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Stories about kids, guns and how to stop the violence. Precious Lives, created by 371 Productions, is a 2-year, 100-part weekly radio series about gun violence and young people in the Milwaukee area. The series applies a public health lens to each story to help listeners understand the full scope of the problem: who are the victims and the shooters; how are the weapons obtained; and what can we change about the environment that contributes to violence in Milwaukee?

#083 Precious Lives: Making Sense of the Weekend Unrest

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Michelle Maternowski
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A prayer circle forms outside the BP gas station, one day after it was set ablaze.

On Saturday, August 14th, a Milwaukee police officer shot and killed 23-year old Sylville Smith near the intersection of West Auer Avenue and North 44th Street.

The police department reported that Smith had a gun and refused to drop it. Details are still unfolding.

What we do understand is that in the Sherman Park neighborhood where this took place, tensions had been mounting for weeks.

Sylville’s death sparked peaceful protests, as well as violent unrest. Footage of buildings set aflame brought national attention to the Milwaukee and its struggles.

Precious Lives host Eric Von lives in Sherman Park. And producer Aisha Turner had been reporting on a related story for about a week before the major headlines began to unfold.

Eric and Aisha sat down with executive producer Brad Lichtenstein to share their thoughts about what led to the the unrest and what they think is going to be necessary for the community to move forward.

Eric Von was the host of Precious Lives, a series that was created in partnership with 371 Productions, WUWM 89.7 FM - Milwaukee Public Radio, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, WNOV and the Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism.
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