Archive for the ‘Education’ Category


Haven’t done a blog letter in a while, but its time to bring it back to the forefront. This blog letter is for the now graduated class of 2017. Yes, for you High School Seniors and College Seniors whom have now gone on to the next level, yes it’s your turn to shine. Like many classes before you, we too have to had to get our chances. And many of us are still getting chances! But 2017, not to spoil things, but many of you will be faced with challenges ahead no matter who or what comes up. So I’m dedicating this blog letter to you and yes, you have to give back to your alumni.

Dear Class of 2017:

It’s me Stephen. An alum from way back of 1995, 2000, and 2006. Yeah, I’m old school now.

First, let me say to you that it’s good that you have graduated. You have not only graduated from your high schools and colleges, but you have graduated to the next level of life! Of course you may have made it, but like video games, you will have to conquer different levels.

And second, during this past year, you have accomplished feats and did them in the last portion of President Obama’s final term. But yes, many of us are somewhat fearful of the now 45 reign as the current President. No telling what or whom might happen, but to quote me telling my mother the night of my father’s wake: stay in the fight.

Yes, 2017 you will have to face those challenges, even if you have to face the act of racism. Where I’m going with this? The recent acts in this era of “45”, video games and social media really proves that yet even though it’s cool to have those things, and to play around with them, there will be problems. Just like having problems because of a name, an upbringing, your viewpoints on religion, voting, the economy, or even your skin color! Especially recently when the 23 year old, Richard Collins III was killed at Bowie State due to a hate crime from the ALT-Right! Oh, you thought that Racism was dead, huh? Explain to me that is such rubbish! Class of 2017, this is ONE EXAMPLE to deal with, not just when you get that first job, but when you get that car, that house, or maybe when you get new neighbors. Let’s be honest, there are haters around you and you need to know it!

But there are good things to be proud of as a new graduate: you are setting an example. You probably set some examples of getting the degree is not just a thing, it’s a  way of life. Many of you probably got a bookcase at home full of past degrees and motorboards. Maybe you have been looking at them for a long time growing up. But now, you see an empty space on the shelf. And it’s reserved for you! Maybe it’s a saving space for someone who wanted you to have it when you get your degree(s). WELL THAT DAY IS HERE! It’s come. It’s go time. And hopefully, you inspired those in your family or friends to go to school or go back to school to either obtain or finish the degree. No matter how many years ago it was, or whatever. I’m sure they were paying attention when watching you taking the walk with your class. I’ve said this before last year and I’m saying it again.  Its time.

In my Public Schools, College and University graduations, yes I had the feeling to walk across the stage and get my degrees. I felt happy of them. But I also had the question of what happens next? 2017, no matter where you go in life always remember these words, in which were the same words I said the night of my father’s funeral wake:

Stay in the fight! Be empowered. 

Stay in the fight everyday. Be empowered all the time! If your family member or friend died this year before you graduated, I hope you did it for your loved one of best friend. If your family member had waited another 18 years in a era full of Social Media that wanted to add something special, well you got it. If your bestie watched you taking that walk and you want to do the same for him or her, you just did it. And I hope they were watching! If you are the parent, grandparent, aunt, niece, nephew, cousin, stepson, stepdaughter, foster son, foster daughter, adopted, a lifepartner’s guardian of a child, a young ward’s guardian, a mentor, a minister, a community person, or whatever you played a role as a Godparent, YES this was the day you wanted and you got it. But don’t stop at 18 or 23 years old. Go with them ALL THE WAY. Support them ALL THE WAY. And yet, help them ALL THE WAY. It’s does NOT STOP! My parents backed me and sister up and yet we are in our 40’s. Not matter if it’s financial or etc. That’s the thing! Don’t EVER forget that!

Finally for you the Class of 2017: Get involved with your Alumni Groups. Register with your alumni associations and be in the know of what’s going on and ways to get involved in your former schools. Even though that you’ll be going to the next level, but never forget the levels that got you here! Many of you had to go through pain and pestilence just to get that one degree. Many of you probably got attacked by a grown person mentality or psychologically all because of what you’re trying to do to complete a degree non-traditionally and folks were messing with you or just being jealous or hateful, you came along way and there was NO STOPPING YOU! Believe me I know. Reference how I was attacked unfairly in getting my degree from UW-Stout. Oh, and I’m still talkling about it because some of you or many of you probably went though the same thing! For those of you whom had to visit your campuses for the first time by using Distance Education and about to graduate.

In addition to the Alumni Associations, who knows maybe you might serve on the Alumni Boards or maybe give a future speech to a future graduation class. Get cracking on the jobs and activities now! And even if you get an internship job later on in life, it’s not too late!

Finally as I close, never forget what got you here! Never forget what gave you life. Never forget the magic you got going, and most of all, never EVER FORGET YOU!

Congrats class of 2017. Be blessed!

Sincerely,

Stephen

 

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Oh it’s time once again to go back to the learning tree.

For this: it’s once again that my centerpiece is set for Black History Month. No millennials, not black futures month, or a thing being conscious month. Black History Month is back again being 91 years old, and yes there many of us who think we know everything that is Black History. Or do we?

