February may be the shortest month, but it's packed with events all across Milwaukee. Sorting through the lists of community events can be overwhelming, which is why we turn to Ana Martinez-Ortiz.
Martinez-Ortiz is a staff reporter for the Milwaukee Neighborhood News Service. The news organization covers the central city, which includes a diverse group of neighborhoods on the near north, west, and south sides of Milwaukee. Here are Martinez-Ortiz's highlights of a few events taking place in the central city this February:
1. MPS Black Lives Matter Week of Action
Listen, learn, and add your voice to the narrative that will bring about positive change. Milwaukee Public Schools is putting on a week of events to engage in conversation about the Black Lives Matter movement.
“This is MPS' way of making a conscious effort to celebrate [the Black Lives Matter] movement and to keep it going,” says Martinez-Ortiz. “It’s going to be a lot of discussions and conversations about what Black Lives Matters means and how it plays out in Milwaukee.”
2. Black Lens MKE
All month long, starting Feb. 6
Milwaukee Film's Black Lens program seeks to spotlight the work of Black filmmakers through films and events that inspire conversation, celebration, and community. Throughout the month, six events are planned with screenings, and opportunities to meet filmmakers and engage in conversations about the films.
“[Black Lens MKE February Events] are focused on black female filmmakers throughout the country,” says Martinez-Ortiz. She notes that the conversations will focus on both the black women behind these films and those who star in them.
The Seventh International Guitar Festival presented by the Latino Arts Strings Program will feature a youth guitar competition, master classes with internationally renowned talent, workshops focusing on classical guitar technique, construction, and maintenance. The evening concert will highlight winners of the youth competition and renowned guitarists Elina Chekan and Rafael Padrón.
4. Milwaukee Rec – Father Daughter Dance
Milwaukee Recreation has partnered with the Milwaukee Fatherhood Initiative and the Social Development Commission (SDC) to host the annual Daddy/Daughter Dance at North Division Community Center. The night will include dancing, food, gifts, and a live DJ. Fathers and daughters of all ages are welcome to attend.
5. Candlelight Hike
This is your chance to hike 2 miles of the Hank Aaron State Trail by candlelight. Talk about a magical winter walk! The event also features roaring campfires, marshmallow roasting, snowshoe demos, fat tire bike demos, tea tasting, and local door prizes.
"This is a great opportunity to meet with other community members and engage with people you normally woudn't," Martinez-Ortiz says. She believes that the beauty of the trail will more than make up for the cold temperatures.