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Author: Kenneth Cole

Turning a blind eye to the silent embrace of hate

SILENCE. More than 10,000 spectators crowded around a tree on a hot summer night in Indiana, 1930. Some smile, a few stare blankly into the camera, while countless others marvel with silent and sadistic awe at the sight of two Black men hanging by a rope. The line between witness and perpetrator blurred, but the depravity remains in sharp focus. The silence haunts. Those in the photograph are tintype evidence of crimes committed nearly one hundred years ago in the name of justice and white supremacy. Their faces unfamiliar, but the setting, pace, and rhythm of the atrocities on...

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Helping those exercise their Constitutional right to vote is what Democracy looks like

Shortly after sunrise on November 6, cars began pulling into the grass and gravel parking lot of St. Timothy’s Baptist church in Milwaukee to participle first hand in the process of American democracy. A rainy and overcast day, folding tables in a church basement, sharpies, handmade signs and name tags were all simple markers that belied the profound sense of community. It was a shared vision and purpose that formed within minutes of the first volunteer’s arrival. For a solid 12 hours, volunteers across Milwaukee and those from the Shorewood Solidarity Network supported Rev. Greg Lewis and this year’s...

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To Censor a Mockingbird: We are better than Atticus Finch

“What White people have to do is try to find out in their own hearts why it was necessary to have a nigger in the first place. Cause I’m not a nigger, I’m a man. But if you think I’m a nigger it means you need him. The question you gotta ask yourself, the White population of this country has got to ask itself, if I’m not the nigger here and you invented him – you, the white people, invented him – then you have to find out why. And the future of the country depends on that.” –...

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A Time of Reckoning. A Time for Change: Good Men Must Do More to Stop the Cycle of Abuse

After the testimony of Dr. Christine Blasey Ford on Capitol Hill, good men must do more. Today, men must find a way to convey to the women who grace our lives; our daughters, sisters, mothers, wives, and friends, that we will listen and that we believe them. Today, men must speak to one another; to our sons, brothers, fathers, and friends. We must each examine the extent to which we are part of the systemic victimization and abuse of women. The entitlement, hatred, and fear that were displayed on September 27, 2018, was orchestrated by an all-male cast of...

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Blacks Do Surf: Outdoor Afro changes perceptions and the Black narrative with recreation

On the surface, it may look like the surf lessons and frolicking have become a staple of the annual Surf @Water events, but that perception simply reflects the fact that more people having fun on Lake Michigan. When reviewing Surfrider Foundation-Milwaukee’s intention behind these lessons, and the experience had by those catching their first wave, people realize that this day means much more. For the organizers, Surf @Water illustrates the credo that “you protect what you love.” This approach to environmental activism and awareness stems from the recognition that in order to fight for something, in this case the...

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When inhumanity cleared its throat: The future will ask about our actions of today

On June 30, the Shorewood Solidarity Network led “March for Humanity, Compassion & Action” as part of the nationwide “Families Belong Together” rallies, joining 600 other planned events that saw hundreds of thousands of people protest the ‘Zero Tolerance’ immigration policy of the Trump administration. Several hundred participants, mostly families, marched in the blistering heat from the Shorewood Village hall to Lake Michigan’s Atwater Beach. At the gathering, children were separated from their parents in a symbolic gesture that reflected the more than two thousand children who have been taken from their parents at the United States border with...

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