Author: Kristen Leer

Deutsche in Milwaukee: New book explores the city’s old German neighborhoods with personal stories

Milwaukee has been a home for many generations of various ethnic communities. However, a well-documented presence that continues to be recognized is Milwaukee’s German heritage. There has been a wave of interest in recent years to uncover and uplift diverse voices from Milwaukee’s bygone eras. The efforts by enthusiasts and historians have sought to preserve those past stories as a way to understand how the early city was formed, and the social influences that led to what Milwaukee is today. This has included revisiting the generational contributions surrounding Black, Hispanic, and even Asian communities, especially Hmong. However, one community...

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Reading during the pandemic: Helium continues to expand access to library books across Milwaukee

The Milwaukee Public Library system has remained innovative and flexible in their adjustment to maintain library services for the local community, despite the difficult circumstances regarding the COVID-19 pandemic. Because of the increased number of COVID-19 cases throughout the City of Milwaukee, all locations switched to curbside pick up on December 3. As helpful as the effort was, the situation still created logistical issues in regards to personal transportation to the library, and access to library materials at varying locations. Being cut off from the physical exploration of books on shelves and the spontaneous pursuit of interests, also affected...

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At the End of the World, Turn Left: A coming of age novel about immigrants searching for their identity in Riverwest

Milwaukee is the home to many generations of immigrant families. Over decades, these families have invested many sizable contributions to the rich characteristics that make Milwaukee what it is today. There are also many scars and wounds through these families that have yet to be explored and reflected upon within an open safe space. Often the inability stems from the complicated relationship with the place they are to call their new “home.” This love-hate relationship with Milwaukee is the foundation of Zhanna Slor’s April 2021 debut novel At the End of the World, Turn Left. Slor’s novel is a...

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Between the Pages: Influencing the perception of Milwaukee through works of fiction

When fictional books are written with the intent of capturing the aura of the geographical location and the destination’s character as a setting for the plot, often the magical places are set in New York, Chicago, and New Orleans. Anywhere, really, other than Milwaukee. There are an abundance of critically acclaimed books that captured the different compositions of what makes up Milwaukee. “The Making of Milwaukee” by John Gruda, which is a historical account of Milwaukee that served as a basis for the five hour mini-series for Milwaukee Public Television. “Fading Ads of Milwaukee” by Adam Levin, exposes the...

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Shattering Glass: Kamala Harris is paving the way for all types of women to reach their dreams

There is a long-standing acknowledgment and pattern that when women take one step forward, women of color take two steps back. A “glass ceiling” is a metaphor used to represent an invisible barrier that prevents women from rising beyond a certain level in a hierarchy. Minority women often find the most difficulty in “breaking the glass ceiling” because they exist at the intersection of two historically marginalized groups: women and people of color. When women first began to entire spaces of economic and social power that were historically occupied by White men, it was recognized that those women were...

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Life after COVID-19: Milwaukee needs to develop a support system for coronavirus survivors

Amid the rise of COVID-19 cases happening within Wisconsin, and further concerns about the inevitable second wave approaching over the winter season, many state residents continue to avoid the seriousness of the pandemic and its consequences. Even with President Trump contracting SARS-CoV-2, which causes the COVID-19 coronavirus, there is still a mentality of “I will be able to survive this,” rather than, “I don’t want to put others at harm.” How can one shift this perspective when there is criticism with President Trump, himself, putting others at risk despite contracting the virus. Understanding that this might be a longer...

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