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'This Is Milwaukee' Project Explores Citizenship Through The Eyes Of Milwaukeeans

Kevin Miyazaki
Maria Cree Myles, Howard Leu, Willie Weaver-Bey, and Rachel Monaco-Wilcox, portraits featured in the "This Is Milwaukee" project.

Many of us are sitting at home to make our community safer as we weather the coronavirus pandemic. It’s an opportunity to reflect on our civic duties, what that means to us and our personal responsibilities to the people around us.

A new project by Kevin Miyazaki and Mary Louise Schumacher, called "This Is Milwaukee," is asking and answering these questions through intimate portraiture and interviews of people who call Milwaukee home.

"We want people to look at what we produced in the end and really come away thinking about what citizenship is — what is my relationship to that idea, how am I living that out in my life," says Schumacher, a local journalist and critic. 

The project features short videos that combine Miyazaki's portraits of Milwaukeeans with the voices of each person. They talk about democracy, community, and what these concepts mean to them and their work.

"The goal was to, at the beginning, to show outsiders and people looking at Milwaukee, who was here. But in the end, I think it's also a great thing for the people who live here to look at the citizens that are part of their own community," says Miyazaki. 

Joy Powers is a WUWM host and producer for Lake Effect.