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Race Relations in MilwaukeeMilwaukee has long held the reputation, deservingly or not, of being one of the most segregated cities in the United States. Race relations in our community continue to impact education, economic development and our neighborhoods.In June of 2009, WUWM News and Lake Effect journalists examined the history and evolution of black-white relations in Milwaukee. Project Milwaukee: Black & White explored how race relations have improved, and where there is still room for growth.

Adults in Sherman Park Listen to the Neighborhood's Young People About Choas in the Community

Teens and young adults share their fears after rioting in their Sherman Park nieghborhood.
Bonnie Petrie
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Teens and young adults share their fears after rioting in their Sherman Park neighborhood.

Parklawn Assembly of God Church in Sherman Park welcomed the neighborhood's young people into the Sanctuary on Friday night to share their thoughts, fears, and concerns about the recent rioting in that neighborhood. Bishop Walter Harvey says Friday's Listening Session -- facilitated by Urban Underground -- is the first in what will be a series of opportunities to learn from the community,. Harvey says it's essential to reach out to the younger generation if we're to understand the source of the community's frustration and fear. 

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Credit Bonnie Petrie
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People gather in the Parklawn Assembly of God cafeteria to eat together before a special Listening Session for the neighborhood's young people.

The family of Sylville Smith, the 23-year-old man whose shooting death at the hands of a Milwaukee police officer sparked the unrest, was at Friday's Listening Session. However, in keeping with the goal of hearing from youth and young adults, only his 24-year-old brother, Sudan, spoke. He urged people to channel their anger into finding solutions.

Also in attendance were several politicians, including Congresswoman Gwen Moore, State Senator Lena Taylor, and Milwaukee Common Council president Ashanti Hamilton. They also simply listened to the young people in the room, who shared their fears about living in a neighborhood in which they regularly hear gunfire, their anxiety about being stopped by police when they've done nothing wrong, and -- in one young man's case -- his greater unease with leaving Sherman Park and entering other parts of the city or suburbs where he feels watched and unwelcome.

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