Young Leaders In Milwaukee Push For Black Lives To Matter

Jul 23, 2020

For nearly 60 consecutive days there have been protests in Milwaukee pushing for Black lives to matter here. At many, young people are center stage.

In light of these protests, WUWM’s LaToya Dennis spoke with young organizers Isabella Busby, Christopher Washington and Malania Moore on Facebook Live. It's the latest installment of Listen MKE — a partnership between WUWM, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Milwaukee PBS and the Milwaukee Public Library. Its goal: help Milwaukee’s north side residents get the information they want and need. 

Moore is a recent graduate of Marquette University. She co-organized a protest and block party on the Fourth of July in the Rufus King neighborhood. Moore says COVID-19 gave people the opportunity to pay attention to what is really happening in this world. 

“It is being in this pandemic and seeing all the things that are happening via our cellphones, like locked in our rooms, very angry because we saw a man die for 8 minutes 56 seconds with a knee on his back,” Moore says.

Moore says she was young when Trayvon Martin died and since then, there have been a number of Black people killed without justice being served. 

>>Local Activist Says Protests Could Continue Until Demands Are Met

At the age of 14, Busby says seeing George Floyd die at the hands of a Minneapolis police officer and hearing people in her Shorewood community justifying his death sprung her into action. 

“That’s exactly why my main goal is going to be working with the education system because all of those people who are justifying it don’t understand what it’s like to be Black in America. There’s a difference, there’s microaggressions, there’s people that are racist but they don’t understand why they’re being racist. And there are people who are flat out aggravated racists. And a lot of the people who are justifying George Floyd don’t completely understand why this is an issue,” Busby says.

Isabella Busby (center, purple shirt) at a protest in Shorewood that she helped plan.
Credit Courtesy of Isabella Busby

She's helped plan the protests in Shorewood. Busby says when she starts high school this fall, her plan is to push the district to include more Black history throughout the school year.

Washington recently took part in a march from Milwaukee to Madison to push for better treatment of Black people in Wisconsin. Washington, who's 20 and a student at Marquette University, says people are tired. 

“When you have discussions with a lot of people, one thing a lot of people don’t really talk about is that there’s this weird form of numbness when it comes to speaking about police brutality and gun violence. Numbness meaning like of course people are sick of it, people are tired of it and it’s hurting them, but people are done talking about it. A lot of people really don’t have that energy to keep moving forward,” he says. 

Washington says he plans to fight and organize until Black people here get justice.