Originally published in Insight Center’s August Newsletter.
Summers in Milwaukee hold a special place in my heart. If I close my eyes, I can still taste the frozen Kopp’s custard and roasted corn that ruled my summer diet. We had free reign over our day, our sole parental directive to be home when the streetlights came on. Biking around the neighborhood, I felt a sense of freedom unmatched to this day.
The young people in Milwaukee this summer have a different story to tell. This month’s fatal police shooting has led to spiraling unrest fueled by persistent frustrations over racism and police brutality. Mothers hold their Black children tight as they march to demand a society where their sons and daughters can ride around on bikes without fear. They are tired of hearing about yet another time their son was stopped for no reason other than the color of his skin, yet another Black life lost due to a police shooting. Like many other cities across the nation, issues of segregation, poverty, and racism plague Milwaukee, and people are looking for answers, a way out of this reality. They are desperate to create a different story for their children and grandchildren. And so am I.
At times like these, the challenges we face can feel overwhelming. But our work and the growing national dialogue about the often hidden social and policy-driven causes of inequity give us reason to not only continue our work, but redouble our efforts. I know that our work can make an impact for the people of Milwaukee, that we can create a different future for my hometown. I hope you will join us in continuing to expand the conversation as we seek real, lasting change.