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Author: Kenneth Cole

Shorewood residents worry that proposed Atwater Beach fee could restrict recreational access

One of the first times I ever stepped foot in the ocean was at the Inkwell on Martha’s Vineyard. It was 1970 and for a kid from Ohio, the Atlantic Ocean was nothing like the creeks, ponds and swimming pools of the Midwest. The ocean left an indelible impression on me, and it is one that continues to shape my life to this day. Thirty years later in Santa Monica, I would often find myself surfing in the Pacific Ocean at Bay St. Beach. A long stretch of sand with views of Venice Beach to the South, and the...

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When Silence Kills: What has your inaction done to stop the deaths of innocent black people?

“In the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends.” – Martin Luther King, Jr. What have you done to stop this? No, really? What have you done? I’m talking anything that extends beyond your keyboard, phone or thumbs, what have you done? Me? Well, there’s not much I need to do to “fix” this. After all, it’s not something I broke in the first place. But, when I see something wrong, I will do my part. Now, this next part may seem self-righteous or self-congratulatory, but in light of all...

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A Tragic American Fable: The Pied Piper of Coronavirus

America is dancing down the street behind its very own Pied Piper. A boisterous and grandiose entertainer with a long red tie who has tempted many a citizen with a tune of prosperity, freedom, and greatness. A tune that compels them to leave their homes and join millions of others, hand-in-hand, through the streets and into the waiting arms of a global pandemic. His latest melody has captivated the young and the old, the rich and the poor, and those on the left and the right. From villages and hamlets that sing the Pied Piper’s songs, to those who...

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Kenneth Cole: Am I Suspicious to You?

Another modern day lynching occurred on February 23, when an innocent black man was shot and killed while jogging by a white father and son in suburban Georgia. It follows a long timeline of such violence directed at men of color, and a particular flashback to the 2012 shooting of Trayvon Martin. Years later the same question remains: why do black men look suspicious to white eyes? Casual denim shirt, unassuming look on my face. Nothing special. But to you, does that mean there’s something up my sleeve? To many I may “fit the profile,” but still have done...

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The Ballot or the Bullet: Honoring each resident of Milwaukee who faced martyrdom for Democracy

“And when I speak, I don’t speak as a Democrat or a Republican, nor an American. I speak as a victim of America’s so-called democracy. You and I have never seen democracy – all we’ve seen is hypocrisy.” ― Malcolm X, The Ballot or the Bullet On April 7, 2020 tens of thousands of Wisconsinites put their lives on the line to exercise the very right that countless Americans died for. They broke nearly a month long quarantine from family and friends, marked by working remotely, home schooling, and a plethora of sacrifices to help flatten the curve and...

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Kenneth Cole: The chickens have come home to roost in a capricious America

The early morning hours of February 5, 2020, are ones you will likely look back on with fondness and nostalgia. Because the hours and days that follow will be different. Remember that morning. “What did you do to stop this?” they will ask. And the vast majority of us will realize we did nothing. Others will sheepishly say they protested, knowing that it was only by sliding their thumbs across a screen. Those who marched, spoke out or wrote letters will ultimately realize they did not do enough. None of us did enough. In many ways democracy died on...

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