Early Four Way Stop Before Christmas: Sorority Sisters, The Streetcar, More of Milwaukee Protests, and a mystery bonus.

Posted: December 21, 2014 in #blacktwitter, African American Stories and Viewpoints, Black Greeks, Black Issues, Divine Nine, Facebook, Photography, The Issues, Wisconsin African American Commentary
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While what is left of Sagittarius Season, I’ll draw the bows and arrows and aim for another three way dance. Plus a bonus. This dance is all about the unexpected ratchetness of VH1’s Sorority Sisters, An update of the Milwaukee Streetcar and a final installment that I’ll dig up that is true, but I’m saving it. Not gossip or juicy. 

Take one: Sorority Sisters on VH1

First, I must ask this question. How many of those you know who are apart of the Divine 9 that watched the VH1 Premiere of Sorority Sisters? I have to say this. That show should be burned beyond recognition! I mean really. Why would this show, this REALITY SHOW be on VH1 of all places? And having these chicks representing of the AKA’s, Deltas, Sigma Gamma Rho’s and Zeta’s in the limelight that well, opposes the standards of the organizations? I mean really? I would rather see the Packers lose a unexpected game than watch VH1’s Sorority Sisters! (oh, by the way the Packers did lose against Buffalo. But it was ONE Game!) Anyway about this Sorority Sisters show, I know darn well that the D9 members that I know, don’t take this lightly. I know many probably watched the show and probably have an assumption that “this how all of the Sororities in the NPHC act like being all stuck up and selfish. Just like the girls on TV”. The D9 female members that I know personally through family, church, alumni in between really give back to the community through service and the ability to carry out their organizations’ objectives. Thats what’s up. For these actresses who either portray or act upon as a representative of their sororities, they are now being talked about. Of course. What you expect? They got a reality show! Now you might have seen this on Facebook, or any other Social Media platform, that there is a petition to get the Sorority Sisters show canceled based on the content that was shown on TV. Already, some ads that sponsor the show are being pulled until the show is completely gone. Anyone uses Carmex? You know the stuff that helps to pop your cold sores off your skin? Yep the same one. And just for those for an FYI, the company is based in my homestate of Wisconsin, in the Milwaukee area. Yes, that one! And already, Roland Martin himself has taken his liberties about the show to the forefront and commented that the show is no good. Just an FYI also, Roland (aka Uncle RoRo) is a member of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity. Other famous Divine 9 names probably voiced their disapproval about the show’s overall content as being badly reflective of their organizations. However there are those who might trip on hating that, but still watch the shows of Love and Hip Hop or the Real Housewives of whatever. If that’s the other objective, then our priorities must be re-examined and to really ask, what do we really want in a show? I mean the real stuff. Time to ponder, black folks! (and folks alike).

Second take: The Milwaukee Streetcar

Already the Milwaukee Streetcar was put on the city’s hot potato list. And a decision should have been made already to go along with this. BUT: according to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel and the Urban Milwaukee website, the streetcar talk with the Common Council has been on hold until either January or February of next year. But as I was reading the story on the JS, there was talk about with the Streetcar and among other things: Racism and Violence. Yes, the last time I checked Milwaukee is still a segregated city in the country. From the JS also there was some divide about the project between Alderman Joe Davis and Alderwoman Milele Coggs:

Ald. Milele A. Coggs ripped into Ald. Joe Davis Tuesday after Davis during a heated Common Council debate characterized the downtown Milwaukee streetcar proposal as immoral and racist. “As I sat here listing to the comments, I felt like I couldn’t breathe,” Coggs told the council, which had already voted to delay consideration of the project until January and had begun to debate whether to delay streetcar’s proposed financing measures.

One of those measures would prevent opponents to the project from holding a binding referendum asking Milwaukee’s residents if they support the $124 million streetcar plan.

Streetcar opponents, such as Alds. Bob Donovan and Joe Dudzik, have said a project as controversial and as costly as the streetcar all but demands a referendum.

“We are getting ready to wipe out from the public any say,” Davis said, echoing their sentiments. He called the proposal “immoral.”

The initial stage of the streetcar would connect downtown Milwaukee to the upper east side, with a spur extending to the lakefront.

Mayor Tom Barrett said the streetcar would create jobs, spur development and attract young and talented people to the city.

But the “millennials” the mayor hopes to attract, Davis said, are not the unemployed African-Americans that live in his north side district.

“Are they part of the ‘millennials?’ ” he said. “Or are they just thugs.”

Davis evoked the April 30th shooting of Dontre Hamilton.

