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A Milwaukee Son


Rick is the son of working class parents, his mother having worked as a housekeeper for over 30 years.  He grew up in the Franklin Heights, Lapham Park and Westlawn neighborhoods and is a product of Milwaukee Public Schools, graduating from Riverside University High School.  He received a Bachelors of Arts in Political Science with a minor in Economics from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and is also a graduate of the Neighborhood Leadership Institute (NLI) and the Associates in Commercial Real Estate (ACRE) Program.  Rick and his husband, Javon, live on the northside of Milwaukee with their dog, Chewie. 


In the Community 


For over a decade Rick has been an active leader and organizer in Milwaukee fighting for and creating youth programming, affordable housing, quality healthcare, justice reform, worker’s rights, racial equity, environmental sustainability and community-centered economic development.  Rick has years of experience in local government administering resources to local businesses and changing systems and polices for racial equity.  He's is a proud member of AFSME Local 42 Labor Union and serves on the boards of several local community organizations.

An Innovative Leader


Rick has always been a forward thinking organizer.  In 2016 he led organizing efforts to create a home repair grant program for his neighborhood that has since provided repairs to over 60 Harambee homes.  The same year he joined an effort to create a community owned credit union to meet unmet financial needs.  In 2019, Rick co-founded MKE Black, a nonprofit dedicated to supporting Black-owned businesses and culture with events, resources and its business directory.


Guided by strong values

Rick's faith leads him to believe that basic needs such as food, housing, healthcare and education are human rights. He also passionately believes in the rights and dignity of all people and proudly stands against racism, misogyny, homophobia, transphobia, xenophobia, ableism, and all forms of oppression.  Finally, he believes that workers and residents should have real power in their workplaces and communities, instead of being subjected to by those with the most money.  

Why I’m running:


“I’m running because I live in one of the worst places to be a Black male and our communities need elected officials who aren't afraid to challenge the status quo, call out the power disparities at play in our policies, and still work to create innovative solutions. I have shown that I can be that.”      
                                                                            - Rick Banks



  • Economic Revitalization
    Advocated for funds for poverty alleviation Created MKE Black - directing thousands of dollars to Black owned businesses Tried to organize financial services for communities Directed hundred of thousands of dollars in city grants in City Grants to Villard Avenue and other commercial corridors Fought for and won $72,000 in the city budget to increase the hourly wages of 130 Earn and Learn Youth Summer Employees Served as Board VP of Outpost Natural Foods, a multi-store grocery store with millions of dollards in revenue
  • Housing
    Personally assisted residents with gaining resources for home repairs. The Home Repair program that I organized has fixed over 70 homes in the Harambee neighborhood. Fought against gentrification and displacement Advocated for lead abatement, home repair grants and down payment assistance. Fought for and won from the city budget $300,000 to create an emergency housing program for people who are displaced by lead hazards, domestic violence, homeless, or sex work and $2.9 million for an affordable housing program. Conducted outreach between developers and residents on upcoming housing projects in Milwaukee and the suburbs Minority development partner of 40 units of affordable housing in northern WI.
  • Safety & Criminal Justice Reform
    Completed hundreds of walkthroughs identifying community crime and safety issues and worked to address solutions. Advocated for safe bike & pedestrian infrastructure Advocated for legalizing marijuana Fought against police brutality Advocated for Police Oversight
  • Education
    Stood with substitute teachers fighting for health-care. Advocated for MPS to be adequately resourced Previously advised & mentored student government & school newspaper at North Division High School Produced & directed a neighborhood youth fashion show - growing youth confidence Frequent guest speaker at my alma-mater, the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee (UWM) Proud & active uncle & godfather
  • Health Care
    Advocated for the protection of medical services in our community Fought and won $240,000 to the Health Department to implement the Birthing Moms Pilot Project Administered the dispersion of $200,000 towards community organizations to increase access to healthy foods Tried to organize a farmer's market for an underserved Black neighborhood Winner of 2022 African American Environmental Pioneer Award
  • Dignity & Democracy
    Advocated against voter suppression A champion for Democrats A leader in diversity, equity & inclusion work
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