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Author: Dominic Inouye

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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Dominic Inouye: On Discovering the [Real] Heart of Milwaukee

Dominic Inouye Milwaukee Independent Writing my final column of 2018 was a collaborative effort, a fitting endeavor in a world wounded by so much divisiveness. It is both a Künstlerroman about an artist’s growth, a story about the art itself and, in essence, a story of Milwaukee. The artist, Stefanie M. Valverde, has represented the complicated history of Milwaukee in a 4’x6’ oil painting, using extensive research, digital sublayers and knife strokes thick with oil paint to discover what she calls “The [Real] Heart of Milwaukee.” Her first-person narrative is a combination of her own written words and an...

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Boulevard Theatre performs gay family drama during midterm election month

It may seem odd at first that my monthly column exploring street photography, walking as a social practice, neglected public spaces, urban gardening and grassroots social justice takes a November pause to explore a play about two gay fathers in New York City. In some senses, though, I have been exploring Milwaukee’s family drama, how we live, work and play together, how we care for our “home” and those who live in it. How we succeed and how we struggle. So, as the Trump administration tears apart immigrant families, tries to redefine and erase gender identities and continues to...

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On Fitness and Community: November Project Summit 6.0 in Milwaukee

They came from 36 tribes around the world, from the United States, Canada and Europe. To run. To compete. But most of all to connect with their Milwaukee tribe and discover their best selves. On Thursday night, September 13, 2018, their planes hit the tarmac at General Mitchell and their cars rolled up to their Airbnb’s and their Milwaukee host families. Then, to get the weekend going early, many of them karaoked at the Milwaukee Ale House, ran with Performance Running Outfitters, biked in the Underwear Bike Ride. The energy was beginning to build. It’s the one weekend a...

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