After spending his last four days in jail, Gavin Groce reflects on his past and where he wants to go from here.
Torre Johnson talks about growing up on Milwaukee’s North Side, the importance of building Black ownership and spaces in Milwaukee and what it will take for people to come together around that goal.
If we don’t ask where we have been, if we don’t listen, we won’t be able to grow in the way that we should. We won’t be able to move forward.
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.”
Russell “Rusty” Green hauls buckets of tools from in front of a home just north of West Roosevelt Drive, where he’s just finished a concrete stoop. Green’s fingertips, stained with a thin, permanent-looking layer of white dust, match his grizzled beard. “We’re losing our future,” Rusty says, as he leans against his cream-colored pickup truck. “See, the youth are our future, right? And this is how we live forever, this is how our name stays in the book of life forever — through our kids, grandkids and so on, and so forth.
Carolyn Bradford walks down an empty 42nd Street at dusk. Bradford’s gregarious personality complements her ostentatious appearance — patterned glasses, a leopard-print jacket and dangly earrings decorate a personality defined by exuberance. “My childhood was great,” she says. “Bein’ a military brat, it was great. Until I got older, and then my parents got divorced when I was young. Now, they’re both deceased.
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.”