“I didn’t know if I’d ever be able to live in a city”

Angie Opsahl stands in the street, just off the curb, in front of her home on the 4400 block of West Medford Avenue in Grasslyn Manor, sweeping up the final remnants of fall. Grey hair and a soft-yet-stern features define the aging visage.

Indeed, the 64-year-old Opsahl has seen quite a bit but there isn’t anywhere else she’d rather be. “There’s no way I’d ever be able to move out. I absolutely love this city, I love this neighborhood – people are great,” she says.

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“People are not quite as friendly here as they are in the South”

Anne Franczek canvasses the corner of Jackson and Buffalo in Milwaukee’s Historic Third Ward on a frigid Thursday afternoon in November. Franczek is on a mission, though it’s not the environment or politics that brings her here – she’s out to educate would-be mothers and passersby about the realities of abortion in an effort to inspire these women to change their minds.

Franczek enjoys this work but it’s not for the fun – her fulfillment comes at a much deeper level. “I would say, rather than appealing, it’s compelling because babies are being killed and they need a voice,” she says, standing in front of the Planned Parenthood Abortion Clinic at 302 N. Jackson. “We look at World War II and Nazi Germany and we say ‘Why did people let the Jews be killed? Why did they just turn their head and look the other way? How could they do that?’ And that’s what’s going on in America, today – and other parts of the world – is a silent holocaust where babies are being ripped apart in the womb and people just drive by like it’s no big deal.”

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“It’s tough but at least I have this”

Mary Koerner looks down at her phone as she sits on a bench in front of Soup Bros. She’s just waiting for work to start.

Koerner isn’t from Milwaukee, though. It’s just been the last of a couple different stops. But, she says, Syracuse, New York, where she grew up, isn’t that much different. What’s it like? “Like here. Cold, snowy, you know,” she says with a smile.

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