Editor’s note: Have something on your mind? “Community Voices” is the place to let Milwaukee hear what you have to say. To be considered, we need your name, email address and phone number for verification. Please email your submissions to email@example.com
Every day, thousands of cars drive past a light pole on South 21st Street and West National Avenue. The light pole is streamed with red and black balloons, flowers and jar candles. If you stop and look closely, you will see a Reese’s Big Cup candy bar.
I wonder about Calob House. Who was he? How are his children doing? Do his children attend neighborhood schools? Are the schools providing mental health services for this traumatic event?
House, 34 and the father of four children, was killed at that corner on Oct. 6 by a hit-and-run driver fleeing police.
There are so many layers as a result of Calob’s unexpected passing, questions that the family must answer about how the children will cope, about housing, family income and countless other responsibilities.
Unfortunately, children in urban neighborhoods deal with this type of loss more often than a child who lives in a more affluent neighborhood.
These makeshift memorials are important to the family, the children, partner, parents, siblings and friends. This corner will forever be a reminder of losing a beautiful life. I hope and pray that the family finds solace in the life they enjoyed while Calob was here with them. He should be remembered as someone who lived his life to the fullest and was on his way to celebrate life with the best intentions.
This loss of life is heartbreaking, but it is also avoidable.
Residents and community members need to get involved and change the status quo. In the Clarke Square neighborhood, we have nearly 3,000 school-age children walking or being dropped off at five neighborhood schools. At each of those schools, there might be one crossing guard at the intersection with highest traffic counts. One person to direct traffic from four sides is very difficult: Parents are trying to drop off their children and make it to work on time, traffic could be heavy, and the list goes on.
Not one day goes by that I don’t hear from residents or see with my own eyes examples of reckless driving. Every time I am in the community, people talk about the number of people who run stoplights, speed or pass recklessly on the streets.
We must act.
We must let the City of Milwaukee know the most dangerous streets in our community. If you read this, tell us what streets and what times are the worse for you, your family or residents. Let us know which streets require the most attention.
This is a call to action. If you are interested in being part of the “Crossing Guard Group,” please contact firstname.lastname@example.org. We will gather, train and talk about how to improve public safety for the families as they drop off and pick up children at schools. We need more yellow vests, stop signs and volunteers who will demand that people slow down, respect the community and value life.
Dr. Patricia Najera, a community organizer, researcher and director of the Clarke Square Neighborhood Initiative, is determined to strengthen and build the community.