Carte’cia Weaver (Lawrence) – Alumni in the Spotlight

Portrait of Carte'cia WeaverGrowing up in Milwaukee, Carte’cia Weaver (Lawrence) witnessed widespread racialized inequality and poverty in her city and became inspired to pursue a career in policy analysis to advocate for and share the experiences of Black and brown women, children, and families. Weaver received her MPA from the La Follette School in 2022 and is now a senior racial equity policy analyst with Kids Forward, a Wisconsin-wide policy center that focuses on advocacy for families and children of color.

“Embedding an antiracist framework and community-driven policy analysis into my work is my favorite part of my role,” Weaver says. She is inspired by the way Kids Forward is changing the narrative around race and inequality and prioritizing qualitative and quantitative data in its policy advocacy.

Last fall, Weaver and her team released a Race to Equity 10-Year Report, which found that although there has been some improvement in measures of prosperity for the Black residents of Dane County in the last 10 years, large disparities in income, education, and healthcare remain persistent. According to Weaver, the most important takeaway from the report is that systemic racism and anti-Blackness embedded in the community are the driving forces undermining the prosperity of Black residents of Dane County. “Anti-Blackness and systemic racism will continue to undermine the county’s cultural vitality, economic competitiveness, and overall quality of life if its decision makers and employers do not stand and act firmly against it,” she says.

Carte'cia Weaver sits at a table with two other forum attendees.
Weaver (left) attended the National Youth Justice Network forum as part of her position with Kids Forward.

While at La Follette, Weaver was primarily interested in studying social and poverty-related policy. After a recommendation from a La Follette alum, she worked with the Secretary’s Office at the Wisconsin Department of Health Services as a policy and program analyst, where she helped to strategize a plan for statewide health equity ventures including establishing the Health, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion Council and the inaugural Office of Health Equity. This work resulted in her team winning the 2021 Department of Administration’s Diversity Award. For her capstone project at La Follette, Weaver and her classmates analyzed the affordability and accessibility of high-quality childcare in Outagamie County. The county later invested $2.75 million of American Rescue Plan Act funds to establish a family resource center and a shared services network.

Weaver also helped to launch several events in the La Follette School’s Elevating Equity in Policymaking speaker series and was the 2022 master’s graduation ceremony speaker for the school. Her speech emphasized the need for representation in decision-making and the importance of giving back by making sure others have access to opportunities.

“Mentorship has been essential to my professional growth,” Weaver says. “During different periods of my life, each of my mentors poured something different into me that I might not have learned on my own. My first two role models were my grandfather, the hardest working man I’ve known, and my mother, who is just like him. They both taught me that the only limits I have are the ones I place on myself. “

Weaver advises La Follette students to use their resources and ask for help, find a few good mentors and stay in contact with them, and to gain tangible skills that can be used in multiple sectors such as budgeting, project management, and data analysis. “It is ok to not have a linear career,” Weaver says. “Don’t be afraid to explore the different interests you have.”

Alumni in the Spotlight

To celebrate La Follette’s 40th anniversary, each month in 2024 we are highlighting alumni who influence policymaking at the highest levels in government, nonprofit, and private-sector organizations across the country and abroad.

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