Like many years before, there are spoiler alerts: Stop me if you heard this one:

“I celebrate my people everyday.”

Or: “Every month is Black History Month.”

Or: “Black History Month begins January 1st and ends December 31st”.

Or: “I’m Black Everyday.”

Oh really? Hear me out.

How many of us in the black communities and classrooms, homes and churches and many others (including Social Media) do actually believe that when we say that, it’s almost we’re lying to ourselves?

Think about it. Years back on this blog again, I ask this same question:

What (in the H.E. Double Hockey Sticks) do we do everyday?

We are at work, school, in line to buy that new gadget, that line of weave, that line of new Jordans, that latest new single by J. Cole or a underrated rock band, or the list goes on and on! And the thing is, the age range is not a factor. You mean to tell me we can list all the sports records in Football and how the Atlanta Falcons CHOKED in the 51st SuperBowl(after beating Green Bay Twice), but can’t recite the reasons why black players couldn’t make the roster because of skin color? Or many of us love guns/militarism. Why wasn’t the US Military at the time had black servicemen who did their job for their country, but never got love for the country they served for?

I want to jump back to the quote of “celebrating our people everyday” and such.

If we really celebrate our people everyday, where are those who have NOT BEEN CELEBRATED?! Where are they at? How many of us who bleed that quote of celebrating us everyday never gave the flowers to those whom always been hidden every single time.  It’s always the front runners, the lead dogs, those that got the first divas for being out more than those that didn’t get one trophy for the hard work. And they have been grinding! What about those whom you got on your Social Media lists that has all those boat loaded accomplishments that you read about, but have this so-called opinion of them being so radical with actions or whatever and you don’t say nothing to be appreciative? Some of you may know where I’m going with this! But here’s the kicker. Many of us don’t hardly acknowledge it as much, while still being ALIVE!

5 years ago in February, Whitney Houston’s Funeral was taking place. And one of her former Bodyguards said something about giving flowers to those whom are living. That’s real talk. Every black man, and of course every black woman should be given their flowers RIGHT NOW for not only the appreciation of work, or a birthday, an anniversary, or being a good citizen or family member or friend, but still around.

CALLOUT: Especially us Black Males need that too! 

Many of us give flowers at a time of funerals. But that person lying in a casket or ashes in urns never got the chance to smell the roses while living. We need to recognize and check ourselves that yes, life is short. Anyone of us could be taken out for selfish or health reasons of anytime. That’s also real talk!

And about the phrase: “I’m black everyday or every month.”

Well duh! Of course many of us in the black community are black everyday! And I hope it’s not a diss towards Black History Month. I’ll admit that yes we got this pride of being a proud black man or a proud black woman. We got pride of recognizing our culture, our objectives, our purpose and our existence. We know.

However: I have to stress this, there are those of us whom are NOT proud of our heritage! Inner hate. Being ashamed. Being disregarded of not acknowledging the thought of having a prideful positive outlook of being black overall. Stop me if you have heard this before.

When black folks say “I’m black everyday”, I say: of course! And I dare say: what else?

  • Are you black everyday and helping out your community?
  • Are you black everyday and give back to your Alumni?
  • Are you black everyday and providing a value of support in your families, churches, fraternities, sororities, neighborhoods, and your place of employment?
  • Are you black everyday and giving back overall of the work after you somewhat post on Facebook, and other social media outlet?
  • Are you black everyday and not dissing or shaming the culture that many of us made fun of when we were younger?
  • Are you black everyday that after you have all those meetings and actually go over and review of what happened and how to make it better for the merrier?
  • Are you black everyday (talking to the men) whom don’t do the domestic violence thing, or dissing the health needs, dissing the black women in a ego sense, or financial concerns?
  • Are you black everyday, (talking to the women) who don’t diss all black men whom you think that they are dogs, ain’t all that like some thug, not being appreciated or loved, supportive, or not very extroverted like many of you, or who assumes that he has to make the same amount of cash, or whatever like many of you? As well as not dissing your needs of medical or finance?
  • Are we black everyday, and not hating on our educational values?
  • Are we black everyday and not hating on each other for clothes, money, what you don’t have, when forcing someone to speak, a certain game console, shoes, gadgets, food supply, or anything that is not worthy of being jealous?
  • Are we black everyday and fighting against racism, the gangs, prostitution,  etc?
  • Are we black everyday and do the Christian or religious related thing to things that matter and thinking it straight?
  • Are we black everyday and having a goal to have a better value of our history and future?
  • Are we black everyday and vote in every Election? Should have thought about that in November.
  • Are we black everyday like we supposed to be black everyday ? Just asking.

MASSIVE CALLOUT: We need to be real!

Oh and white folks: look, don’t ask the same tired question about when is a “White History Month” going to happen. Clearly you guys got every month locked in on the freaking calendar. Stop playing with yourselves!

Later on before the month is out, I’ll be doing a review of what was I think stood out in #BHM2017.

But for now: My #BHM2017 centerpiece is displayed on the table while staying in the struggle.

 


Well folks. The year of 2016 is closing up shop. Hope everyone had a great Holidays of celebrating Christmas, Hanukah, and Kwanzaa. The year of 2016 will be retired and to be put in the throwback archives for future generations to come. There has been alot of the Good, Bad, and essentially Ugly in this leap year of 2016. The year of the monkey will be back in the cage. As far as the issues: we know what they are.