“If a kid can get shot 14 times down here in Red Arrow Park downtown — and this is from young kids who have actually weighed in with me on the project — if that can happen, what will happen when they try to ride the streetcar downtown?”

Both Davis and Donovan have said they will challenge Barrett in the 2016 mayoral race.

Coggs, who spoke after Davis, bristled at the implication that those who supported the streetcar project are indifferent to the needs of Milwaukee’s African-American community or to the plight of the poor and disenfranchised.

“Instead of so much posturing, instead of so much name calling, instead of so much characterization of those who choose to support and not support the streetcar, we should discuss this on the merits,” she said.

“It is not that you care about the community or poverty or police brutality — or you care about the streetcar.

“It is not one or the other.”

“Milwaukee has a lot of work to do in a million different areas, but just because we have that work to do doesn’t mean we should miss the economic opportunity for growth that we have in front of us,” Coggs said.

Ultimately, the council voted to delay until January 21st not just the streetcar proposal, but to also delay until January the measures that would fund its construction and operation.

“We fully expected the delay,” Barrett said in an interview following the vote.

“No surprises at all,” he said.

The mayor said he would spend the next several weeks presenting the streetcar proposal to business and community leaders.

Alright: enough of the bickering. Since when the death of Dontre Hamilton per say has gotten into the discussion about the Streetcar project? That right there is another monster to deal with! Speaking of violence on public transportation, I’ve read about shootings that effected Milwaukee County Transit Busses years back. Try 10 years ago. I remember shootings on buses very well. Which partially made me switched my transportation needs to behind the wheel. Keep in mind, Milwaukee that this was about or over 10 years ago! I think Alderman Davis needs to get that commentary reexamined. Violence can effect no matter what transportation is needed. And also I remember when the MCTS had these things called Transit Security Guards from Wackenhut. Do they still work? And what about these Transit Security Cameras? Remember those? Do they still work? I’m just asking!

Over the course of my commentary, my support of the Streetcar is only one thing and one thing only: JOBS! Is that what we Milwaukeeans have been preaching about getting here so bad? HELLO!

But there was some good news out of the county. Milwaukee County Chairperson Marina Dimitrijevic whom proposed an idea between the Streetcar and the Coulture Projects. According to the Journal Sentinel she states in her commentary:

The Couture developer has agreed to hire 40% of workers from within Milwaukee County and contract with Disadvantaged Business Enterprises for 25% of this development. The city of Milwaukee has committed $400,000 as part of the proposed East Michigan tax incremental district toward much-needed workforce development. Recently, an additional $100,000 has been promised at the county level from the developer matched at $100,000 by the Milwaukee Area Workforce Development Board, making the total investment in preparing our workforce more than a half-million dollars. These city-county resources will connect job seekers with employers, build workers’ skills and strengthen our local talent pipeline.

Construction and operation of the Milwaukee streetcar also will provide training and economic growth. It will complement our bus system by feeding into the larger system and attracting riders. This will result in an overall expansion of transit services in Milwaukee County. A 2008 report on the Portland, Ore., streetcar explains that more than $3 billion in new development has taken place within two blocks of fixed streetcar routes.

Furthermore, according to Urban Milwaukee, she expressed this commentary along with the Barrett Visionary Development Group:

Milwaukee County Board Chairwoman Marina Dimitrijevic today announced $200,000 in additional funding for workforce development. The Barrett Visionary Development Group has promised $100,000 that has been matched by the Milwaukee Area Workforce Investment Board. This new $200,000, led by the county, takes the overall workforce investment combined from the Couture and Streetcar projects to half a million dollars.

Chairwoman Dimitrijevic said: “This city-county partnership will help touch more than 500 workers, providing the necessary job training skills needed to connect with open positions in our growing economy while building our talent pipeline.”

Rick Barrett, of Barrett Visionary Development, has proposed the 44-story, $144 million Couture development with more public access at the site of the under-used Downtown Transit Center. He has agreed to hire 40 percent of workers from within Milwaukee County and contract with Disadvantaged Business Enterprises for 25 percent of this development.

Earl Buford, President of the Milwaukee Area Workforce Investment  Board said: “The investment of half a million dollars from the city and county together will be used for evaluation, assessment, recruitment workshops, and career pathway/training programs translating into real jobs on these projects.”

According to the U.S. Dept. of Transportation, the City of Milwaukee’s Streetcar Project will bring a new mode of transportation for people to connect with their jobs, their homes, and their entertainment destinations.  USDOT said construction work related to the Streetcar Project infrastructure will bring approximately 350 new jobs.  The Streetcar Project calls for certification that will ensure under-represented populations have access to career pathways with family sustaining wages, benefits and opportunities for advancement.

