I have heard that Milwaukee will be the next Ferguson, Mo. I disagree with that statement. Here are my reasons Milwaukee will not be the next Ferguson.
#1 – The Nonprofit Community
Milwaukee may have too many nonprofits and programs; however, they are addressing a need. City Youth Development, Social Development Commission, Running Rebels, Urban Underground, Neighborhood House, City of Milwaukee Earn and Learn, Ald. Hamilton’s “Let’s Be The Change” — and the list goes on of very diverse programming that engages youth.
#2 – Police Chief Edward Flynn
If you have ever had the opportunity to have a one-on-one with the chief, I believe you will be struck by one in particular characteristic: the chief is real. He understands the reality of crime, racism and urban life. In fact, he understands it better than most Wisconsinites.
#3 – Residency Requirement
Having cops who care and have the experience of working, living and understanding both minority and urban communities is really important.
#4 – Fewer Dense Urban Centers
Milwaukee, working with local and national developers, has been really good at spreading, diversifying and supporting populations. Although we have segregation, we do not have high-rise, high-density apartment buildings like Cabrini Green was in Chicago. The multi-million dollar Housing Authority of the City of Milwaukee project in Westlawn is a good example.
#5 – It’s Not An Option
It’s not an option for Milwaukee’s young black community to riot and loot. To say that it could not happen would not be accurate; however, there have been many opportunities and such behavior was not the outcome.
Here are some reasons that Milwaukee could become Ferguson.
#1 – Politically Deaf Politicians
I like some of the people who are declaring and exploring a mayoral candidacy. However, some seem to be politically deaf when it comes to youth, in particular black youth.
#2 – Militarization of the Police
This is an issue across the country and specifically in minority communities.
#3 – Removal of the Residency Requirement
Less diversity, less experienced cops and a lack of understanding of the urban dynamic continues to destroy what little trust there is between communities of color and the police force.
#4 – Hyper-segregation in Our Communities
People who live together understand each other better. As we continue to see more hyper-segregation in Milwaukee people do not have the opportunity to understand, work and depend on each other. It is these factors that make a city such a dynamic place to live.
#5 – Outlets for youth
We need outlets for youth. Funding and supporting youth programming is important and provides an outlet for their energy.
#6 – Media
Media has and will highlight any and all negative aspects of minority communities while flagrantly ignoring the good stories, people and organizations that make this community very special.
#7 – Absence of Black Parents
We need more black parents heavily involved in their child’s life. Engaging their children at school, in community and in extra-curricular activities is so important.