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Author: Lee Matz

First week of staying at home: A window of images around Milwaukee for everyone stuck behind walls

April 1 marks the first week that Milwaukee, and the entire State of Wisconsin, has been under the “Safer at Home” order issued by Governor Tony Evers, which took affect on Wednesday, March 25. I have almost no photos from my traumatic experience living in China during the SARS (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome) pandemic. In 2003 I was still using a 35mm film camera, and conditions were so unpredictable – especially being a foreigner – that if I did go outside to get provisions I did not take my camera. Also, at that time, to be a foreigner walking...

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A look at past St. Patrick’s Day Parades in Milwaukee after COVID-19 concerns cancel 2020 event

The City of Milwaukee, Westown Association, and the Shamrock Club of Wisconsin made the unified decision to cancel the 54th Annual Shamrock Club of Wisconsin St. Patrick’s Day Parade scheduled for March 14, due to the growing concerns of the Coronavirus (COVID-19). Parade organizers had been closely monitoring the situation and were following the direction of the Milwaukee Health Department and Center for Disease Control. A March 9 press release confirmed that the parade would go ahead as planned. But at state and local levels, in a reflection of how the national situation had quickly evolved, the Westown Association...

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Memorial to Baba Punjab Singh brings community together with message of hope and resilience

Members of the Oak Creek community gathered on March 7 to remember the last victim of the August 5, 2012 Sikh Temple of Wisconsin shooting, who passed away due to complications from his original gunshot wound. Baba Punjab Singh was paralyzed from being shot in the head, resulting from a damaged spinal cord when the bullet passed through his jaw. He remained hospitalized from the injury for the past 90 months. He died on March 2, 2020 at the age of 72. His funeral was held prior to the memorial service at the Sikh Temple of Wisconsin. “Punjab’s unique...

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From SARS to Avian Influenza: A witness to history reflects on the first epidemics of the 21st-century

When the first whispers of a new virus emerged from Wuhan, China late last year the situation was on my radar. I lived in China for many years, and had the misfortune to experience the conditions of SARS in 2003, the H5N1 Avian Flu in 2005, and the H1N1 Swine Flu in 2009. That firsthand and repeated exposure can make anyone into a Howard Hughes-level germaphobe. For all the fear and uncertainty that came about from SARS, and the mass culling of livestock over the animal influenzas, the Chinese government never quarantined a city of millions. To isolate Wuhan...

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Local community mourns Molson Coors shooting victims at “Milwaukee Strong: A Vigil to Unite and Heal”

Members of the Milwaukee community, faith leaders, and elected officials gathered together in the courtyard of City Hall on the evening of March 1, in mourning over the tragic loss of six employees at the Molson Coors Brewery. Several hundred people attended the “Milwaukee Strong: A Vigil to Unite and Heal” event, to reflect on the local tragedy, show their community support, and offer condolences to all those who had suffered from one of the worst mass shootings in Wisconsin history. “We come together. Not a people of color, not as black or brown or yellow or white. We...

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On the Frontline of Tragedies: When tears run dry after being shed too many times before

The average Milwaukee resident is exposed to tragedy between the commercial breaks of their favorite network shows. Broadcast news reports in a cycle of disaster with the predictability of a Merry-Go-Round ride, and supported by bursts of social media sympathy sprinkled among friend updates. We have all been here before, staring down the long dark tunnel of some social misfortune. But how close we stand and how long we stay are vastly different. The more distance between the sorrows allows for a deeper level of healing. But for many, the exposure to such sad events comes with such frequency...

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