MKE Black celebrates and promotes Black business, events, culture, and advancement in the greater Milwaukee area. We are a non-profit dedicated to providing a one stop shop for locals and tourists, with information on dining, shopping, culture, resources, and more through our website and app. We also help Black Businesses by providing funding and resources to thrive.
Our vision is to increase and sustain the impact of Milwaukee’s Black business community.
MKE Black is a registered non-profit in Wisconsin and we are working towards 501c3 status.
Who We Are
MKE Black was founded in 2019 by Paul Wellington and Rick Banks, two people who wanted to showcase Milwaukee’s Black community to local residents and tourists.
Cofounder, Executive Director
Paul Wellington holds a Master’s in Architecture from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, though he works as a public library supervisor. He is the author of Black Built: History and Architecture in the Black Community, a publication discussing the work of Black architects in the United States. Paul also runs the international blog ArchBrick Daily, showcasing the fan made LEGO architecture.
Cofounder, Board Member
Rick Banks is a Milwaukee native who is joining BLOC after spending three years as a neighborhood organizer. He’s been an activist and an organizer in Milwaukee since 2010 when he was spurred by protests following the passage of ACT 10. Rick proudly identifies as pro-labor, pro-student rights, pro-women & LGBT+ equality, and he strongly opposes white supremacy and police violence.
Strategic Partnerships Coordinator
Ayrton is a recent transplant to Milwaukee, but has already grown to love and value the many faces of the city. With a Bachelor’s from the south and Master’s from the east, he has found himself instantly welcomed by the warm MKE community and wanting to give back. He works as an Environmental Health and Safety Manager. He is an avid (audiobook) reader, yoga-fan, craft beer junkie, martial arts student and mindfulness practitioner.
Community Events Planner
Kim Erdman is an Event & Sales Planner in the downtown Milwaukee area and a student majoring in Marketing and Event Management. She is a driven community activist who is committed to showcasing cultural diversity, aiming to achieve positive social change. She enjoys volunteering, hiking, being outdoors and traveling.
Mazie Wellington holds a Master’s in Special Education from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and currently works in a suburban district of Milwaukee as an Elementary Special Education Teacher. She is also a mother, wife, runner, and crafter.