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Author: Kenneth Cole

Sending a message of hope: Shorewood becomes latest municipality to ban conversion therapy

The Village of Shorewood became the latest Wisconsin municipality after Milwaukee, Madison, Eau Claire, and Cudahy to ban the practice of conversion therapy on June 17. The cumulative and sustained efforts of citizens to pass the ban spanned more than 16 months, but in many ways it embodied what was needed to inspire change on a local and national level. In the small village along the shores of Lake Michigan, there was no involvement by lobbyists, PACs, yard signs, or social memes. Instead, the ban came as a result of a diverse array of individuals across Southeast Wisconsin who...

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I Ain’t Broke, So Don’t Fix Me: The Moral Imperative to Ban Conversion Therapy Across Milwaukee

“If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” This timeless bit of advice should be considered when addressing the unethical and discriminatory practice of conversion therapy. The goal of such alleged treatment is to have the LGBTQ person return to an allegedly healthy, normal, and socially accepted state – i.e. heterosexual. Conversion therapy purports that something is broke when someone is gay, wrong if they are lesbian, or defective if they identify as bisexual or transgendered. From the outside looking in, as parents or friends of those in the LGBTQ community, the philosophy behind conversion therapy is painful enough on...

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The Hidden Resilience of Survivors: Helping our children heal from abuse and indifference

The abuse of children is an insidious equalizer in our society. It knows no boundaries, nor does it discriminate. Whether in subdivisions or subsidized housing, immigrant detention centers or mansions on the lake, child abuse occurs. For some, it is a one-time occurrence, for others, it is ritualistic and ongoing. Whether once or a thousand times, the abuse of a child is brutal, inhumane, and violates the norms of any decent society. And the mere presence of it alone should cause us to question if, in fact, our society is decent. The abuse of a child by physical violence....

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Kenneth Cole: We Are Black History

This February the Wisconsin GOP marked Black History Month by removing the name of Milwaukee native, civil rights activist, and Super Bowl quarterback Colin Kaepernick from a resolution honoring his efforts and those of other African-Americans. As if inspired by the NFL, earlier this month an 11-year-old African-American child in Florida was arrested for refusing to stand for the national anthem. And in Virginia, the Governor and Attorney General marked the occasion by acknowledging they wore blackface during the 1980s. An act channeling the minstrel shows of old that sought to emasculate Black men and fueled the ignorance, disdain,...

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Surfing Comes Home to Milwaukee: Forging friendships in the frigid freshwater waves of Lake Michigan

With Winter upon us and as the ice shelf builds, extending further out into Lake Michigan, for a time thoughts of walks along the beach, playing in the water or surfing seem as alien as the landscape that forms with each subzero day. But in the eyes of hundreds of individuals across Lake Michigan they long for the day when the temperatures rise, ice melts and the waves crash once again. Those who surf put their boards up and the dialogue between them on dryland becomes merely relegated to texts or a familiar name tagged or clicking “like” on...

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When Meaning Well Is Not Enough: The Devolution of Our Society and the Road to Hope

Kenneth Cole Milwaukee Independent For those who love America 2018 draws to a close not with a whimper, or a bang but with tearful regret. The highest gun death rate in our nation’s history, death by dehydration of seven-year-old Jakelin Amei Rosmery Caal Maquin in U.S. custody, the elevation of men accused of sexual assault to the highest office in the land, and a spike in hate crimes and assassinations of people of color like never before. If nothing else, 2018 has proven that the devolution of American society was a rather easy task. Not done at the hands...

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