ACTIVE ISSUE CAMPAIGNS
Common Ground leaders have been hard at work since our founding in 2008, creating real change in Milwaukee and the WOW counties. Here are the issues we are currently focused on.
Washington High School’s Home Field Advantage
Washington High School in Sherman Park is a community hub that thousands of students and community members use a place to play and stay healthy, yet the facility is in a state of decay and disrepair. Common Ground is working to change that.
Do Not Stand Idly By
Common Ground is partnering with the our east coast network – Metro IAF – on a campaign to curb gun violence and save lives, all without jeopardizing the ability of law-abiding Americans to buy and own firearms.
Common Ground leaders are researching the current state of workforce development efforts in Milwaukee. We are particularly interested in programs that improve the employment prospects for those coming out of incarceration.
South Side Organizing
As we continue to build our base on the South Side, we are researching possible issues and opportunities for action around immigration, racial profiling, the 2020 census and public safety.
LEGACY ISSUE CAMPAIGNS
Milwaukee Rising LLC
In 2009, after the sub-prime mortgage crisis, there were 300 vacant, foreclosed homes in the 200 square blocks around St Joseph Hospital in the Sherman Park neighborhood. With a team of 80 volunteers on its Foreclosure Crisis Team, Common Ground was able to negotiate with Deutsche Bank, Wells Fargo, Bank of America, Chase and US Bank to provide $33 million in grants and mortgages so that Milwaukee Rising LLC could be established to restore the Sherman Park housing market. Since then Milwaukee Rising LLC has acquired, rehabilitated and sold over 90 foreclosed properties to homeowners in Sherman Park. Millions of dollars in home equity has been restored and a stronger tax base and housing market now exists in Sherman Park. There are few if any vacant homes around St Joseph Hospital.
Common Ground Healthcare Cooperative
A Team of 50 Common Ground volunteers fed up with the lack of affordable, consumer oriented health insurance for individuals, small businesses and non-profits began the Common Ground Healthcare Cooperative in 2013. CGHC is the only non-profit, cooperatively governed health insurance company serving over 60,000 members in the 20 counties of eastern Wisconsin. CGHC has grown to be financially successful and employs over 100 people, 38% of whom are people of color. Another testimony to the power of organized, ordinary people.
In August of 2018 Common Ground launched an investigation into possible racial profiling practices by Waukesha Sheriff Department because of the disturbing treatment of Pastors Williams and Patterson as they waited for their roadside assistance to arrive. After getting the runaround from the Sheriff about their concerns, the pastors filed a lawsuit. Common Ground continues to gather stories of encounters with suburban law enforcement so we can challenge and stop the culture of harassing and terrorizing black and brown people in our region.
Watershed is designing creative solutions to real and present water problems in the Greater Milwaukee area. We’re tackling water issues big and small. Our aim is to improve both water availability and quality.
When we get a lot of rain in a short time, our waste water system can be overwhelmed and dump raw sewage into Lake Michigan. In order to reduce the risk of sewage overflows, CG’s Watershed Team worked with Milwaukee Metropolitan Sewerage District (MMSD) to create an alert system to remind people to use less water during heavy rains. If you’d like to get Water Drop alerts, text WATERDROP to 797979.
Common Ground continue our work with Milwaukee schools to organize parents and staff to act on issues that impact schools and families. Schools are one of the few remaining places where children and adults can belong and be known. Schools can be mediating institutions where families can learn the skills of advocating for improved conditions and greater resources for their schools and communities.
We are currently focused on improving nutrition for students during the school day. We are also researching ways to source and fund healthy food that students could take home for the weekend.