I need to be perfectly clear about these two things: while the residents of Sherman Park and Milwaukee’s impoverished neighborhoods have just cause for anger and frustration, absolutely nothing justifies the display of violence and incivility we’ve witnessed in our neighborhoods these past two evenings.
My plea to my neighbors is to do everything they can to stop the violence immediately. In a neighborhood where the opportunities for employment are so few and far between already, it is foolish and counter-productive to take out your anger on the few businesses that choose to operate on your block. Looting and burning won’t create opportunities to get a job and get ahead in life.
Yes, our neighborhood has problems. Yes, it is unjust that many of us are denied economic opportunities because of the color of our skin and the zip code in which we were born. Yes, too many of our young people are mired in frustration, hopelessness and crime. But you can’t fix the roof of a burning house.
We need to put down the bricks and put away the guns. We need to pick up some brooms and paint brushes and get to work. We need to get our kids off the streets and teach them to act out of love and hope instead of fear and anger. We need to stop creating additional problems and start seeking solutions.
If you’re angry, good; it means you’re paying attention. Once we’ve restored peace in our neighborhoods, I hope you will join us in the work of creating opportunity and equality for all of Milwaukee’s citizens.
We need peace, calm and healing on Milwaukee’s North Side, and I respectfully ask every one of my neighbors to join me in pursuing that goal.