Milwaukee Has It All, Even the Youngest Legislator in the State: Kalan Haywood II
You can’t silence someone who refuses to shut their mouth. The youth in Milwaukee—and the country—have been speaking out to stand up for their rights to just live and be heard. Milwaukee is filled with creatives, innovators and leaders who have the right vision to move our society forward. Kalan Haywood II is fighting the fight for us, and with us, as Wisconsin’s State Representative of the 16th Assembly—he was elected on Jan. 7, 2019.
Haywood is the youngest legislator in the country but was born and raised right here in the city.
When Haywood first announced he was running on June 1, 2018, he said people took him as a joke and couldn’t understand why he wanted to run.
“My duty is to be a role model to young boys and men,” Haywood said. “It’s important to see role models that look like them.”
Haywood understands not everyone wants to get into politics, and that’s okay, but you have to find your piece in the puzzle to help make society better, he said. Educate yourself in what’s going on in your community and figure out ways to push change forward.
“Find your role and follow it,” he said.
As the previous Youth Common Council President, Haywood wanted to take the extra step to have more power to make a bigger impact in Wisconsin. Since his position as president was appointed, he was limited in what he could do. But now that he has been elected, Haywood is using his platform to mainly focus on education, economic development, public safety and employment.
As a 2017 Rufus King graduate, Haywood knows first-hand the issues plaguing our public school systems, so he’s making sure he’s being a voice for the students who can’t speak up for themselves. He knows that MPS students, and students of color, need someone looking out for them at the table.
“Our kids need real life skills,” and we’re falling short in that category, said Haywood.
When it comes to economic development, Haywood wants to utilize the empty lots around the city, specifically the inner city, because downtown shouldn’t be the city’s only focus. Milwaukee is filled with potential but not everyone has the chance to be a part of it.
And as one of the most dangerous cities in the country, Haywood is determined to make Milwaukee residents feel safe again. It’s rare that you see people hanging out in front of their homes, especially if they live in a low-income area, because of the fear of being unsafe.
“I want everyone to feel safe enough to get on their porch,” Haywood said. “I want people to be safe walking at night. People should feel safe.”
Haywood has been focused on public safety since being in his appointed position. He and others on the council started the PSA and social media campaign, “No Free Rides.” Haywood used social media as a way to fight against the “stollie” epidemic—stealing cars.
And when it comes to employment, Haywood says he knows too many people who are looking for good paying jobs. It’s constantly being said through the media that there are jobs available, but the people who need them the most aren’t being looked at or hired.
Transportation plays a huge role in attaining “better” jobs, which is why Haywood is trying to find different ways to fix this issue. According to him, the government “moves too slow” so he’s looking to partner with community organizations and leaders to make a difference, instead of just waiting on legislation to pass.
As a Black man from Milwaukee, Haywood is defying odds and hopes to change the meaning of what it means to a Black man.
“I want it to mean you can do whatever you want to do,” Haywood said about being a Black man. “You have the ability to shape the world.”