Residents expressed a desire for a better future, yet doubt that a system which hasn’t worked for them in the past will change. Rick Banks, a community organizer and central city native, hopes to bring that perspective to the Wisconsin legislature.
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.
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.”
“Teaspoon” — or “Spoon,” as he refers to himself — sits on a set of concrete steps on the corner of 35th and Wright streets in Metcalfe Park. Spoon’s thin, medium-length dreadlocks, his rust-colored eye whites, rough, workman’s jacket and well-worn clothes distinguish him, yet he seems in place. “Life is not what it is; life is what it’s about,” he says. “You grow up and … you’ve gotta be whatever. Your momma help you, your daddy help you, but, at the same time, you gotta do the best you can do. You gotta survive. Life is all about survival.”