Helen LeFlore relaxes in the passenger seat of a large, red-colored truck on a quiet street in McGovern Park. The door sits open. Helen, who was born in Detroit, seems comfortable here — at home even. “I’ve been in Milwaukee off and on all my life, due to the point my mom is here, my dad is there, so it’s been a back-and-forth thing,” she says. “Once I got old and was able to make my own decisions, I stayed here in Milwaukee with my mom, ‘cause there was more family here.”
A recent event at McGovern Park brought a crowd of 100 people together to pray for Milwaukee, but an invocation of homosexuality as a “plague” demonstrates the stigma that LGBT individuals still face within the church.
John Branham stands at the end of a long, shaded driveway near the corner of 52nd and Villard. Branham has overcome more than a few challenges in his time; it all goes back to the dinner-table conversations his parents would conduct every night, he says. Though they struggled as a family, it was always about looking forward, and the possibilities of tomorrow. “Now that I look back over my childhood, that’s what gave me strength — bein’ optimistic,” he says. “You know, because … a wall can be built but you can go around the wall, over the wall, [or] you walk through the wall.”