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Author: Lee Matz

Documenting History in Images: A photojournalist’s journey to remain safe in the Age of COVID-19

The COVID-19 crisis has exposed many fault lines in American society. One of the many issues that has gone overlooked and underreported is how people incorporate wearing a mask into the routines of their daily life. The ongoing argument over masks has mostly been focused on pandemic deniers who refuse to wear any kind of face covering, and demand that safety measures be lifted in order to save the economy. For those individuals who care about their own health and the health of others, while trying to maintain their fragile lifeline of employment, this essay explores what kind of...

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Voting Rights Are Human Rights: A look at how Shepard Fairey installed Milwaukee’s new social justice mural

Internationally acclaimed artist Shepard Fairey and his Obey Giant team painted a visually stunning 7,400 square foot mural entitled “Voting Rights Are Human Rights” in Milwaukee. The mural was originally part of a national tour to support the 2020 election season, by creating public art with a theme and a mission towards getting out the vote.

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Raysean White reflects on recording the latest example of police brutality against a Black man

Following the string of police shootings of unarmed Black men this year, which culminated in nationwide and ongoing unrest after the death of George Floyd, a 22-year-old Kenosha man filmed the latest extrajudicial killing of an unarmed man of color by law enforcement. Raysean White saw 29-year-old Jacob Blake scuffling with three officers across the street, from his apartment window. The incident happened around 5:00pm on August 23. Kenosha police do not yet have body cameras, so White’s video is the only visual record of the shooting. I was just looking out and thought, I gotta record this. So...

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Thousands ride in unity across Milwaukee to affirm the message “Black is Beautiful”

© PHOTO NOTE: All the editorial images published here have been posted to the Milwaukee Independent’s Facebook Page. That collection of photos contains the MI copyright and watermark for attribution, and may be used for private social media sharing. Thousands of people from all over Milwaukee participated in a special “Black Is Beautiful Ride” on June 21. Led by WebsterX, Darius Smith, and Zed Kenzo, the effort was designed to dispel the negative perceptions within white society about people who have a dark skin color. The 16-mile route on the last day of the Juneteenth weekend went across Milwaukee’s...

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Second Life Revisited: Using a virtual world to escape the isolation of social distancing

For most people, the term “Second Life” could easily be confused as a post-death resurrection experience. For some fans of the popular American sitcom “The Office,” it may linger in their memory from an episode where Dwight Schrute, played Rainn Wilson, entered the game with a matching avatar. For others, like myself, Second Life was an online social harbor that teased with the possibilities of the future, before Facebook came along and that dream took a nose dive. The online virtual world was launched in 2003 by the San Francisco-based firm Linden Lab. The platform gained national attention as...

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Life goes on even when it doesn’t: Streaming a funeral “watch party” in the age of coronavirus

The full scale social distancing order that has closed schools and many businesses, to keep the Milwaukee public “Safer at Home” as a way to contain the spread of COVID-19, has upended many normal habits of life. The condition has become more evident as developing situations require that the old ways be applied to our new reality. That example was made clear on March 31, when I attended my first watch party of a live streaming funeral service. Back in 2018 I wrote about the 2011 military funeral of my own father, and how my brothers demanded that I...

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