It’s time, folks. It’s time for the Traditional Stephen’s Spot Annual Review of the 2016! So here we go.

The Good:

Most recently on December 27th, 2016: The Dow  hit 20,000 points. Under Obama’s watch.

The Affordable Care Act got new folks to sign up for the  insurance. Way before someone is about to takeover the White House.

A first for the Obama Crew: Cuba and the US are talking again, plus the Prime Minister of Japan visits the USS Arizona Memorial at Pearl Harbor for the very first time.

President Obama gives his State of Union Address for the last time.

The Chicago Cubs won something that they haven’t had in a loooooong while: a World Series Title.

The Cleveland Cavaliers won something that was long overdue: A NBA Championship.

For the NFL: Denver Broncos. Superbowl 50.

For the NCAA Men’s Basketball: Villanova beat North Carolina.

For the NCAA’s Women’s Basketball: Connecticut beat Syracuse.

For the 2016 Olympics: Team USA won more medals of 120+ and 1,000 gold medals. Oh, names like Simone Biles, Gabby Douglas, Michael Phelps (now retired), Simone Manuel, The USA Men’s Squad of Basketball and Women’s Squad of Basketball got the gold yet again, the events of Shooting for the females caught on with gold, a chance to see the US Fencing Squad winning silver and bronze, The Track and Field Women’s Squad hit the reset button and got into the Gold Medal Relays and WON the gold medal,  Shot Put was won gold by a Shot-Put diva named Michelle Carter. Plus US Rugby debuted. And even Wisconsin’s OWN Gwen Jorgensen winning GOLD!

Hamilton still rocks. Even the Mixtape rocks.

Again: Scandal, How To Get Away With Murder, Empire, The Haves and Haves Nots, If Loving You Is Wrong, and Blackish still dominates.

Underground on WGN: Strong Debut.

And yet, Modern Family continues to roll.

Yet again the Hallmark Christmas specials came back for another year.

Netflix brought back Voltron, but also gave us Luke Cage and Fuller House.

Roots was remade.

Harley And The Davidsons was on Discovery.

The Smithsonian National African American History Museum in Washington DC opens up to the public. And that was LONG OVERDUE!

WWE Raw and Smackdown brought back the brand extension, and of course, Goldberg and Shane McMahon.

Milestones in 2016: The USA celebrated 240 years of life. The Black Panthers, Star Trek, Kwanzaa, the Country Music Awards (featuring Beyoncé and Daddy Lessons)  and the Superbowl all celebrated 50 years. Pearl Harbor marked 75 years since 1941. Black History Month celebrated 90 years.

For us Gen X’ers, Transformers: The Movie turned 30. Learn it, Millennials.

Top Gun also turned 30 years old.

The Simpsons made a TV milestone: 600 episodes! And that 600th Show was a Halloween tradition of the Treehouse of Horror #27.

MTV turned 35 years old, and also launched a channel to play nothing but………..Classic Shows like The Real World.

The Rocky Horror Picture Show was revamped. Let’s do the Time Warp Again!

Macy’s (like the Milwaukee Holiday Parade and Tony Bennett’s Age)  Thanksgiving Day Parade turned 90 years.

Toward the end of the year: Dick Clark’s New Years Rockin Eve turned 45.

Nintendo made waves this year: First the company brought back the NES….The NES Classic.  And also the Nintendo Switch which will come out in March of 2017, via their video preview.

North of the Border: The CN tower also celebrated Black History Month (their 40th year)with the Red, the Black, the Green.

For the Movies (my only picks I should say):  

Barbershop: The Next Cut

Angry Birds Movie

The Magnificent Seven

Deadpool

Race

Suicide Squad

Almost Christmas

Ghostbusters

The Birth of the Nation

Office Christmas Party

and When The Bough Breaks, all came out this year.

 

When the BET Awards this year happened the most: The tribute to Prince, and Jesse Williams busted out his Humanitarian Speech. I’ll bet many were listening.

American Idol had it’s final season after 15 years, and the last winner was Trent Harmon.

AT&T and DirecTV have debuted DirecTV Now. Unleash the cord cutters.

For the United Methodist Church: the General Church Conference took place this year in Portland, Oregon. But also featured a Black Lives matter Protest. The United Methodist Church also was represented during the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia.

2016 was also a leap year.

For the music: Well not that much but I’ll take this here:

The Hamilton Mixtape – My Shot

Beyonce/Kendrick Lamar – Freedom

Alicia Keys –  In Common

Bruno Mars – 24k Magic

SATE – What did I do/Warrior

Mary J. Blige – Thick of It

Leela James – Don’t Want You Back

The Rolling Stones (YES THE STONES) – Commit A Crime/Just Your Fool

Eric Benet – Insane and Sunshine.

A Tribe Called Quest – We The People…..

Anderson.Paak- Come Down.

Drake- One Dance.

Bad Rabbits-How High.

Prince – 1000x’s and o’s.

