Peaches Ellis leans against a railing of her porch in Sherman Park. The 49-year-old wears a wide smile; her bellowing laugh can be heard early and often, in between sentences, up and down a sunny 41st Street. “It was beautiful, it really was,” says Ellis of growing up in Milwaukee. “That was a long time ago. But it was beautiful because it was more peaceful, everybody got along, everybody helped one another.”
Rochelle Wells walks toward Atkinson Avenue on N. 12th St. in Arlington Heights on a cold, dark winter afternoon. She’s with a friend but pauses for a moment. “I was born and raised in Milwaukee,” she says. “Here in the inner city — Milwaukee, Wisconsin.”
Alexander James walks briskly down North Avenue on an early Saturday afternoon. James has somewhere to be, today, but it’s easy to get the feeling there wouldn’t be much slowing him down, no matter what. James, who grew up in the foster system, says he “bounced around, moved around a lot” as a kid. “Those are the cards I was dealt — my mother, she wasn’t able to take care of us,” he says.
Alex Rodriguez walks down a street in Sunset Heights as dusk sets in. The 19-year-old is in his first year at MATC for welding. “I wanted to be a ceramics teacher,” he says. “But [the] arts are dying in schools.”