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Bridget Whitaker named new Safe & Sound executive director

Courtesy of Bridget Whitaker
Safe & Sound's new executive director Bridget Whitaker.

Last month, Safe & Sound named Bridget Whitaker as their new executive director. The nonprofit works across ten neighborhoods in Milwaukee to unite residents, young people, law enforcement, and community resources to try and make the community safer.

“We can’t create safe neighborhoods for all unless all of those players, residents, young people, community partners like us, and law enforcement have a shared accountability for what safety looks like," she says.

She notes that while Milwaukee is sometimes on national headlines, it tends to shed a negative light on the neighborhoods. Born and raised in the city and the product of Milwaukee Public Schools, she takes personal pride in creating safe spaces for her neighbors and family.

“I want to be able to retire in a place where, you know, my grandchildren live, my family lives, and my legacy is a part of where I grew up in. I call Milwaukee home," says Whitaker. "And so I think that in order for me to be able to, again, get to my personal goal of all those things, how do I set it up, so it works that way?”

Whitaker argues that safety across Milwaukee looks different for residents. She emphasizes the need for a shared space to hear residents' voices—their concerns and conditions as a community.

“When something happens, I should be able to turn to my neighbor and find out if they saw something [or] if they heard something. We should be working together to say, ‘you know what, we should probably be talking to our elected officials, we should be going to the local crime and safety meeting.' Finding an ability to have a united community.”

Safe & Sound hopes to prove to community members that they have the power to make tangible changes in the lives of themselves and their neighbors. However, Whitaker states that the end goal of Safe & Sound is to not need to exist and for the community to utilize their partners to create safer neighborhoods.

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Mallory Cheng was a Lake Effect producer from 2021 to 2023.
Cait Flynn was an assistant producer for Lake Effect 2022 to 2023.
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