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Author: Milwaukee NNS

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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Milwaukee fights a losing battle as drug overdose deaths continue to afflict struggling communities

By Edgar Mendez • Milwaukee Neighborhood News Service As he walks the streets of Milwaukee’s South Side in the middle of the night, Rafael Mercado fears he’s fighting a losing battle. “Things are getting worse here,” said Mercado, as he fended off pimps while other volunteers talked to prostitutes about getting help for their addiction. Statistics show that Mercado — leader of Team HAVOC, a volunteer group that conducts needle cleanups, among other activities — is correct. If current trends continue, Milwaukee County could record 423 overdose deaths in 2019, its highest total in a decade, according to the...

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Upcoming documentary highlights thriving condition of Milwaukee’s Bronzeville before its demolition

By Edna Garcia-Mendez • Milwaukee Neighborhood News Service Bronzeville was once the heart of the African American community in Milwaukee. Decades of a thriving culture gave the area a unique atmosphere and prominent status among the city’s ethnic neighborhoods. That history is the topic of Karen Slattery’s 2019 documentary, “Remembering Bronzeville.” Slattery, a professor of journalism and media studies in the Diederich College of Communication at Marquette University, was inspired heavily by the work of the local playwright, Sheri Williams Pannell, and her play, “Welcome to Bronzeville.” The documentary focuses on the people who lived in Bronzeville. Slattery, who...

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