first black woman elected to a statewide office. She’s an activist and civil rights leader who marked many firsts for Wisconsin.

"Not just African American kids, but for white kids too, people of color need to see people who look like them throughout the Capitol," Johnson said.

"It's long past time. We've had statues of all other people, why don't we have statues of black people here?" Loren D'amico, Madison resident who started the petition said.

He saw the open letter from Johnson and took action. He started a petition to add the statue that has gained nearly 1300 signatures. It’s a change, he said, is long overdue.

“I see this moment as our reiteration in the 60s, our moments that we can seize and create change,” he said. “That’s part of our role in this country to fight for the equality of everyone

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