WUWM: Race & Ethnicity Reporting

Race and ethnicity impacts so much. In a place as diverse as metro-Milwaukee, news fails to capture thousands of stories, including the unexpected or positive ones.

You can help WUWM’s Race & Ethnicity Reporter Teran Powell discover and tell those stories by sharing your question below.

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Editor's note: This story contains explicit and offensive language.

A UPS driver’s racist remarks that were caught on video during a delivery in Milwaukee last month has some advocacy groups condemning the comments and calling for UPS to take action.

The delivery, a week before Christmas, was on the city’s south side, a predominantly Latino area.

Teran Powell

Kenosha County District Attorney Michael Graveley is expected to annouce his decision Tuesday afternoon on whether to charge the officer responsible for shooting Jacob Blake last summer leaving him paralyzed from the waist down. 

On Monday, the Blake family and Kenosha community leaders held a press conference to demand Officer Rusten Sheskey be fired, charged and convicted. A few dozen supporters joined them.

Blake’s father, Jacob Blake Sr., said he wants him charged with attempted murder. 

Teran Powell / WUWM

Much of the news of 2020 was dominated by two major stories: the coronavirus pandemic and nationwide protests against police brutality that were accompanied by calls for immediate police reform.

Here’s how some of those stories unfolded in Wisconsin.

Andrey Popov / stock.adobe.com

Many people are eager for their chance to get the COVID-19 vaccine, but there are those who don’t share that feeling — especially in communities of color.

Mike Hutchinson said he will be getting the vaccine when it’s widely available. He's already had COVID-19 and wants to prevent it from coming back.

"I definitely plan to get it if becomes readily available for me because I have two daughters and just because of the close contact I am with people," he said. 

Teran Powell

Millions of people have already cast their ballots for this year’s presidential election, but get out the vote efforts are still very active, including those aimed at Black and Latino voters.

A variety of organizations have tried to appeal to these communities, stressing the importance of voting, and how to do so accurately and safely.

Teran Powell

The city of Wauwatosa was the backdrop for another protest on Thursday. A few hundred people gathered for the Rally for Justice in Hart Park. They’re continuing calls for justice in the cases of the two men and one teen killed by Officer Joseph Mensah – Antonio Gonzalez, Jay Anderson Jr., and Alvin Cole.

Courtesy of Marquette University

Marquette University has agreed to plans of action put forth by the campus’ Black Student Union, to create a more welcoming and inclusive space for Black students – on campus and in the city. The plans include full-ride scholarships, a permanent cultural center for Black students, and programs dedicated to raising awareness of bias, harassment and discrimination faced by diverse student populations.

juliabatsheva / stock.adobe.com

The Second Annual Minority Health Film Festival kicks off in Milwaukee Thursday through Sept. 24. Fifty films, events and discussions will highlight how relationships, communities and institutions impact the health of marginalized groups.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the festival is virtual, except for some drive-in events.

Alesandra Tejeda

Black people in Milwaukee are generally worse off today than 40 or 50 years ago compared to Black people across the country, in indicators like poverty, mass incarceration, economic mobility and segregation. That’s according to the latest study from UW-Milwaukee’s Center for Economic Development.

Andrey Popov / stock.adobe.com

The coronavirus continues to highlight disparities in health outcomes among marginalized groups. In this time of social distancing, telehealth or online video appointments have kept many people connected with doctors and therapists.

New Africa / stock.adobe.com

According to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, nearly 1 in 5 women report having experienced severe physical violence from an intimate partner, or IPV, in their lifetime.

Marquette University

The Marquette University community is mourning Jacqueline Walker — a woman many came to know simply as "Miss Jackie." She was the Educational Opportunity Program’s financial aid counselor for more than 20 years.

EOP is an academic, federally funded TRiO program that helps low-income and first-generation students pursue a degree in higher education. It was established in 1969 at the university to make a Marquette education more accessible to "culturally distinct students." 

reshoot / stock.adobe.com

About a week ago, photos of Black people who were killed by police and private citizens were attached to nooses and hung from a tree in Riverside Park on Milwaukee’s east side. Those pictured were Michael Brown, Trayvon Martin, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, Eric Garner, and Botham Jean.

People who saw the photos and nooses were angry and shocked, and the Milwaukee County Sheriff’s Office opened an investigation.

Austin Public Library / Public domain

For many Americans, when they mention Independence Day, they’re talking about July 4, which commemorates the Declaration of Independence. But for African Americans, a different date signifies independence: June 19, 1865.

The date has been referred to as Freedom Day, Black Independence Day, or most commonly, Juneteenth. 