Sharon Jones – Midnight Rider

Charles Bradley – Aint it a Sin

Well known to retire: Kobe Bryant, Charles Woodson, Tim Duncan, Peyton Manning, Kevin Garnett, David Ortiz, Alex Rodriguez, Michael Phelps, Ray Allen, Amar’e Stoudamire, Charles Tillman, Makayla Maroney, Kyla Ross. All hung up the jerseys and cleats and unis.

Protests at Standing Rock took place. #NoDAPL!

 
Straight Outta Wisconsin in a good way:

Mayor Tom Barrett, Jason Fields, Lena Taylor all retained and/or won their seats back in office. And yes, Congresswoman Gwen Moore is still the congresswoman.

My Alma Mater, The University of Wisconsin-Stout turned 125.

Several Milwaukeeans created designs of The People’s Flag, and well….here was the winner.

The Milwaukee Streetcar is still on point. To be continued until 2018.

Train maker Talgo made a comeback: in repairing trains in the same area where it was pulled out due to politics.

A Reality TV Show, Milwaukee Blacksmith was filmed here.

The Bublr Bikes still expanded.

The Northwestern Mutual Tower is nearly completed and is expected to open in 2017.

The Wisconsin Job Center had multiple units for jobs that were accessable to various neighnorhoods.

A revived Black Panthers Group debuted in Milwaukee. From protests to celebrating Kwanzaa. Actually called the Revolutionary Black Panther Party. And no, they are NOT A RACIST PARTY!

The Milwaukee Bucks new arena is in full swing of construction. To be continued until the 2017-2018 season.

Attention Black Milwaukeeans and Wisconsinites: We have Outdoor Afro in Milwaukee and Madison.

The Milwaukee Admirals moved out of the Bradley Center, into the UW-Milwaukee Panther Arena. (For you old heads, the Mecca Arena)

For the black radio stations in Milwaukee: WNOV 860 AM’s “The Forum” surpasses 1000 broadcasts in 4 years in November.

The Community Journal, a African American publication in the city celebrated a milestone of 40 years. Been around since the year I was born: 1976.

The Milwaukee Public Schools welcomed back the Alumni: An Alumni Class Reunion, Summit and Networking event all happened this year. All a first of its 170 years.Expect a handbook for the Alumni to get scholarhips, reunions, and other ideas in 2017.

Speaking of that: Milwaukee turned 170 years old this year.

My Alma Mater, John Marshall High School (or should they say Milwaukee Marshall High School) is 55 years old and the Morse*Marshall name is no more.

And speaking of that: MPS will have a new Calendar to work with next semester.

For the retirees in Milwaukee: Charlie Sykes retired from 620 WTMJ AM radio after 23 years. (Non fans rejoice!) Two of our Milwaukee television personalities: Vince Condella and Katrina Cravy of Fox 6 have also retired this year. Vince Condella worked for 33 years, and Katrina Cravy work for 18 years.

CBS 58 debuted their news coverages via Drones. Yes! Drones are in effect.

Fox 6’s own, Jenna Sachs is now doing Contact 6. Going after the scammers like Katrina Cravy and Tom Hooper.

Milestone: Speaking of Fox 6, it’s 60 years of broadcasting this year.

Our Milwaukee Holiday tradition of the Christmas Parade….er Holiday parade reached its 90th year.

In the response to the shootings of Orlando this past summer: The City of Milwaukee was featured with the LGBT flag at City Hall, and also on June 2nd several monuments and landmarks in Milwaukee were featured in Orange.

For the Milwaukee Bucks: Giannis Antetokounmpo signed a 4 year deal: A $100 million dollar contract to continue play for the team. Talk about own the future! Plus also signed Thon Maker.

For the Milwaukee Brewers: Eric Thames is in the Keg, and scouting young players to add for the crew to get the wins.

For the Green Bay Packers: In addition to signing Jared Cook at the Tight End position: still surprising the opponents. Ty Montgomery made waves as a Running Back,  Jordy Nelson got his groove back,  Aaron Rodgers is still a baaaaaaad man, Clay Matthews is still the Claymaker, Damarious Randall is getting his game on and of all players improved: Davante Adams! As of right now, the team is tied with Detroit at 9-6. But  previously:

Jacksonville: Win

Minnesota: Loss

Detroit: Won

Then after the Bye week:

Giants: Won

Cowboys: Loss

Bears: Won

Falcons, Titans, Redskins, and Colts: a four game loss

Eagles: Win

Texans: Win

Seahawks: Win

Bears: Win

Vikings: Win

And as usual: The Packers OWN December.  And the new monkier of “Run The Table” is a test thus far.

For the Wisconsin Badgers Football team: Say what you want, they are a good team. Making the record of 10-3 in the AP ranks/regular season. Winning back the Heartland Trophy, retaining the Freedom Trophy, and the Axe for the 13th time. Sorry, Minnesota. And beating LSU at Lambeau which looked good in Red and White.

The players from Bart Houston, Rob Wheelwright, Corey Clement, Leo Musso, Troy Fumilgali, Dare Ogumbawale, the Freshman takeover of Alex Hornibrook, and Bradrick Shaw doing the mix is rebuilding the structure of the Badger Crew.

