This is the first in a new series here at MKE Moms Blog entitled C.A.R.E. We want to initiate conversations about racial equality (CARE) and to call people into the discussion around social justice in our Milwaukee community and beyond. By having these conversations, even if they are uncomfortable at times, we hope to challenge ourselves and our readers. We will support this dialogue with new perspectives, resources and ways to get involved. We are in this together and ultimately, we want to provide connections: Mom to Mom. And we believe in the power of stories to create these connections.
Moms, Milwaukee is hurting. Our city is divided. There is anger, blame and fear swirling through our streets.
How does it look from where you stand?
We’ve been hearing the call loud and clear from Milwaukee Moms: What can we do to help our city? How can we support our community? Is there anything we can do to make a difference?
The answer is a resounding YES. Absolutely yes. YES and Yes.
We can do something. But it’s probably not what you think. And even though it sounds ridiculously simple, it might not be that easy.
We can listen.
But … I hear you say, that’s not doing anything, I want to do something.
It was the great Maya Angelou who said something along the lines of: when you know better, you do better. So before we jump into action (and yes, as moms, we’re wired to jump in to help when help is needed!), we have to know where we’re jumping.
Now is the time to ask yourself: how much do I really know?
Unless you are a part of the community that surrounds Sherman Park, it might be safe to say, not much. And that’s okay to admit. We carry with us what we think we know from what we read in the papers or watch on the evening news or scroll through in our feed, but now is the time to check yourself and your sources.
Whose voices are you hearing? And where are they coming from?
We want to present you with some voices from the community that you might not be hearing. Amidst the vitriolic talk of ‘riots’ and ‘violence’ and ‘unrest,’ there are others who are urging that we stop to listen and try to understand. If you’ve been following at all, you likely know what has happened (though even those reports vary), but do you know why?
Can we be honest? Except for that crazy uncle we can’t seem to unfriend, it’s likely we’ve all deliberately edited our Facebook feed so the choir sings the same key. The news we hear, the articles that appear, the opinions of friends are probably likely to mirror our own. And while that might be helpful if we’re looking for our tribe who co-sleep, or practice positive discipline, or love paleo recipes, it can be downright dangerous when we’re talking about what’s really going on in our city. Let’s not hush the voices of our city’s own choir.
What follows are a several voices from Milwaukee’s black community that might help give a new perspective to the uprising and the festering anger that exploded recently. Note that not one of them condones the arson or violence, nor do we in asking MKE Moms to examine other perspectives. We are simply encouraging a greater understanding on the path toward empathy.
Listen as Venice Williams, Director of Alice’s Garden and The Body & Soul Healing Arts Center, talks about when the first match was lit in her community and how we are all a part of the solution.
Take a moment to read Reggie Jackson’s article outlining the historical context of recent anger and how the meter hasn’t moved all that much since the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s.
Read how Tarik Moody, a much-loved Radio Milwaukee DJ describes what it’s like to be a black man in Milwaukee and what stopped him from grabbing some food at a BP station.
What we are missing as a city is empathy. – Tarik Moody
As moms, we know how to listen. We’re good at hearing all sides of an argument. Problem solving is built into our DNA. We want to encourage all MKE Moms to take that skill outside of our homes and into our wider community.
Let’s listen to ALL the voices of our community.
We know it’s going to take some effort and it’s probably going to make us uncomfortable. But it’s the only way we’re going to get to any tangible solutions that make this city a great place for everyone. We believe we can do it. We hope you’ll join us!