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WUWM's Teran Powell reports on race and ethnicity in southeastern Wisconsin.

We Asked People Celebrating Martin Luther King Jr. To Tell Us About Their Dream For Milwaukee

Eileen Force Cahill
Milwaukee Public Library
Parents and students alike took the time to write their dreams on sticky notes at the Martin Luther King Library on King Drive in Milwaukee.

We hung out at the Milwaukee Public Library Martin Luther King Branch for a few hours on MLK Day and asked people to celebrate King by answering this question (they had to write their answers on sticky notes and put them on our poster):

What is your dream for Milwaukee?

Their answers are below. But first, let me share some news about a project the Ideas Lab has embarked on withWUWM 89.7-FM, Milwaukee's NPR, and the Milwaukee Public Library.

It's called Listen MKE.

Our goals are to understand:

  • What's most important to people who live in Milwaukee’s neighborhoods.
  • What kind of information they most want and need.
  • How they'd like to get that information.

Beyond that, we believe our job is to foster inclusive communication and dialogue that helps make the community stronger. It's what the journalism organization Journalism That Matters has called “civic communications.”

We had a listening/visioning event last week at the Center Street Library, where we learned a great deal about what was on people's minds. We are beginning our work on Milwaukee's north side but expect to be working throughout the city in the coming months.

Credit David D. Haynes
Participants in last week's Listen MKE event at the Center Street Library worked on a group project to brainstorm ways to improve Milwaukee.

Get in touch with Listen MKE via the Ideas Lab group on Facebook or by email at:listenmke@gmail.com

And now, here are some of the answers to that question:

Forgive one another.

Kids are safe to play in their own yards or playgrounds.

Learn to believe in yourself.

Equal educational opportunities for all students regardless of ZIP code.

Minority business equality.

A great quality of life regardless of ZIP code.

Stop gun violence.

Jobs, a house, peace, love.

Home for the poor.

Less violence.


Help homeless people.


To be the first president from Milwaukee.

More economic development in our community.

Courage, love and peace.


To help people in need and shelter for people who don't have it.

Improve MPS.

Affordable housing!

Empower others with love and respect.

To help my mom.

Clean up.

To make the world a better place.

A regional and integrated school system.

Equality for all — educational and financial.

Less — or no — segregation.

Stop racism.

Cleaner streets.

To see my birth father.



A new mayor.

Courage, love, and peace.


Youth and teens lead the way. Listen to them!

How would you answer that question? Let us know. Email: listenmke@gmail.com or david.haynes@jrn.com. The Listen MKE project team: David D. Haynes, editor of the Ideas Lab; Michelle Maternowski, managing editor, WUWM 89.7-FM, Milwaukee's NPR; Teran Powell, race and ethnicity reporter, WUWM; James Causey, Talis Shelbourne and Rory Linnane, Journal Sentinel reporters; Paul Kiely, director, Milwaukee Public Library; and Eileen Force Cahill, community relations and engagement director, Milwaukee Public Library. 

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