As poverty and lead poisoning continue to afflict Milwaukee’s central city communities of color, downtown boosters are setting out on a campaign to raise $1.5 million in the next year to cover the Hoan Bridge in lights.
DaVaughn Patterson finishes cutting a stretch of grass on 44th Street, just south of Garfield Avenue in Washington Park. Patterson, still in tattered shoes and a hoodie, lets one of the neighborhood children help before putting the mower away. “I don’t have a problem with Milwaukee,” he says. “I work with a lot of people that work in Milwaukee but don’t live in Milwaukee and have a different view of Milwaukee, you know?”
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.”