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.
By supporting each other, and creating deeper relationships, we can heal the wounds that divide us.
Though he’s encountered challenges growing up in the city, James Taylor still hesitates to leave it behind.
Growing up in a legally segregated Milwaukee, Larry Hicks didn’t give a second thought to certain realities until he was older.
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.
John Branham stands at the end of a long, shaded driveway near the corner of 52nd and Villard. Branham has overcome more than a few challenges in his time; it all goes back to the dinner-table conversations his parents would conduct every night, he says. Though they struggled as a family, it was always about looking forward, and the possibilities of tomorrow. “Now that I look back over my childhood, that’s what gave me strength — bein’ optimistic,” he says. “You know, because … a wall can be built but you can go around the wall, over the wall, [or] you walk through the wall.”
Philip Chinn stands with his pedicab near the corner of Jackson and Kilbourn during Jazz in the Park waiting for riders. Chinn grew up on the north side of Milwaukee near 55th and Mill Road before his family moved to Columbus, Ohio, when he was 8 years old. What does he remember from his time there? “Mostly, it was pretty chill. Our neighborhood was ‘bad’ but there wasn’t too many drugs, there, and there wasn’t a lot of shootings and stuff like that,” said Chinn. “It wasn’t the worst part of the north side, by any means.”
Carl Anderson grew up in Chicago but he came to Milwaukee when he was young, in part to escape the violence there. Unfortunately, he said Milwaukee doesn’t seem so different, these days. “I got off track for a minute, started messing around in the streets, ended up going to prison, now I’m back out on parole and stuff and I’m trying to do right now,” he said.
Ursa Worlds sits on the porch of her daughter’s home on North 31st Street as her granddaughter rides her bike. World recently returned to Milwaukee from Beloit and is currently at the Boudicca House, which provides transitional housing and other programs for homeless women veterans. “They help you with employment, they help you with, you know, whatever issues you might have.”