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County Executive Kreuser announces members of Racial and Ethnic Equity Commission

KENOSHA ⏤ On Wednesday, Kenosha County Executive Jim Kreuser announced the seven public appointees that will make up the county’s new Racial and Ethnic Equity Commission. 

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The appointees’ service on the commission will begin immediately. However, their official confirmation is pending, based on votes by the County Board on Aug. 17.

Kreuser made selection from 35 applications

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The county has tasked the commission with looking over its policies and identifying any instances of systemic racism. The commission will then also offer suggestions for change to the County Board upon completion of its review. 

The county describes the official mission of the commission as being “to realize greater racial equity and dismantle racism in Kenosha County through research, education and ongoing review of current policies and procedures, as to implement transformative ideas born through research, collaboration, and community engagement.”

Before the June 30 deadline, 35 applicants threw their hat in the ring to serve on the commission. However, Kreuser could only choose seven.

The seven appointees from the public making up the inaugural commission are:

  1. Brian Martinez, to serve through December 2022;
  2. Tyler Arentz, to serve through December 2022;
  3. Braden Backer, to serve through December 2023;
  4. Justin Crosby, to serve through December 2023;
  5. Elizabeth Garcia, to serve through December 2023;
  6. Mimi Yang, to serve through December 2024;
  7. And Derrell Greene, to serve through December 2024.

Pomaville, Gaschke also on commission

County supervisors Daniel Gaschke and Sharon Pomaville will also serve on the commission, representing the County Board. 

“These were difficult decisions to make because our pool of applicants was very strong,” Kreuser said. “I thank everyone who took the time to apply, and I wish the appointed commissioners well as they begin the vital work that this commission was created to do.”

County Board Chairman John O’Day also voiced his confidence in the work of the county supervisors, and the appointees, going forward. 

“This commission has a significant task ahead of it, and an important role to play in the community,” O’Day said. “I look forward to seeing this work get underway, and to hearing the reports the commission will bring back to the County Board in the coming months and years.”

You can also read more about the formation of the commission here

Meet Kreuser’s public appointees

  1. Tyler Arentz, of Kenosha, is varsity cheerleading coach at Bradford High School with master’s degrees in education and psychology. A former behavioral treatment technician working with children with autism and a former activity aid at a skilled nursing facility, he has also taken part in numerous volunteer efforts in recent years. 
  2. Bradden Backer, of Somers, is an employment lawyer, providing employers and employees with advice and representation on a full range of employment matters and civil rights concerns. A graduate of the University of Wisconsin Law School, he has lived in the Kenosha area for more than 30 years. 
  3. Justin Crosby, of Wheatland, is a former communication tech with Comcast NBCUniversal. He studied business and computer information systems at Concordia University of Chicago. 
  4. Elizabeth Garcia, of Kenosha, is a legal secretary at a law office in Kenosha. A graduate of the University of Wisconsin-Parkside with a bachelor’s degree in communications, she has been active with Root-Pike WIN, the Girl Scouts of Wisconsin Southeast, the Boys & Girls Club of Kenosha and WIPZ Parkside Student Radio. 
  5. Derrell Greene, of Kenosha, is a 23-year U.S. Army veteran, having served tours of duty in Germany, Korea, and in Saudi Arabia during Operation Desert Storm. He retired in 2015 after seven years as director of the Kenosha County Division of Veterans Services and has served in numerous community organizations, including those that emphasize diversity and equity. 
  6. Brian Martinez, of Kenosha, is general manager of Martino’s Master Dry Cleaners and a football coach at Bradford High School. He has also worked with the Boys & Girls Club of Kenosha and the Kenosha Ramblers and Kenosha Cougars football clubs. 
  7. And Mimi Yang, of Pleasant Prairie, is a professor emeritus of modern languages and Asian studies at Carthage College and recent recipient of a New England Regional Fellowship from the Massachusetts Historical Society, with her studies focused on race relations, multiracial democracy and multicultural patriotism. She is a fluent speaker of English, Spanish and Chinese. 

Get to know the county supervisors on the commission

  1. Daniel Gaschke has represented the central-city Kenosha 7th District on the County Board since 2018. He and his wife are adoptive and foster parents who operate Kindermusik with Emilie LLC. Kindermusik is a music school offering private lessons and small-group music and movement classes for children. He has also worked in education and mental health care. 
  2. Sharon Pomaville gained a seat on the County Board in April 2020 to represent the 20th District, which includes the Village of Paddock Lake and portions of the Village of Salem Lakes. She is the executive director of the Sharing Center in Trevor. She also serves on a variety of public interest boards and committees in Kenosha County.

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