Sabrina Madison on cultivating wealth in Black communities
Progress Center for Black Women CEO Sabrina Madison considers how generating wealth and ownership among Wisconsin's Black residents can expand leadership opportunities and respect for their potential.
By Nathan Denzin | Here & Now
October 19, 2023
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Having grown up in Milwaukee and now living in Madison and most of my work based in Madison, I, the first level that I really wanna see is Black folks having more power in their pockets, if that makes sense, like power through their bank account, because one of the things that we're lacking, Milwaukee has a bit more Black folks in power who can make decisions based on their own income, based on their wealth, for example. I wanna see Madison get there. I wanna see, planning to be a developer myself I wanna see more Black developers. There's no reason that I should only be able to name two Black folks in the area who are developers or have developed large-scale projects, for example. And so, I absolutely wanna see the rest of the state. But more importantly, Madison and Milwaukee extend its Black leaders through wealth creation, because with wealth, you have more power. And right now at Madison we have perceived power through nonprofits. I'm not gonna pass down the Progress Center to anybody. It's a nonprofit that belongs to the public. And so, we have to create more wealth and generate more wealth through ownership, for example. The other thing I wanna just see is almost sort of an improved idea for what Black women or Black people, Black folks, period, can be and can accomplish, 'cause I often feel like there's a very low bar very low standard for what people believe that Black people can accomplish. I remember when I created the Center there were folks who were like, "You're not gonna be able to do that. You're not gonna be able to raise that money. No one's gonna..." people are not gonna support it. I never had that kind of thought, but I want people to have a bigger vision. I want your vision to surpass my vision for what Black people can have in Wisconsin. So wealth creation is absolutely one of the top ones. But I want you to think highly of us. Think a bit more about us as whole people, think about my son as not some person that you should be afraid of, for example. Think about the Black people who pass you as just like community. This isn't something that you should fear or you should want away from you. You should figure out how to sort of expand your thinking around these folks like me, so.
Editor’s note: If you have watched this or any other Wisconsin in Black & White report, please share your feed back in a survey at pbswisconsin.org/wibw-survey. Thank you.