My favorite story that I wrote in 2014 is the one about men and women who collect cans and discarded metal throughout the city and bring it to scrap yards where they are paid for it. The story kicked off a yearlong series on poverty and how people in Milwaukee make ends meet.
One of the main reasons I enjoyed working on the story is that it helps refute the narrative that poor people are somehow lazy. Many of the scrappers that I met work long, grueling hours to make very little money. Some told me that they refuse to take “hand outs” and much rather earn their keep.
Another reason I like the story is the video of scrapper Willy Whitehorn, who sings gospel music as he works. If we all had his positive outlook on life, the world would be a better place.