“Take back our neighborhood” becoming a movement; more events Sunday

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MILWAUKEE (WITI) -- This weekend brought more violence in the city of Milwaukee. We saw six separate shooting incidents Thursday into Friday (with one fatality) -- and then two separate shootings late Saturday. This, as a violent May in Milwaukee comes to an end. In May, we saw two shootings involving young children. On May 14th, in broad daylight, an 11-year-old girl was shot and injured near 25th and Capitol. Then, on May 21st, 10-year-old Sierra Guyton suffered a serious gunshot wound to the head -- shot as she played on the playground. As spring turns to summer, we're seeing residents living in some of the Milwaukee communities affected by the recent violence taking steps to "take back" their neighborhoods -- and on Sunday, June 1st -- it was business owners at the Milwaukee Mall holding an event to promote peace.

The area surrounding Fond du Lac and North Avenue is considered a "high crime" area -- but shop owners at the Milwaukee Mall and those who live in the area say it doesn't have to be.

In an event called the "June Jam," offering free food, raffle prizes, activities for children, and local music performers -- those who live and work near Fond du Lac and North made an effort on Sunday to come together in a positive way to promote peace and unity.

Dyonca Wade says her neighborhood is heading in the right direction. She is the marketing consultant for the Milwaukee Mall.

The mall is in the heart of a neighborhood that's hurting -- but what better place than the heart to begin the healing process.

"We serve (neighbors), but actually, they serve us -- because without them, we wouldn't have a business," Wade said.

Wade is more than the mall's business manager though. She'll soon open her own space -- but she won't be selling anything.

"Job resume workshops, computer literacy, ESL," Wade said.

Her "shop" will also include budgeting classes, and classes for those looking to acquire their GED or head to college.

Wade says she'll offer the kind of resources neighborhoods should offer families.

"You know, if people feel that you are embracing them and you are coming to them on their same level and not above them or beneath them, you can reach them better," Wade said.

It is for the same reason Wade spearheaded the "June Jam" event that took place in the mall's parking lot on Sunday.

Wade says it offered another chance to build people up and keep violence down.

Several businesses in the mall are offering services to neighbors, like Wade.

Albert Thornton is working to help job seekers get free phones through a government program.

"We're trying to do some new things here to spark the community to come back," Thornton said.

Efforts to support neighbors in neighborhoods affected by violence and this "take back our neighborhood" attitude is becoming a movement in Milwaukee -- something Wade and others are happy to see.

"We can only do our part as business owners -- but one person can actually make a difference," Wade said.

Wade says she can see the progress in the neighborhood already.

She was one year ago, there were maybe seven vendors leasing space in the mall.

Now, there are 20 -- and hopefully more to come.


Meanwhile Sunday, Valerie Lewis brought her congregation to the street near Melvina and North 24th Place.

"I took my church and I said 'everybody -- we gonna take it to the street.' We're taking our community back, and we're taking it by force," Lewis said.

The site of Lewis' pulpit on Sunday was on Thursday, the scene of a shooting.

Police say shots fired from a car struck a 30-year-old man as he was walking.

Police say this incident wasn't a random shooting.

Neighbors say they've had enough of the violence.

"It's time for us to come together in love and peace and unity," Lewis said.

Earlier in May, one block away from where the congregation prayed on Sunday -- an 11-year-old girl was one of two people shot in broad daylight.

Again, police say shots were fired from a car.

As the congregation prayed on Sunday -- neighbor Barbara Killebrew decided to join in.

Killebrew says she's tired of all the violence -- and angry about it.

"I'd love to tell those young men who got those guns that they need to put those guns down because it could be one of their family members that's dying or getting shot," Killebrew said.

D'Sean Hampton lives nearby and says he's constantly hearing gunshots.

"Even I heard it just last night. My momma prayed it off," Hampton said.

The community joined together Sunday to pray for the protection of their neighbors, and healing for the neighborhood -- and also, that those firing the guns will start valuing life.

"There's a lot of funerals going on.  People can't afford to bury their loved ones and they're left grieving and they're left angry, and they're constantly -- out of that anger and bitterness, they're killing one another," Ladonna Gladney said.


  • cynic

    Keep partying and rallying, I think it’s working. Unless you factor in the multiple shooting each day. But hey, who doesn’t love a bunch of cause-heads feeling good about doing nothing!

    • BeEasy

      And exactly what are you doing besides talking trash and watching the news all, so when a neighborhood stands together against wrongful acts it’s not doing nothing right? So just because the violen ce doesn’t stop how you want it to stop you down grade people who make a effort. You probably don’t even live in a neighborhood where there is gun violence but you got somuch to say about the people who do. I honestly hate the way you and thousands of others on jsonline view the inner city community, you don’t do anything for us, but yet again there’s idiotic comments like yours when we try and do for ourselves. You sir are what we call in this new age a “female canine” have a good day. @CYNIC

      • dancing in the ruins

        if his community doesn’t experience gun violence why should he have to do anything for the one that does? why doesn’t the community that is experiencing the gun violence take measures to end it themselves instead of looking to place blame elsewhere and demand handouts?

        and i don’t mean by holding rallies. i mean getting to the root of the problem and addressing that. you need to learn about accountability and root cause analysis. no wonder this violence will never end. you people are clueless when it comes to solving problems.

