All posts tagged: Drugs

“I changed”

Donald Ealy shuffles across an empty Center Street in Park West. Ealy’s tired eyes and thin mustache adorn his weathered face; a patterned cardigan and brown driving cap lend him an air of aged dignity. “When I went to prison, my eyes wasn’t open,” Ealy says. “I wrote the judge a letter thankin’ him for savin’ my life. I had 30 years. The judge brought me back to court because he said he had never got a letter like this before, and he said the letter was so sincere … he brought me back to court and took 15 years away.”

“It was just the choices that I made”

Nathaniel Wright leans against a white railing while speaking with family on an Autumn afternoon. Wright wasn’t born in Milwaukee but many of its neighborhoods, like the one he’s standing in, are familiar. Violence, he says, is what links Milwaukee with his birthplace of St. Louis, Missouri. “You tend to follow in the footsteps of the older ones in the neighborhood, and it’s just recycled on down,” says Wright. “You know, some is lucky to get out, some ain’t.” Nathaniel comes from a large family — 13 children, in all. He’s the second youngest. “Just imagine 13 of your siblings all in the same house and you all want something different,” he says. But, from all accounts, his family was a good one. Wright refers to his mom and dad as “workin’ people.” His mother was a registered nurse at the John L. Doyne Hospital, formerly Milwaukee County Hospital; his father got a job at A.O. Smith — where he worked until he retired — after the family moved to Milwaukee when Nathaniel was 9. …