All posts tagged: Gangs

“I’ve just never been a patient person”

Joseph Fornicola stands outside his home, shirtless, smoking a cigarette near the corner of South 9th Place and West Dakota Street on Milwaukee’s south side. Fornicola has a tough look about him, a feeling aided by the many tattoos that adorn his upper body. Then again, he’s spent his whole life on the South Side, most of it around gangs and drugs. “It became a part of my daily life,” says Fornicola of the gang life. “Till I grew up and realized that’s childish. Had to [outgrow] it, but, for a while, you know, growin’ up, you’re impressionable.”

“I was going to funerals at a very young age”

Sean Yarber stands in front of 1739 N. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Dr., a men’s clothing store, smoke in hand. Yarber, who’s originally from the Windy City, ended up coming to Milwaukee with his mother when he was about 10 years old. “She was havin’ a hard time down there in Chicago, you know, so, she felt like there was opportunity up here so…I came with her – I had no choice.”

“Money ain’t everything”

Greg Greer grew up on 9th and Keefe. The 50-year-old Greer, who now lives near Teutonia and Villard, had a lot to say about neighborhoods, gangs and the cycle of violence. Greer points down the block. “Been living in that same building over there 20-some years and, I mean, I’ve done seen this [neighborhood] just fall apart,” he said.