Steven Davis stops to ask for a dollar near the corner of Capitol and Teutonia. He just got a job at Burger King, he says, but, today, he doesn’t have enough for the bus. “Just about three hours ago they called me on my phone,” says Davis. “At least I’m tryin’.” Davis sports a worn black leather jacket and a Green Bay Packers cap, despite the fact that his family is from Minnesota – he’s been in Milwaukee for about a year-and-a-half. “Oh, it’s beautiful; it’s different,” he says of his home state. Davis gestures to the corner where some young men are milling about. “They don’t play that in Minnesota. You go to school and you work and they don’t hang no dudes like this on the corner – you’ll never see that. Na, they do not play that.”
Calvin Weston lingers in the parking lot of Lena’s Foods near Teutonia and Capitol. Today, Weston’s selling CDs for two-dollars-a-piece; that’s not what’s on his mind, though, as he walks up to the thigh-high fence that divides the lot and sidewalk. Weston says he’s been trying to get his kids – who were taken from him and his fiancé and placed in foster care – back for the last 15 months. But, despite questions about their safety, the children have not been allowed back with their father. “It’s crazy because they say they take the kids for their protection but they took ‘em from us and called it ‘protecting ‘em’ but put them in an environment which was dangerous, actually. Before my son got abused, I was lettin’ the judge and everyone know, like, ‘I’m concerned about son’s well-being, something’s going on over there, could somebody check it out?’ And it took for him to get hurt for them to…finally, say something or do anything,” said Weston.