Growing up on Chicago’s west side, Patricia Williams lived in almost-constant fear. When she became a mother, she decided it was time for a change.
Violet Young walks briskly down North Richards Street dressed almost entirely in purple, a plastic bag in each hand. Exuberant and cheerful, even the below-freezing temperatures can’t dampen her spirits. “You should see what it looks like in summer,” she says, gesturing to a nearby corner park with fruit trees and a small shelter. “It’s beautiful.”
Amy Tim stands in front of a stoop in Harambee with a couple of her kids nearby. Tim, who grew up on Milwaukee’s northwest side, has been in-between two worlds for as long as she can remember. “I struggled … growin’ up because my mother was African-American and I’m bi-racial,” she says. “Bein’ a bi-racial child, it was hard for me.” Amy calls it “difficult” and “complicated” growing up in Black neighborhoods with her mother. “I’ve never been accepted by either black or white people,” she says. For a long time, Tim let that get to her. Eventually, though, she decided she had to do something to make the situation better. “I just had to endure the pain myself,” says Amy. “I just had to be like, ‘Okay, I gotta live with it.’ I can’t change it.” “You have to accept who you are to … grow and become the person you want to [be],” she says.“You can’t worry about what other people think.” Community-focused. Community-funded. Become a member today. While she was still in …
Diego Flores stands in front of his family home on the 3000 block of West Orchard Street in Milwaukee’s Burnham Park neighborhood. Flores, who has been in Milwaukee since he was a young child, says though the city has its challenges it has some bright spots, as well. “When you grow up in such a diverse community, you always meet different types of people. They’re not necessarily always gonna be good, so you’re not necessarily gonna be always makin’ the good decisions. I definitely [had] my troubles as a teenager — I committed some crimes,” he says, adding that it wasn’t anything serious. “I love Milwaukee. There’s honestly, like—there’s no other city I would rather live in right now.”
Evelyn Smith teeter-totters down the sidewalk of North Teutonia Avenue in Borchert Field, grocery bags in hand. She stops in a triangle-island at the corner of Burleigh Street to wait for the bus she’ll catch home. The 70-year-old was born in Canton, Miss., but her parents came to Milwaukee in 1949 when Smith was only 5 or 6 for “the reason everybody else came up here”: better jobs.
Anne Franczek canvasses the corner of Jackson and Buffalo in Milwaukee’s Historic Third Ward on a frigid Thursday afternoon in November. Franczek is on a mission, though it’s not the environment or politics that brings her here – she’s out to educate would-be mothers and passersby about the realities of abortion in an effort to inspire these women to change their minds. Franczek enjoys this work but it’s not for the fun – her fulfillment comes at a much deeper level. “I would say, rather than appealing, it’s compelling because babies are being killed and they need a voice,” she says, standing in front of the Planned Parenthood Abortion Clinic at 302 N. Jackson. “We look at World War II and Nazi Germany and we say ‘Why did people let the Jews be killed? Why did they just turn their head and look the other way? How could they do that?’ And that’s what’s going on in America, today – and other parts of the world – is a silent holocaust where babies are being …
Kitrell walks west on Mill Road toward the southbound bus stop on 60th, pushing his 9-month-old son ahead of him. Kitrell grew up near 46th and Burleigh but he didn’t go to school around there; he didn’t really go to school at all, he says. Why not? “I don’t know. Just cause I was…I used to work around the streets.”
Mia Williams walks down Wisconsin Avenue alone on a Thursday afternoon in Avenues West. Williams grew up in a large family – she’s one of nine kids – and was raised by a single mother. “It was wonderful. I mean, we’re very close, we show a lot of love,” she said. “Whenever there was dinner, everybody sat at the dinner table and ate; there wasn’t any separation, you know. And we’re still very close-knit today.”