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What To Expect At Milwaukee's Bronzeville Week

HaRUNbee 5K Wakl/Run, 2021
Courtesy of Justin Gordon
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The HaRUNbee 5K Walk/Run kicked off the start of the 2021 Bronzeville Week on August 7, 2021.

Milwaukee’s Bronzeville Week started as a protest against a major big box retailer from setting up shop in the neighborhood. Organizers wanted to show and support the small businesses already established in the area. Now, in its 10th year, Bronzeville Week continues to celebrate African American culture, history, art, commerce and entertainment — all while continuing to support the growth of the community.

Running August 7-14, Alderwoman Milele Coggs and community member Tonda Thompson, who owns She Slangs Wood, join Lake Effect to dig into the grassroots history of Bronzeville Week, the event’s continued impact and what to expect for the rest of this week.

Thompson has been on the planning committee for six years now and this year, she's leading a wood workshop as well. She started her business after the pandemic forced her to make crafts on her own. "I want to inspire other people, especially in the African American community to build their own, and to go for it. Nothing should hold you back," Thompson explains.

Although Bronzeville Week started off as a protest, Alderwoman Miele Cogg says the week has evolved throughout the years. "We can't keep only fighting against what we don't want to see in Bronzeville, maybe it's time that we, one, showcase what is here in Bronzeville, but two, fight for what we want to see and fight for things that are possible." she says.

This year with COVID-19 in mind, attendants can find both in person and virtual events. Events include interviews and performances with artists, an art walk and the popular HaRUNbee 5K Walk/Run.

As for how Bronzeville Week brings the community together, Coggs says: "I'm glad to be sharing this platform with Tonda, she is an example of the power of Bronzeville Week. This isn't just about the events, it's about the people."

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