      • soulobigdaddy

        WELL SAID BEEASY. Unfortunately, the ones who make the racist and downgrading comments actually enjoy seeing us destroy each other, unless it involves or affects them personally

  • Lorea

    To cynic: Is it an instant fix? Of course not. But these events are helpful. (1) They build a sense of community and define what that community stands for/against. (2) They set an example as ecents that occur in rough neighborhoods, but remain violence and arrest free. Im glad to see these popping up. Honestly, this IS part of the solution.

  • Dyonyca Wade

    to cynic: whether it’s one person or 100, these people are taking a stand to help promote peace and unity. The idea took the time out of your day to comment let’s me know we are doing something right. God Bless you. and Lorea I appreciate the positive feedback.

  • dancing in the ruins

    yes, rallies must be the solution. they will permanently end the violence but only if we give all these people $15/hour fast food jobs.

    welcome to obama’s america.

  • cynic

    Ya ya, keep putting yourselves on the back. Meanwhile, for every thug there are probably a dozen friends or family members that know what they’re up to but protect their own instead of the community they live in. So don’t get all self-righteous. The situation will improve when people stop marching/rallying/barbecuing and start turning these people in. Then we just need the justice system to exact proper punishment and stop trying to rehab and counsel everyone like they are poor lost souls. Some animals are just animals and either need to be locked up or put down. Until then, there is no reason why any of them should bother changing their ways. Kumbaya.

  • Redman

    such a freaking joke that the ONLY thing the black community does is hold vigils, sometime for the criminals which ties directly into all of them blaming society or the white man whatever… want to start curbing th violence? here ill help you out…1. stay in school and graduate. 2. do not have babies out of wedlock. 3. after graduating high school if you cannot go to college then get a job and hold down a job…what we call morals and work ethic you guys call white privilege…what a joke….

    • Lorea

      Based on your comments, I wonder if most of your understanding of the black community is based on media and entertainment portrayal. Obviously, as research shows, some of what you indicate is statistically higher in the black community…and, yes, that is concerning and needs to ve addressed. But there is also a whole realm of the black community beyond what is seen on tv, in newspapers/magazines, in movies, and in music. Some of the most incredible, strong, lifelong marriages I have ever known are within “the black community”. (Im talking about the kind of marriages many of us hope to be like.) Some of the most loving, wonderful parents are part of “the black community”. (I mean the kind of love that adopts five kids to make sure siblings can stay together for life.) Some of the smartest kids I’ve ever known represent “the black community”. (Kids who helped plan rallies like this on, then went on to obtain a degree, and now in a highly acclaimed graduate program.) I certainly don’t deny there are problems to be worked on, but those problems do not define the whole community. And, that sir, is the point of rallies like this. A declaration against the sterwotypes ansld violence. A rally to be more positive, to pull the community up…to be like those I have described here.

      • Lorea

        @Sheila…I think your statement further proves my point that Redman, like many people, has a limited understanding of the black community because they have limited intimate personal experience with people who are in the black community. You are correct that people judge based on what they see…and sometimes people have not seen enough to be able to judge accurately. Also, if one wants to judge a single person for how they present themselves, then thats certainly understandable. (Not necessarily moral, but understandable.) But to judge a whole group based on what SOME do or don’t do? It inevitably labels those who are succeeding in with those who are struggling.

  • Mary

    Stand strong ladies and gentleman!! Wish you all the best in taking back your neighborhoods from the thugs that wish to destroy it!! My thoughts and prayers are with you!!

  • Sheila Moyet

    Nothing will ever change on the north side until the mentality of the people change. This “ghetto fabulous”, “in the hood” and “gangsta” mentality is dragging down the people. Pull up your pants and find some respect, dignity and morals. Remember, society will react to what they see. If you present yourself as ghetto trash that is what people will perceive you as. Present yourself with intelligence and honor and that is what people will treat you with. Get rid of all this “baby daddy” and “baby momma” nonsense and create real family structures. These are the things that will bring up the black community.

    • Lorea

      On March 12, on your facebook page, in response to the headline story about the apartment manager who was forced to defend himself against 2 teens who attacked him, you said “it is time for us to take back our streets and our homes against these thugs and criminals”. In this story, you have a group of people making such a statement, and your response is to negate their effort. Im confused…is the black community not part of the “we” you were referring to? Were predominately black streets and homes not included in your comment? Or were you only referencing events that required use of self defense as methods of taking back “our streets and our homes?

  • Marshall Law

    This is pointless. You people can’t do anything about this violence. Unless it’s your family member, friend, or mentee, it’s out of your hands. You don’t have an influence to these murderers out here. You sure as heck won’t be outside screaming, “I’m taking my neighborhood back!” while they’re out there shooting, will you?

    What we REALLY need is more law enforcement. More patrols, more raids on these obvious criminals. All day, every day. Just round them up and send them away for a long time. THAT is the only way your neighborhood will be safe.

  • Latoya Lewis

    My aunt did what she thought was best. That was her way of speaking out! I bet nun of you are doing much to end the violence. What if it was your hbrother or sister, daughter or son ect…? Would you sit back and still hild your voice back or would you step up and step out to be heard. Yes violence may still be and on going situatation but it stops atleast one person from killing another person then holding these types of things that are necessary..and those screaming more police more guns..take a look at how many people die at the hands of a police officer smh..YES WE NEED TO TAKE OUR NEIGHBORHOODS BACK!

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