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Author: Lee Matz

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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Black is Beautiful: Milwaukee hosts 4th Annual Black History Program at City Hall

“I am black. I am beautiful. I am intelligent. I am enough! Society doesn’t define me. The media does not tell me who I am. I come from overcomers, the true definition of strength and perseverance. Therefore, I will accept nothing less than that for myself.” The City of Milwaukee presented its 4th Annual Black History program on February 28 in City Hall’s historic Rotunda. The celebration theme for 2020 was “Black is Beautiful” and featured a program of music, poetry, and recognition that focused on local African-American culture and influential leaders of the community. “I agree that our...

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Joaquin Altoro hosts conversation with past WHEDA leaders for ACRE alumni on emerging opportunities

In honor of Black History Month, the Wisconsin Housing and Economic Development Authority (WHEDA) held a leadership reception for ACRE alumni on February 19 at the Sherman Phoenix. Joaquin Altoro, current Chief Executive Officer of WHEDA, hosted a historic conversation with Antonio Riley and Wyman Winston, former WHEDA executive directors, about the condition of current real estate opportunities and emerging developers. While WHEDA has been focused on addressing the home ownership needs of Wisconsin’s underserved communities, it has also assisted efforts to grow the pool of emerging developers. One avenue has been through the Associates in Commercial Real Estate...

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