Wisconsin’s 51 Most Influential Black Leaders for 2023, Part 1

2023 Black Leaders Monday Collage 1

By Henry Sanders, Madison 365

Just months after we published our first news stories in August 2015, we tried something new: we listed and published brief biographies of the state’s 28 Most Influential Black Leaders. People really liked it, shared it on social media, told us who else should have been on that list. Many asked me if we’d do another list the next year; I said yes, we probably would. Good luck, they said … you’re going to run out of names.

Today, we publish the first installment of our _ninth_ annual list of Wisconsin’s Most Influential Black leaders. You may have noticed … there’s a lot more than 28. In fact, we received nearly 200 nominations for this year’s list. Clearly, there are many, many Black leaders doing real work in our communities.

And that’s what this list is all about. introducing you to those people you may not know. Every year, I’ve intended these lists to highlight the beauty of the diversity across our state. I want kids here in Wisconsin to see role models of people who are succeeding, to know that it’s possible for people of color to achieve great things here.

This week we shine a statewide spotlight on the dedicated leaders of Wisconsin’s Black communty. The people we highlight this week are elected leaders, business leaders and community leaders, doing difficult, important work.

We are also aware that this list, like every other, is not comprehensive. It’s obvious just from the number of nominations that there are far more than 52 influential Black leaders doing good work in Wisconsin. We hope you will let us know about people in your community who we can include on future lists. For now, though, we just want to introduce you to a few of the people doing the work, often behind the scenes and without the accolades, across Wisconsin.

You might know a few of these names, but there’s a good chance that most of them will be new to you. I urge you to get to know them. Reach out to those living and working in your communities. Learn from them, network, create partnerships. And spread the word — let others in your network know that we have people of all ethnicities living and working across Wisconsin to make sure everyone here can thrive.