This letter, this article - it means nothing. It means nothing in the realm of changing our current status, our present struggles. Words don't just shift societal change; only words plus action, and I'd argue a whole lot of love, hope and effort, can do that. It takes a lot more than me, definitely. But I feel the need to address Milwaukee, a place I know and love and a place that's caused so much noise in the past weekend alone. Maybe I'm just creating more noise by this. But maybe, just maybe someone is just as sick of the negative noise as I am. So here it is: Dear Milwaukee, hear me roar.
You're a beautiful city. I've visited and now subside; I've explored and now wander with leisure. Sure, I've seen a homeless man pee at the bus stop or I've inhaled that old fashioned wet dog (breweries a'brewin) smell more times than I'd have liked. But my favorite part about you is something distinct: your people - your community atmosphere - your passionate souls. I look at my corner of Milwaukee, Marquette University, and see light. I see people being the difference, striving to be the positive change and truly set the world on fire with love. I don't know the other corners -the other lifestyles - the other side. But I do know we ache with them.
Forget the most segregated city in America label for a moment. Forget the tensions and riots striking our city, just for a second. But never deny them. They exist. Don't attempt to explain the pain of those affected on a first-hand basis. Don't condone or offer understanding of the violence, don't pick sides and don't assume who's right or wrong. As part of the youth, I want this light to be hope shining into our future, not a light from flames of destruction to gawk at.
Dearest Milwaukee, please try to respond, not react. Response calls for information to be known, for facts and statements to be made on a basis of truth. Form an opinion there, not blindly. Search for that truth in all aspects. Reaction results in regret, as it's a reflex not often thought through completely.
Dearest Milwaukee, burn your hatred, not your businesses. Fight your evils, not one another. And come together despite how simple it seems to segregate further and place blame more frantically.
And Milwaukee? There will continue to be noise, perhaps outside of our city's boundaries. The next city afflicted could be as random as throwing a dart at a map blindfolded. But right now, it's us. And our noise is warranted. All of it. It's important and it's real. What I can't stand to swallow are the things creating the noise that are not warranted, wanted or even relatively necessary.
Dear, sweet Milwaukee, you've got all of my prayers. And your people, the best part about you, will make it through. I'd take the piss on the streets and the foul smell in the air over flying bricks, flames and a broken community any day.