What do you love about Milwaukee?
It’s hard to pick one thing. But I love Milwaukee’s resilience and broader sense of community. Larger media narratives tend to focus on what’s wrong with the city. But if you put in the work, and get connected, it’s pretty spectacular to watch how people make this place a home — to connect, to build bridges and to take care of people who aren’t being served. When I saw the opportunity to join News414, and I saw the project’s ambition, I considered it a dream job.
Where did you grow up in Milwaukee, and what is your fondest memory of your early days?
I grew up all over the South Side. My fondest memories come from living in the Burnham Park neighborhood — right across the street from the park, where I would go with my family. I remember hopping over the fence to get in and playing catch — whether baseball or football. I remember walks with my grandparents and heading up to El Rey (the grocery store). That whole neighborhood and that park just feel like home.
Do you have a favorite spot in Milwaukee, whether a restaurant or any other hidden gem?
I’ve been gone for four years, so I’m looking forward to stumbling into some new spots and rediscovering old favorites. But I’m so excited about the food scene. I had some friends telling me about Blue Star Cafe on Farwell Ave. I know there’s so much good Mexican and Puerto Rican food, too. I cannot wait to get home to all of that.
Who is a Milwaukee resident that you particularly admire, and why?
There are so many people. But let’s go with Venice Williams (the executive director of Alice’s Garden). The approach she has to building community is so powerful. It incorporates mind, body, spirit, food, connection skills and joy. There’s so much to it that I aspire to.
This project will be a success if . . .
Everyone in the city who needs it has access to it — and is aware of it. And we will have made people’s everyday lives better.