During the election, Sen. Bernie Sanders bested Hillary Clinton, which Bernie won the state.

Our station Channel 18 has gone back being “Super”. As in Super 18.

 

The Bad in 2016

ISIS or ISIL was a problem. Either in person or online.

Funai rolls out the last of the VCR’s.

Nintendo rolls out the last of Wii U.

Racism happened again in 2016. Yes racism.

Fake Stories SUCKED! Ask Google and Facebook on that.

FBI Director James Comey goes after Hillary Clinton and those darn EMAILS!

The Legion of Police wanted to ban the “Bulletproof Black Lives Matter” shirts from Walmart’s website. Oh, the idiots!

Speaking of Walmart and Amazon: Like them, but give Run DMC their respect when it comes to BRANDING THEIR LOGOS!

Black Lives Matter still was a burning hole in those whom have the hate.

The 2016 Election had the worst turnout. Low Voter Turnout that is.

Baltimore had a shooting.

Hillary Clinton lost the Election and Donald Trump won the White House. Which left the Clinton Machine in stoppage.

Chicago’s murder rate as of this year by the numbers: 750+ Higher than LA or any other city.

Chicago’s Murder per capita: 3.8 (as in earlier in the year).

Donald Trump’s cabinet members will feature those who don’t have enough experience. Even if the name is Linda McMahon. Yes, Vinny Mac’s better half will be serving with Trump.

No he didn’t! BET Founder Robert Johnson believes that African-Americans should give Trump a chance.

 

Straight Outta Wisconsin in a bad way:

Lincoln Hills continued to be an eyesore of concern.

Milwaukee’s murder per capita: 4.0

Carjackings was so bezerk in Milwaukee.

Fighting in Mayfair Mall after Christmas: dumb.

Former Police Officer, Dominiquie Heegan-Brown shot Slyville Smith during the summer of 2016 and a pre lead the unrest in the Sherman Park area.

4 inmates die in a Milwaukee County Jail. Under the watch of Sheriff David Clarke.

Wisconsin is a “red state” because of Donald Trump’s win.

Sad news if you are a Russ Feingold fan: Ron Johnson still retained his seat. And other sad news: Paul Ryan and Reince Preibus are still hanging around.

As many know, that Wisconsin still remains a “worst state for black people.” Whereas Milwaukee still remains the most  “Segregated City” in the United States.

The problem with the Milwaukee water system with lead still remains a hot-button topic that must be addressed every time.

Hillary Clinton DIDN’T show up to Wisconsin to campaign when getting her second wind as trying to become President along with Tim Kaine.

The Wisconsin Badgers didn’t win the Big Ten Championship, after winning the B1G West Title.

Midtown Walmart in Milwaukee: closed. And all I bought was a Straight Outta Compton DVD and Oreo Cookies.

Flat out Ugly in 2016

Been to a Donald Trump Rally? ugly. Matter of fact it was the most ugliest rally that was produced and seen. Even fighting and taking away black folks.

Zika Virus happened.

Samsung discontinued one of their smartphones due to exploding concerns.

Flint Michigan and the water issues.

For you Brits: Brexit.

Michelle Obama was a target of those who called her “ape in heels.” Oh that was ugly!
Russia and the “Election hacks”.

A footage from 2005 on Access Hollywood, over hears the words: “Grab them by the P***y from whom? Donald Trump.

The rise of the Alt-Right. Oh yes, they’re on the spot.

Oh and that DL Hughley mama joke: that was way you guess it.

 

Ugly for Wisconsin:

140. The amount of homicides in Milwaukee in 2016.

Milwaukee had and still has ongoing effects of lead levels in the drinking water.

The Real UW: in which the University of Wisconsin Madison had an ugly side when it came to race. And the hidden stories of why it happens.

UW-Stout student Hussain Alnahdi was killed near the campus on the weekend during the Halloween holiday. A spoiler in the 125th Anniversary.

After the recounts in other states like Wisconsin, Donald Trump is still the victor.

 

We Say Their Names. Those whom left us. 2016 had this moniker of having no chill. Some of the famous fallen left and right.

Abe Vidgoda

Justice Antonin Scalia

Maurice White

George Kennedy

Denise Matthews (aka Vanity)

Nancy Reagan

Frank Sinatra, Jr.

Arnold Palmer

Trey Walker

Garry Shandling

Patty Duke

Merle Haggard

Will Smith (Football Player, New Orleans Saints)

Balls Mahoney

Doris Roberts

John Saunders

Joanie Lauer (aka Chyna)

Muhammad Ali

Lemmy Kilmister

Kimbo Slice

Pat Summit

Garry Marshall

Bill Nunn

Don Marshall

Janet Reno

Robert Vaughn

Ron Glass

John Glenn

Craig Sager

Zsa Zsa Gabor

Debbie Reynolds

Henry Heimlich

Ricky Harris

Florence Henderson

Carrie Fisher

Prince

Alan Thicke

Phife Dawg

Doug Banks

The victims of the Florida Nightclub Shootings.

The victims in Los Angeles shootings.