Dimitrijevic thanked Rick Barrett for his contribution to the city and county’s efforts to develop and strengthen our shared workforce. Rick Barrett added: “As a lifelong Milwaukeean, I am excited to help take us to the next level. I am happy to partner with the Milwaukee Area Workforce Investment Board to provide additional resources to train workers and develop our diverse workforce.”

So what’s the fuss again? Like I said, if its a result of getting more jobs here in the city, then I’m all for it. You got two major projects that seemed controversial, but at the same time it might spur up jobs here in Milwaukee that are in of need. I wonder who or what antagonist are against this? And you got the USDOT in the back pocket in this? Who would NOT be against this? Even for family related sustaining jobs that most have been preaching and saying over and over again about since day one! I don’t hear or see this on Facebook!

Third on the card: Oh, Milwaukee had a week of wearing black in church and also a protest on a interstate.

This past week in Milwaukee, like many others across the United States in black churches, many of us wore black in solidarity of the #BlackLivesMatter conduct. Also, the gathering took place yet again at Red Arrow Park in which was the same site where Dontre Hamilton was killed by the hand and the gun of Former Police Officer Christopher Manney. This time the faith community: no matter if it was Christian, Jew, Musilim, and plus the ACLU of Wisconsin all came out. Even the Mayor himself made an appearance. Plus the brother of Dontre Hamilton, Nathaniel spoke to the crowd about his late brother and the misuse of the justice of his sibling encountered being shot 14 times. We all heard the story. Plus also after the rally, many started to march to the Milwaukee County Courthouse and to leave messages for County DA to let him (John Chisholm) know that the case involving the murder of Dontre Hamilton must not be ignored! Later on in the week on a Friday, check this out via WISN Channel 12:

Yep, what you’re looking at is a group of protesters taking I-43 hostage in the black community of Milwaukee. At one time, for those who are unfamiliar with this area, this was part of the original Bronzeville area before the freeway got opened up and kind of messed up the neighborhood for decades to come. But on this day, several protesters whom shown up to took the I-43 hostage per say, were arrested, but the message behind the protest was not silenced! And the reaction of this had to be some haters behind the screen. Folks had to say “oh it’s a mob scene!” Really? This was NO mob scene. This reminds me after the George Zimmerman verdict came in and after the non-guilty verdict, there were folks in protest if I recalled, there were protesters then shutting down a freeway in Houston, Texas! New York did the same thing a couple of month ago, and now it’s Milwaukee’s turn. Milwaukee can now join the lists of cities that had these non-violent freeway protests against the murders of unarmed (UNARMED) black men! Even though many might call this cray-cray in a sense, but it is a protest to get the folks talking! And it has to start and continue. No matter what or who thinks! Even if it’s Sheriff or the Chief of Police. Folks need to listen. Even if those live in the suburbs!  Also in the same week, several of my Milwaukee County Supervisors also expressed their liberties in session while showing the shirts of the words, #ICANTBREATHE. Yes America, you should know the name and reasons why Dontre Hamilton’s name is out like Eric Garner, Michael Brown, and many other unarmed black men (and to paraphrase Unarmed black women) were shot to death unexpectedly.

Final thing on the card: A mystery. 

What should go on the last card? Christmas, no no that’s too easy. Maybe about Bill Cosby and these ridiculous crap about him being a rapist? No no. However I’m saving that for my end of the year blog under scatching my head all this time segment. Sheriff David Clarke and him going on Fox News? Not yet. Wait until the same blog by New Year’s Eve.

Oh, wait, just wait. I GOT IT!

Already, my Stephen’s Spot thing, is expanding. Since December 1st, I’ve been expanding another skill of mine to work. Photography. For those who are on Facebook, I made a page called “Stephen’s Spot Photography” in which I take photos around Milwaukee in which I think might be good at random. Now, usually I don’t write this, but this is the first time I am expanding my work outside of WordPress. So, if you or those in the city ever get a chance, check out my public page of “Stephen’s Spot Photography” on Facebook. With the page, I’ll take pics (by using a Nikon) to go to any public related spot to snap nice photos of community related events. Either at my old high school, a nearby spot at Lake Michigan, or anywhere my camera touches. Even I might do mystery stuff in which like “where’s the Nikon now?” I’m going to have fun with this! So while the page is under development, you can still visit it via Facebook.


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