“It’s a little bigger than us”

Leon Douglas leans on a car in the parking lot of a McDonald’s on 35th and Juneau. Douglas, who’s homeless and had been canvassing the outside of the establishment hoping for some charity, scarfs down a cheeseburger, with one still waiting in the bag; an order of fries and a large Sprite sit on the sidelines.

“You had to learn the hard way,” says Douglas, who grew up without a father near 35th and Center. “All I seen was pimps, prostitutes, whores, things of that nature; nothing productive, nothing that offered me any real insight as to what the future might bring, as far as goals.”

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“My mission is to bring the love back to the city”

Corey Kirkwood unlocks the door to Reformation Church of Holiness on a Saturday afternoon. The building, located on 21st and Chambers, is empty today but Kirkwood, who is a youth minister there, says Pastor Henry Kilpatrick allows him to use the space for meetings.

“He’s a very community-based person. A lot of people know him — he used to be a city bus driver for 30 years. He helps his community out in this area very well.”

Kirkwood, who graduated from Bay View High School, has been involved in community work his entire adult life working, first, as a teacher at Malcolm X Academy, then as a drill sergeant at Right Step Boot Camp Military School and, later, as a disciplinary administrator at Texas Bufkin Christian Academy.

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Black leaders call for community voices to be heard

Attorney Verona Swanigan, organizer Corey Kirkwood and Craig Stingley, father of Corey Stingley, stand together before Monday’s press conference at the District 5 Police Station.

Community leaders and members, organizers, activists — accompanied by a number of local, state and county politicians — held a press conference Monday afternoon at the District 5 Police Station calling for the City of Milwaukee and the Milwaukee Police Department to support protesters in exercising their fundamental right to freedom of speech.

The event was planned by local organizers — Khalil Coleman and Corey Kirkwood — who police had, reportedly, been searching for, with the intent of turning themselves in. Wisconsin State Senator Lena Taylor, former supervisor and State Representative David Bowen, Alderman Ashanti Hamilton and Alderwoman Milele Coggs were also in attendance.

There were no arrests made, as the police alerted Attorney Verona Swanigan, who is representing some of the protesters, that they would conduct further investigation before taking any action.

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