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Author: Dominic Inouye

Dominic Inouye: A tale of three cities, or why I plan to love Milwaukee even more now

It’s so easy to visit another city and simultaneously fall in love with it while bemoaning the apparent shortcomings of one’s home city. I went to Paris, fell in love, and suddenly, in my mind, Milwaukee seemed to lack vibrant public places where the multitudes, both residents and tourists, would gather morning, noon and night. Where was the Jardin de Luxembourg where Milwaukeeans could picnic and nap, drink wine and canoodle, smoke and strum guitars? I visited NYC, came home, and Milwaukee didn’t have enough public benches or places to play chess in the parks. I traveled to Denver...

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Walking the Talk: Jane’s Walk MKE Gets Political

This past April I saw three children huddled at the street corner in front of Camp Bar Tosa, eyeing the other side as if North Avenue was a raging and dangerous river. They hugged each other as they teetered at the curb. I had witnessed many pedestrians standing hesitantly on the curb, allowing car after car to whiz by, but this sight disturbed me. I should have intervened right away, but was distracted with finishing my errands. When I returned a short time later, I saw that two of the youth had made it across the road, leaving the...

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Rosy Petri: Sewing dignity as the new Pfister Artist-In-Residence

Wearing a white fur stole and belting out respect, Aretha Franklin holds court on the deep pink wall of The Pfister Hotel artist studio. Her face is a pastiche of blue and white patterned fabrics sewn together, pinching her cloth muscles into passionate vocals. Postcards with stitched icons of people I don’t recognize at first are neatly stacked under Aretha, as are dozens of folded fabrics and neckties in a white antique hutch. Ella Fitzgerald and Louis Armstrong stand guard over a pink-upholstered sofa, and an unassuming sewing table grounds the left wall, as of yet unadorned with any...

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Dominic Inouye on Jane’s Walk MKE: Third places, the power of ten, and 28 in 28

As this year’s city organizer for Jane’s Walk MKE, I can easily get caught up in a frenzy of numbers: How many walk leaders do we have so far? How many neighborhoods are we exploring? How much money are we spending? How many Facebook followers do we have? How many people are signing up? How many community partners… how many promotional posters… how much food to order? The minutiae can sometimes overshadow the big picture. Therefore, I’ve been focusing on three other numbers as we prepare for our fourth year of hosting the free, resident-led neighborhood explorations throughout the...

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Dominic Inouye: Reflections on being a non-black Black History tour guide

As Black History Month draws to a close, I have been reflecting on my past and future roles as a non-black Black History tour guide in Milwaukee. Earlier this week, I led a tour for a class of Shorewood High School students and this summer I will lead my third tour for Concordia University’s African American Male Achievement program. I keep asking myself, “Who am I to be leading these tours?” I have been thinking about my identity as a non-black resident in the most segregated city in the country for a long time. The first day I arrived...

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The Examined Life: The Process of Bringing a Pedagogy of Power to Vel R. Phillips School

The classrooms may be secure units with half-circles of cells, but a team of teachers and I have recently launched a student research project called “The Examined Life” that will reconnect a group of incarcerated youth at the Vel R. Phillips Juvenile Justice Center to themselves, to the outside community and to pathways around the obstacles in their lives. Influenced by Socrates, Paulo Freire and newly acclaimed author Shaka Senghor, we will encircle the students with a pedagogy (or theory and practice) of self-empowerment and critical consciousness as we take on the role of the students’ research assistants, giving...

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