Wisconsin is one of at least 40 states that observe Juneteenth Day. Milwaukee was one of the first cities in the north to celebrate it; there's been an annual festival for over 40 years.

Teran Powell / WUWM

WUWM is partnering with the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Milwaukee PBS and the Milwaukee Public Library on an initiative called Listen MKE. Its goal: help north side residents get the information they want and need.

More specifically, we want to better understand what's most important to people who live in these Milwaukee neighborhoods and help fill information gaps.

Teran Powell

Protests against police violence and injustices facing the black community are still going strong internationally.

In Milwaukee on Thursday, peaceful protests crossed the city for several hours for the seventh straight night, following the May 25 death of George Floyd in Minneapolis. Demonstrations also call attention to the April death of Joel Acevedo, in Milwaukee. An officer, who was off-duty at the time, is charged in Acevedo’s death.

"Black Lives Matter" and "Walk with us" are just a few of the chants you can hear coming from the crowds. 

Courtesy of Samer Ghani

WUWM's Race & Ethnicity reporter Teran Powell talks with local community and political leaders about protests against police violence happening in Milwaukee and across the country.

Following the death of another black man at the hands of police, the phrase Black Lives Matter is once again echoing through streets across the United States.

Teran Powell

Gov. Tony Evers has called COVID-19's impact on Milwaukee’s black community a "crisis within a crisis.”

Adam Ján Figeľ

Research in the Centers for AIDS Intervention at the Medical College of Wisconsin is looking at how racism and homophobia influence HIV prevention efforts among young black gay and bisexual men in Milwaukee — specifically, pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) treatment. PrEP is a daily medication taken to prevent HIV.

Teran Powell

The coronavirus began spreading rapidly in Wuhan, China, late last year and now affects thousands globally. There are currently more than 100,000 cases in the United States.

Teran Powell / WUWM

The American Psychological Association defines trauma as an emotional response to a terrible event like a natural disaster, an accident or a rape. But trauma can have many “flavors,” according to Joshua Mersky, Ph.D.

He’s a professor of social work in the Helen Bader School of Social Welfare at UWM. He says, "Typically speaking, we’re talking about profound adversities that have long lasting consequences."

Terrance Sims

Terrance Sims has been teaching at the MPS school Milwaukee College Prep for about six years. Each February for the last four years, he's been using photography to actively engage and celebrate Black History Month with his students.

If you scroll through Sims' Instagram, you can find photos he's taken, recreating images of influential black figures. They might be from the civil rights era, academia or the entertainment industry.

Valerie Moody

Our Black Women Firsts series has been highlighting black women in Wisconsin who are the first to hold their titles in their industries. We close our series with Rosy Petri, the first black woman to be the artist in residence at the Pfister Hotel. Petri says she didn't know beforehand that she would be the first woman of color to fill the position.

Courtesy of Chante Parker

In honor of Black History Month, we're highlighting several black women making history in their roles and industries here in Wisconsin. The series is called Black Women Firsts

Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction

In honor of Black History Month, we're highlighting several black women who are making history in their roles and industries here in Wisconsin. The series is called Black Women Firsts.

In the first installment, we hear from Carolyn Stanford Taylor, the first black woman to lead Wisconsin's Department of Public Instruction. She was appointed by Gov. Tony Evers at the beginning of 2019, and previously served as assistant state superintendent.

Teran Powell

African American men and women in the armed forces, past and present, are being honored in a new mural at the Milwaukee County War Memorial Center. It’s the first work dedicated to black veterans in the war memorial’s 62-year history.

Dozens of veterans, military families, and others gathered for the mural’s unveiling on Monday.

Chris Jackson / Getty Images

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex, known more commonly as Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, revealed that they would be stepping back from their royal duties earlier this month. That news sent waves through the media — both in the U.K. and the U.S.

Many questioned their decision. People wondered how the married couple would make their own money, and what "stepping back" means.

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

Jan 21, 2020
Eileen Force Cahill / Milwaukee Public Library

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?

Abernathy Family via National Park Service

On Monday, people around the United States are honoring the life and legacy of Martin Luther King Jr. Many remember King at the head of the civil rights movement — a man who fought for the rights of all people and preached non-violence.

But according to Cedric Burrows, an assistant professor of English at Marquette University, we don’t always get the full picture of who King was.

Teran Powell

Milwaukee has been called one of the most segregated cities in America, and one of the worst places for black people to live and raise their families.

With this in mind, today's Beats Me question put me in the position to try and offer some insight into this question: 

What's the cultural experience for being black and male in Milwaukee?

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