Thomas Mikal Ford (aka Tommy from “Martin”)

Aldon Sterling

Philando Castile

Gwen Ifill

David Bowie

George Michael

Gene Wilder

Here in Milwaukee, we also lost those who gave the city a voice, and a reminder:

Eric Von -known for being on WNOV, 1290 WMCS, and the health initiative of Brain, Brawn and Body. He was 58.

Slyville Smith – a 23 year old shooting victim that was killed in Milwaukee that also erupted portions of the city that was engulfed in flames.

Za’layia Jenkins was only 4 years old after a bullet struck her, while watching TV.
Colin Demge- well known DJ in the Riverwest Area, died at 33.

Jay Anderson, killed in Wauwatosa by a police officer, At 25 years old.

 

My highlights of the year

And as usual: I want to put on my 2016 moments. I feel a need to say this because I’m hoping to have a year of better opportunities. 2016 was a year of milestones for me in this order:

20- the amount of years that I am my Church’s techie. I started out running the church sound system in 1996, and worked up to taking photos, and social media. The proper name is Commutations Chairperson and I was awarded an appreciation award for what I still do!

10 – the amount of years that I celebrated as an alumnus of the University of Wisconsin-Stout. Plus serving as a Election Inspector for the City of Milwaukee. All since 2006.

5 – the half milestone that I served as a board member for the John Marshall High School Alumni Association. Since 2011.

And yes, I turned 40 on December 5th.

In addition: I was the Official Photographer for the 46th NCJ-BMCR Jurisdiction Meeting in Milwaukee. And had networking implications of course.

Plus adding on another board title for a scholarship committee here in Milwaukee.

Sidenote: Oh I didn’t noticed this but, I appreciate the 20,275 views on my blog. This is great, BUT: the “same old reading stuff” bubbles must be busted in 2017!  I will find a way to do it, or maybe not. We’ll see.


Oh for those of us whom of the Generation X, Y and Millennials whom are 18 and up to about 45, next week we like those many before us that have to make a decision: voting in a new administration for our country. Plus maybe activating or reactivating those whom want their seats back in the Senate, House, or others. No matter how we feel about the candidates or their stance, know this: WE NEED TO VOTE! No more hiding before the keyboards or being so called conscious about not voting period. The voting games maybe somewhat “rigged” but what are we doing to “unrig” it? Other than whining and complaining everything on Social Media or our cliques. Oh yes, I just went there.

To us voters between 18-45 years old:

It’s me, Stephen. You know that blogger you’ve noticed lately?

I haven’t written a blog letter in a minute, but I feel this is the blog letter that must be written. Our generation is in Crossroads mode.We see the signs of concern. Majority of us probably will and will not vote for a cluster of reasons. But look here: if you are not voting this Election Season towards the end of this year and write some stupid remark, then you must be dumb as hell. Do you realize that our future is on the line? Majority of us don’t have the caliber of our Baby Boomer and Greatest Generation counterparts who raised us to be where we are now. Yes, we have alot to be grateful for right now, but we must not overlook the playbooks that got us here in the first place. Many of us got great degrees, owing our stuff like clockwork. Nothing wrong with that. I see that everyday. But again, we didn’t get here on our own. Many of us know that we had folks whom acted wise and gave us butt whoppings acting up pushed us to a point where we want to be.

Had a chance to talk to my 70 year old mother today and we compared contrasts about why there are those of us who know about the assasinations of MLK and others in our history books, BUT NEVER LIVED IT! She highlighted that if it weren’t for Black people in Milwaukee years ago, there wouldn’t be black folks living near the Grand Aveune Mall or any other part of Wisconsin Avenue. And it seems that about the Millennials: the act of not acknowledging about the past before them and keeping it current is not right. If you are a Millennial and only will vote for the locals and not national is not a good idea. If you are a Gen Y that stated on Social Media that you will not vote: that is inexcusable! And if you a Gen Xer who would think that Daffy Duck, Casper the Ghost, Jesus Christ, Lion-O, Cobra Commander, Optimus Prime, Megatron, or Mickey Mouse would make the cut on your ballot, CLUELESS! That will get no play. NONE. And the thing is it’s like we don’t no part of this.

This also probably have ties to slavery in some ways that the way of thinking of back then, translates to now. Yeah I said it!  I know some of you probably don’t want to hear that, but guess what: It’s part of the painful truth like White Supremacy. And we in the black community know it.

Remember when Cory Booker talked about of the Gen X’ers  being on third base after all being drunk and happy like we don’t see the real reasons why we can’t have all this goodies that many of our folks fought hard to get! And I don’t give a care how educated we are. Yeah we got those degrees hanged up on our walls and offices. But many of US aren’t educated to give back to our Alumni functions for scholarships!  Hmmmmm…Oh you think I ruffled the feathers? I told the truth!

Many of us aren’t “educated enough” to go to the doctor, and yes ladies I know it’s “Movember” in which men have to be on our game when our health is on the line. But here’s my question, isn’t every month a Movember?! Whereas the every month is Aids, Cancer, Diabetes Prevention, Domestic Violence Awareness, Gun Violence Awareness, and any other Awareness on the calendar? Tell me I’m wrong! Not just men, but also women and children.

I need to see a “VOTING AWARENESS” Month. And it doesn’t matter whom is on the ballot, I just want to Vote Up!

