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Author: Milwaukee NNS

Closing of South Side fire station has escalated the workload of Milwaukee’s first responders

By Edgar Mendez • Milwaukee Neighborhood News Service During a virtual community meeting hosted by the Milwaukee Fire and Police Commission late last month, Aaron Lipski, acting chief of the Milwaukee Fire Department, sounded alarm bells of his own. “We’re way, way extended beyond what our core missions are,” said Lipski, a fourth-generation firefighter who assumed the helm of the department in October when former chief Mark Rohlfing retired. “Because of structured obligations, we had to drop back from 30 to 29 engines to protect the 96 square miles of the city of Milwaukee.” Although the Milwaukee Fire Department...

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Nate Hamilton: On becoming the kind of leader his parents taught him to be

By PrincessSafiya Byers and Bridget Fogarty • Milwaukee Neighborhood News Service Almost seven years ago, Nate Hamilton was working as a roofer, trying to create a good life for his two kids. Then the death of his brother changed the direction of his life, launching him toward a leadership role to improve relations between police and the community. His brother, Dontre Hamilton, was killed by a Milwaukee police officer on April 30, 2014, and the incident led to huge protests in Milwaukee and national media attention. Hamilton became a spokesman for his family, the founder of the Coalition for...

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Art lovers will remain unaware of Milwaukee’s Black artists until they make an effort to find them

By Della Wells • Milwaukee Neighborhood News Service Over the years, I and other African American artists in Milwaukee have been approached countless times by people, particularly from the white community, wanting to help Black artists or to increase diversity in the arts community or to help the Black community in general. The reason they give is usually similar — they believe the work of African American artists is not seen here or they want African American artists to join their organization to increase diversity. All this is fine. However, too often the African American artists in this city...

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Souls to the Polls: COVID-19 survivor Greg Lewis leads ministry group to stop voter suppression

By Bridget Fogarty • Milwaukee Neighborhood News Service Greg Lewis is no used to slowing down. He is usually focused on helping others. Lewis serves as the assistant pastor at St. Gabriel’s Church of God In Christ, 5363 N. 37th Street, and is the founding president of Pastors United and Souls to the Polls. Both are Milwaukee-based groups that organize hundreds of faith leaders who are seeking solutions to the issues impacting Black residents and strengthening civic engagement in their congregations. Yet as the coronavirus hit Milwaukee in March and both of his organizations began working to meet the...

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UMOS TechHire program trains the formerly incarcerated for careers in skilled trades

By Edgar Mendez • Milwaukee Neighborhood News Service As he stands in front of a Computer Numerical Control machine in a first-floor workshop at Milwaukee Area Technical College, Justin Ashford, 32, reflects on the multiple job offers he’s received. “It’s not just about the money either. I want an opportunity to grow with the company,” said Ashford, who was days away from completing the school’s accelerated four-month CNC training program that was made available to inmates in 2018. CNC machining is a process in which precision parts are produced through computer inputs. Ashford and seven other participants were in...

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Portia Cobb: On being racially profiled in Milwaukee over a burrito and the social media reaction

By Portia Cobb • Milwaukee Neighborhood News Service How does a person who has experienced racial profiling or profiling of any kind articulate it to others outside of that experience? What will make them believe it actually happened-even if they have never experienced it in the spaces they describe as inclusive, safe or liberal? In my own experience of being profiled at an east side eatery last spring, the reality of an isolated moment that may have been interpreted as a slight has grown into enormous proportions because I talked about it. I was recently called out on social...

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