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Author: Dominic Inouye

Year In Review 2020: Having the courage to say “yes” in a year of “no”

2020 has been a turbulent period beyond the conventional methods of description. In terms of COVID-years, the past 12 months have had the glacial progress and weight of 12 regular human years. Each month brought a new chapter of events for the public to process, which required an expanded vocabulary to explain the news and a library of images to show the extent of what was happening. It was a very dangerous year for photojournalism with a pandemic and civil unrest. To be embedded in the heart of events as they unfolded required physical stamina, professional skill, and a...

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We Need Imagination: A glance at my 2020 bookshelf

In the early days of the stay-at-home orders, I woke up and immediately – as if guided by some kind of whimsical chromatic spirit – commenced a ROYGBIV reordering of our library. Two hours later, I dusted off my hands and marveled at the rainbow of eighteen shelves thick with books read, reread, never finished and never cracked open. My meaningless but productive – and fun – quarantine task was accomplished. I don’t remember, however, sitting down afterward to read any of them. Fast forward to a few weeks ago, when a former student, Nic, called me to catch...

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Art as War: Bringing attention to the class struggle through creative activism

Throughout the months of the pandemic, Republican and Democratic rhetoric, Biden’s win and Trump’s preposterous recounts, protesters in Milwaukee have been marching and fighting for over 180 days with demands for equity, justice and human rights: for Black and Brown people and against police murder and corruption. Their rallying cries: No justice, no peace! Say their names! Organizers have walked, biked, and caravanned day in and day out, often confronted by riot gear and tear gas. As businesses in Kenosha, Milwaukee and Wauwatosa boarded up, artist activists shook up their spray cans and created muraled memorials and messages to...

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The Milwaukee Flyers: Up in the air but still soaring

If you have ever been to Summerfest, any other summer festival or a Milwaukee Bucks or Marquette Golden Eagles half-time show, then you have likely seen The Milwaukee Flyers Tumbling Team. Perhaps you were at a youth rally, a block party, a church gathering or even a Milwaukee Police Department event. Black boys stacked on top of each others’ shoulders, ready for one or two of their tumbling team to fly over them. Eight-year-olds performing back handsprings or full twists or forward flips, slicing their way through the air in between thick Double Dutch ropes. I recently sat down...

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Until our voices go hoarse: Reflections on a summer of protest in Milwaukee

On Sunday, September 13, 2020, I marched for the thirteenth time this summer in a peaceful protest organized by Darius Smith and Charles McCoy. Dubbed “Come Together, Stand Together For Change,” this march of about 100 people looped from the North Point Water Tower up to Whitefish Bay and back again. After passing St. Mary’s Hospital on North Avenue to avoid blocking emergency entrances, the modest but loud group fanned out across both lanes of traffic and headed up Oakland Avenue. We moved to one side of the road to let buses and a fire truck pass but, otherwise,...

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Dominic Inouye: Saying YES in a summer of NO

A recent Facebook memory helped me put this summer into perspective. Five Augusts ago, I was preparing for school as usual but also making sure I squeezed every last drop of fun out of that summer. In my post, I enumerated 18 morning workouts with my November Project friends, three 5Ks, one duathlon, my first trail half marathon at Devil’s Lake and one disappointingly cold and stormy Underwear Bike Ride. I served as an impromptu emergency taxi during the bus workers’ strike and somehow agreed to babysit my friend’s precocious 3-year-old at the Lincoln Park Zoo. Madison with friends...

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