William McGee has struggled to find meaning in a life where the next day is never guaranteed. But, through self-reflection, he’s been able to see himself, and the world around him, differently.
Dejaun Jones saunters down Brown Street in Brewer’s Hill wearing a bright red workman’s jacket and a long, black sock-cap. The 39-year-old Jones, who was born in St. Louis but came here when he was 3, carries a backpack over both shoulders. Jones, who has three girls — 12, 13 and 20 — says it’s been “a struggle” raising them all. “It’s hell but it’s beautiful too,” he says. “You get to see the little infant grow into a child, then into a teenager.”
On a Wednesday afternoon, Alex Nelson paints a white picket fence between Hubbard and Palmer Streets in Brewer’s Hill. He stops to have a cigarette. Nelson, who grew up in Waukesha and attended Mukwonago High School, moved to Milwaukee because his boyfriend lives in the neighborhood. “Milwaukee’s definitely a big change from where I grew up,” he said. “The only reason that I’ve actually come out here is for the people that I’ve dated.”