Gunshots & Carrots

Sage appeared in my doorway, wrapped in her comforter, her big sister right behind her. “Mom, were those gunshots?” It was 9:30 pm and the girls had been in bed for an hour. I had heard the shots–3 of them with several eerie pauses between–fired in the alley behind my house. I was hoping that the girls were asleep and didn’t hear. But here we are on my bed having a conversation I wasn’t prepared to have tonight. “Mom, why do we live in Sherman Park?” … We’ve lived here ten years now and these conversations are never easy, especially now that my kids are older and more aware. I talked with my girls for awhile that night, which puts me in a strange sisterhood of mothers who have detailed discussions with their children about what to do when we hear nearby gunshots. I called 911 and they sent a squad car. The officers in the squad called to tell me they were in the area. The girls slept in bed with me for awhile that night, and as they drifted to sleep, I felt the same doubt and fear that my sisterhood likely feels: am I able to protect […]

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The Culture of Sherman Park

My next door neighbor Bryan waved me over to his yard and asked, “Have you seen my Facebook post?” I hadn’t, so he showed me the window in his living room. In the center of that lovely, 90-year old leaded glass was a bullet hole. The previous night around 7pm, that bullet shot through the living room window and then through the glass paned-door that lead into his dining room. It was likely a stray bullet from several blocks away. As you’d expect, Bryan was upset and frustrated; he had been at dinner at a neighbor’s house when it happened and thankfully, there were no injuries. As I walked home, the news sunk in and my focus became more singular: where was I at 7 pm last night? I was at the table in my dining room, eating dinner with my family. Right next door. I want to be able to think well about the complexity and paradox of living in Sherman Park, because when a bullet shoots through a body or through your home, it’s not the time for saying something trite or simplistic. It is a profound moment, when all goes quiet and I feel compelled to process […]

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Neighborhood Easter Egg Hunt

I didn’t have neighbors, that’s why they call it hood.– B.o.B. The Sherman Park Easter Egg Hunt was amazing this year. I think this may be our ninth year. In past years, we’ve been doing the egg hunt in rain, cold, and snow. It kinda sucks some of the fun out of it. But not this year. The weather was perfect, the turnout was great, and there were many neighbors who stepped forward to make it happen.   And they’re off!   I laughed when I saw the above photos. I see Pete, the adult in the red shirt, playing defense to slow down the big boys to give the little kids a chance.                               It’s funny how much prep work goes into stuffing the eggs and hiding them and the whole thing is done in, like, seven minutes. The kids of Sherman Park are the fastest children on earth, according to me. To make the egg hunt last a little longer than seven minutes, we have pastries and coffee so that people can hang out a little longer.                 The kids […]

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A Trip to Central Library with ZIP MKE

Over the past couple weeks, I’ve been looking for opportunities to get my kiddos more engaged in the goings-on here in Milwaukee. Naturally, this desperate need to cultivate a love of the arts landed on a weekend when Greg was out of town, which means the responsibility of giving my four children a rich cultural experience would land solely on my idealistic shoulders. Fortunately for me, ZIP MKE had their gallery opening at the Central Public Library on Saturday afternoon. I heard whispers that cupcakes would be there, so I figured this would be a perfect event to bring the kiddos to. Because everybody know that Art + Cupcakes = Happiness. But first, let me tell you more about ZIP MKE. Dominic Inouye, the developer of ZIP MKE, began this project after the death of Sylville Smith and the unrest in Sherman Park afterward. In the days, weeks and months following, the helicopters, the media vans, the discussions of good neighborhood/bad neighborhood, good cops/bad cops, black lives/blue lives, black people/white people ensued. All these conversations seemed to conclude by pointing their finger in the same direction: Those People. And Dominic, like most Milwaukeens, began asking their neighbors and themselves what could be done. How can […]

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