Milwaukeeans Urge State to Invest Federal Funds in Lead Remediation 

Deanna Branch podium 650 x 450

Milwaukee residents turned out at a public hearing earlier this month to urge city officials to use a portion of Milwaukee’s remaining American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds to remove sources of lead contamination in the community.  
Many of MEA’s Coalition on Lead Emergency (COLE) partners spoke at the hearing about the way that decades of disinvestment have contributed to disproportionately high rates of lead exposure among communities of color and lower-income families on the city’s north side. 
Deanna Branch, a mother of two young boys, spoke at the hearing about the impact the lead crisis has had on her family. Her son Aiden has been hospitalized twice due to lead poisoning.

Deanna now works as a COLE parent advocate to raise awareness and find solutions to this significant public health issue. When she talks with other parents, she lets them know that no amount of lead exposure is considered safe. Lead exposure at even low levels can damage a child’s developing brain and cause lifelong problems that affect education, behavior, and health.

Three days after the hearing, Deanna and her sons attended President Biden’s State of the Union Address as special guests of Vice President Kamala Harris. The White House has announced a new “Get the Lead Out Partnership” that aims to accelerate the replacement of lead pipes in four states, including Wisconsin. In addition to Milwaukee, the Biden Administration will be working with the cities of Madison, Edgerton, Kenosha, Sheboygan and Wausau as part of the partnership. 

This colorful picture book, written by Deanna Branch and illustrated by her son Aiden, helps parents discuss the dangers of lead with their young superheroes. Each book has an informational packet in the back that contains tools and resources for parents whose kids have been impacted by lead poisoning.

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