The Milwaukee Urban League and the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce recently submitted a letter to the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) asking for a thorough analysis of the impacts a proposed off-reservation casino in Kenosha, Wisconsin will have on Milwaukee and its minority communities – and rightfully so.
It is obvious that this proposed project will not only hurt Milwaukee, but also have a severe negative impact on our low-income and minority residents. Many of our residents who work in area hotels, restaurants and other segments of the entertainment and hospitality industry would lose their jobs if this casino is built. The City of Milwaukee has estimated the direct and indirect job loss to be 3,000.
Where will those 3,000 people find jobs? Not at the Kenosha casino. The Menominee Tribe, sponsors of the proposed Kenosha casino, have committed to hiring residents in Kenosha and Racine counties first for any jobs at the casino. Milwaukee County residents are third in line for any jobs.
With unemployment among black males aged 16 to 64 at almost 55 percent, we need to be creating more job opportunities for our residents, not taking jobs away.
Unfortunately, the failure of the federal government to properly examine the impacts of this project on Milwaukee is nothing new. Area leaders, like Congresswoman Gwen Moore and Mayor Tom Barrett, have repeatedly asked the BIA to include Milwaukee in any analysis of the impacts of a Kenosha casino. However, their requests have been repeatedly ignored.
The BIA now has an opportunity to right this wrong by performing a supplemental analysis to examine the impacts this project will have on Milwaukee and its minority communities. The federal government has a responsibility to ensure that all the impacts of this project are considered; and that includes the impacts on Milwaukee and its minority community.