I want to see a “CAREER AWARENESS” Month in which many of us whom are unemployed and underemployed that want to work and make a freaking LIVING! Many of us or some of us got that drive, but not actually executing it to the next level.

If we can have THOSE AWARENESS Months like Cancer, Men’s Health, Women’s Health, Childhood Health,  Bullying, Gun Violence Awareness and any other awareness that we put up each month, I want to see a Career Awareness and a Voting Awareness month. I suppose you guys like that, huh?

For voting: I think we’re just not engaged. I think the sign came at the top of the year that 2016 will be a “Hard Election” in which the main Administration of the Obamas will be going out in January 2017. And yes, every single hater on the planet will be waving that goodbye flag in a racist manner. President Barack Obama will be deeply missed that he wasn’t that bad after all. Maybe there were those that should have given him more credit of the work he did. Maybe those so-called fools who decided to go against all the calls that Obama did try to bring out should have worked. Even fully try to decide the best course for the Afforable Care Act. In which like Black Lives Matter is working. That’s right I said it!

What does it all mean, you ask? Well yes we’ve made some great strides, but the work IS STILL NOT DONE! That means we have to work hard, do our jobs everyday, give back, fight the forces of racism, sexism, shaming, and any other ISM that is on our target list. For us black folks, we have to always work twice as hard. That will never change no matter who is in office. Enough of us being all so-called conscious after looking at Hidden Colors. Enough of all the mess. Enough of the “I gotta go get my hair done than voting” talk. If we can stand in line to get that new IPhone or at the club looking at Lil’ Boosie, can we stand in line to vote on November 8th and EVERY SINGLE ELECTION DAY AFTER THAT?!

The elders will be leaving us soon and they have already solidified the future, but it’s mainly up to us to take care of the things we have to do to extend the life of groups, organizations, churches, your business connections, the schools, colleges, Alumni Associations, and others. It’s not just the next four years, it’s the four after that. And so on.

So: GenX, Gen Y and Millennials: STOP BEING SO F-ING LAZY! Stop this being that “this won’t effect me”. Oh it will. After Election Day is done, don’t even think about complaining on Facebook, your texing buddies, or any other connection that you weren’t the ones who went to the polls and didn’t cast a ballot. I’ve been voting for 20 years out of my life and I voted in boring elections, high elections, and elections I never really cared about. Plus when Obama was being elected for the first time. But I still voted regardless and I don’t have a complaint to do it!

So why in THE HELL are we tripping? STOP THE PAIN! STOP THE LAZINESS! And just put away all this mess that voting that won’t make it. It will make it, but you have to put in the WORK! I don’t care if you hate Hillary’s guts or like her ideas, or despise the effect of Donald Trump and what he recently said about nasty women, the disabled, getting the clues of turning back the clock with Jim Crow,  and the on going talk about the 1994 Crime Bill that BILL CLINTON put into effect way back. Hillary had nothing to do with that. Let’s be clear on this. Now add that to the radio or websites.

This is not a reality show, nor back in High School where you used to believe EVERYTHING! But in reality, when leaving High School and those rumors, will be addressed and debunked personally.

VOTE UP!

Sincerely,

Stephen

 

 


It’s a been a minute, but I’m back fresh and new with a Three Way Dance. For this, it’s all about the three things I’ve been reading about lately. As well as everyone else.

First: The saga of the kneeling, siting down during the National Anthem of Colin Kaepernick.

Yes, the same Colin Kaepernick whom was a dominate player when running the Pistol Plays with the 49ers, member of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity of the Divine 9, a guy that was beating the Green Bay Packers twice, and oh, here’s something: He was born in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. And grew up a Packers fan. Yes, Colin was a Packers Fan when Brett Favre was running the show. In the recent Preseason game between the Packers and the 49ers, there was a scene during the national anthem in which usually every stands during the playing of America’s Theme Song. However, there was only one player who did not stand, and that was Colin Kaepernick. Colin was sitting down during the anthem. And when that shot of him sitting down was shown on pics, oh guess what: You so-called Americans had to go in on him just because he didn’t stand up. Wow. Oh, when the Niners were in their next game, he kneeled. Another Niner player kneeled also. Plus one of the Seattle Seahawks, Jeremy Lane sat on the bench while the national anthem played on. Yes, as crazy as it seems, there are those who are using the sitting and kneeling thing to exercise their constitutional right to protest about the injustices about the effects of People of Color that goes on everyday.

Now let’s talk about Colin’s thing. He says and I quote: “I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses Black people and people of color. To me, this is bigger than football and it would be selfish on my part to look the other way. There are bodies in the street and people getting paid leave and getting away with murder.”

