by Taki S. Raton
Milwaukee’s Community Brainstorming will present its 22nd Annual Community Brainstorming Conference James Howard Baker Award Dinner Friday, October 28 at the Raddison Hotel, 7065 North Port Washington Road. The social hour will begin at 5:30 and the dinner at 6:30 p.m.
Northcott Neighborhood House executive director MacArthur Weddle will be the 2011 Recipient of the annual James Howard Baker Award. The keynote speaker for this year’s celebrative event will be Maryland Congressman Elijah Cummings.
Remembered by many as a person of quiet dignity, a hard worker and dedicated to the elevation of Black people, James Baker was one of the founders of the Brainstorming forum.
An engineering graduate of the University of Cincinnati and an engineer with the City of Milwaukee, Baker also worked with the Community Journal where he organized and oversaw implementation of the newspaper’s Job Fair.
Prior to his passing in 1990, he was known in the community for his unending research and his advocacy for the inclusion of people of African descent in every aspect of political and economic life in Milwaukee.
He was revered as a one man urban research center and was also known as a solid intellectual yet maintaining that unique touch which resonated in every segment of his community.
Baker on his own time spent hours researching existing and proposed legislation, laws, regulations, policy and pertinent data that would have an impact on the lives of African Americans, particularly in Milwaukee.
A prolific writer, this community stakeholder would fashion papers on his findings and provide an analysis of the information that would assist people in the understanding of how his data could affect their daily lives.
“He shared his findings at Community Brainstorming,” says Community Brainstorming Conference chairperson Russell W. Stamper, Sr. He adds that “his research was accurate and his analysis impeccable.
If a policy maker came to Brainstorming and was foolish enough to tell only one side of the story, Jim Baker in his soft spoken non-confrontational voice would fill in the blanks. His efforts helped shape public policy so that it worked for people.”
Reflecting many of these same qualities, Weddle has served the Milwaukee community in a variety of leadership positions including president of Juneteenth Day, Board member of African World Festival and Harambee Ombudsman.
He is Vice Chair of the Milwaukee Martin Luther King Economic Development Corporation and has served at the State level on the Wisconsin State Board of Regulation and Licensing on both the Nursing Examining Board and the Psychology Board as well an instructor at Milwaukee Area Technical College.
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