Kowalik describes racist threats to her office

NOW: Kowalik describes racist threats to her office

MILWAUKEE (CBS 58) -- Outgoing Milwaukee Health Commissioner Jeanette Kowalik provided more details Monday about the racist threats and messages she's dealt with while leading the city's health department.

Kowalik said she began receiving these messages before the COVID-19 crisis. She's received them after sending out a statement denouncing anti-Black racism in June, as well as receiving them in 2019 when the city declared racism a public health crisis.

The Milwaukee Common Council passed that resolution in June 2019. Milwaukee County also signed a resolution a month before that.

Kowalik said ever since, she's been getting messages that strike anti-immigrant and white supremacist tones. She said at times she felt very alone as the sole Black health commissioner in the state.

She described the messages she received like this:

"There were people and still are people that are very angry about that, that are feeling as if they are under attack because their way of life is being threatened," said Kowalik.

Kowalik said she plans to speak out more when she takes her new job in Washington D.C.

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