As thousands of Wisconsin residents flock to downtown Madison for a four-day White Privilege Conference, one black civil rights leader is calling the event a huge waste of taxpayer money.
According to the Wisconsin Reporter, taxpayers so far are on the hook for more than $20,000 to stage the event that strives to dismantle the system of “white supremacy, white privilege and oppression.” The event began Wednesday and concludes Saturday.
Though it’s not yet clear how much the event will cost taxpayers in total, Niger Innis, national spokesman for the Congress of Racial Equality, is slamming the event as a poor allocation of public funds.
“The First Amendment allows Nazis and white extremists to do what they are going to do, and it allows for black extremists and all other types of extremists to do what they are going to do,” Mr. Innis told the newspaper. “I understand that and I’m not opposed to that. But I am opposed to using other people’s money — taxpayer money — for this useless agenda.”
“You want to really do something? Educate a black kid,” he said. “Give parents and students an opportunity to go to a private, parochial or a good public school.”
The city of Madison is also sending between 30 and 40 public employees to the event, according to a spokeswoman for the mayor.
Participants at the conference can expect to examine challenging concepts of privilege and oppression, while offering solutions and team-building strategies to work toward “a more equitable world,” the website says.
“When one considers the purpose of this conference and its potential impact, this is not a fleeting expense,” said event organizer Malika Evanco. “It’s an investment that will pay dividends over time.”
Eddie Moore Jr., who founded the conference 15 years ago, said in 2011 that he hopes the event will help people understand that “white supremacy, white privilege, racism and other forms of oppression are designed for your destruction — designed to kill you,” the Reporter said.