That was the lighting rod. Of course that many who heard that didn’t sit well with being “OVERLY PATRIOTIC” in a sense that yes it’s about the recoginition of our military who fought, served and died for our freedoms that we dance around like Pokemon Go fans in a park. I’m just kidding on the Pokemon thing!  Hey, if you like Pokemon Go, nothing against that. But what I’m saying is that the flag/anthem protest thing in athletes have been done before. Espeicially Black Athletes! Remember Mamoud Abdul-Rauf: Who was formally known as Chris Jackson before converting to Islam of the Denver Nuggets, yeah that guy. When he was with the team way back in the 90’s, he was standing during the anthem but was not looking at the flag. He was praying with his hands close to his face. And yes, there were folks were mad at him for the disrespect per se for the flag. Tommie Smith and John Carlos were famous for the Black Power Salute in 1968, but also got targeted because of their protest. Keep in mind also, that 1968 was also the year that Martin Luther King was assassinated. And segregation was still running amuck. So stuff like this is nothing new, but with those who are just now new, and being recent, you are getting a first hand education on why stuff like this happens and will appear in your textbooks. And yes, school is back.

When I was listening to the commentary about Colin Kaepernick here in Milwaukee, on the black radio stations via WNOV and other black related outlets, I’ve been hearing the callers pouring in their commentary about “Oh, Colin Kaepernick did it for all the black people in America!” “Colin Kaepernick was born in Milwaukee….” And many others. Folks in Milwaukee: I’ve mentioned this years ago when Colin was on scene with Pistol Plays, and making the Packers miss, and couldn’t win a freaking Super Bowl, what has Colin Kaepernick done for Milwaukee?  What has he done? What has Colin Kaepernick done for Wisconsin? Yes, Colin Kaepernick was born in Milwaukee, but NEVER CLAIMED Milwaukee as his home! Never! His family of course moved when he was young due to high school and college. But never claimed the city as home! The late great Gene Wilder, whom recently passed was born in Milwaukee, and went to one of my rival schools: Washington High School. And  yes there was a movie reference about Milwaukee in one of his films. What does it take to give back to Milwaukee you ask? Try volunteering in an area that you know VERY WELL in Milwaukee.  I don’t care about the schools or community centers you know because of your childhood or where you used to hang out in finding some dude /chick for a date. If you know that Church that you go to for volunteer work, or neighborhood or whatever thing you know well in Milwaukee to go to, THAT IS WHERE YOU START! You start that and build up. Real talk folks! Yes, I see the famous folks whom were Milwaukee born, raised somewhere else, but some of them do come back to give back. Eric Benet was here years ago to make an album in the same neighborbood that he grew up in Milwaukee. He even helped served food at a local McDonalds and that restaurant was jammed pack!  Tank, the R&B singer that you see on the show, Born Again Virgin on TVOne, he came back to a concert here in Milwaukee to perform. He was born here. Now I probably might in the future that I might get those “I’m sorry you were born in Milwaukee”quotes but I’m going to comment that later on in the third part of the story. But seriously folks, what has Colin Kaepernick did, was for himself. HIS constritutional right. Not for all in the black community in the country, per se!

The second dance card: The Truth of ITT Tech.

As many around  the country know, yes, school is back in session. But however, ITT Tech recently has been coming under fire about their educational concerns. The recent closing of ITT Tech around the country shocked many who have gotten started or continued with their majors is disappointing and will take their educational experience elsewhere. But I’m here to tell you that my experience began with ITT Tech, was in late 1994 when I was still a Senior at John Marshall High School. They came to the school in one of my English Classes, in talking about the classes and majors and they wanted to have some insight from the students at the time. Later on, I got a phone call from one of the recruiters from ITT, a black man if you will, to have to meet me at home for a well rounded interview with my parents. The interview went well, and also giving me an overview about ITT to have those connections with Archtietture, the Military, and many others. Later after that, the school picked me of course and I was selected to come to the school for a visit. To see the classrooms and labs. The ITT Tech thing seemed very interesting. And I got my financial aid thing set up and I had to take a test to have a fit per se in getting a spot on the campus.I flunked the first test, but passed it on the second try. After I graduated from Marshall in 1995, I had a short summer rest. Real short. When June 12th came, I started the classes right away. Yep! Sure did. I wish I had taken a year off to process my brain like Malia Obama is doing now. But in between the classes, I remember taking the Bus from 41st and Capitol to 63rd and Layton which was an hour ride listing to my CD player in all. The classes I remember were lectures and labs. Success in Learning, was one of the subjects was well known. Other classes of Drafting lectures and labs, were so-so Ok. But the harder stuff was seeing the Educational Serivces Area to see how much progress was made. Most of that, was not that great. There were times I stayed after class to catch up on classwork of the draft drawings to get the extra credits, but usually that wasn’t enough. And plus I got my first MLK Scholarship in January of 1996.

So in the summer of 1996, I withdrew from the school to go to the one Tech college I know: Milwaukee Area Technical College. When I got to the MATC Downtown Campus, I remember taking their asset tests to see where I would stand in getting that extra start. Here is the thing: I took the Basic Skills Courses for ONE Semester and passed them all. Plus also, I took the Accuplaer Test on Campus, passed that to get into the Printing and Electronic Publishing Program in 1997. And that transition of that was alot more simplified than ITT Tech. In 2004, way after I graduated from MATC in the Y2K,  I was already taking distance ed courses with UW-Stout. Plus when I was in one of the Teleconference Rooms before linking up with one of the classes at the time, there was talk about ITT Tech not being a good school. And I lend in my experience about what happened, MAINLY with Basic Entrance Qualifications that ITT didn’t have. One of my male UW-Stout classmates was at ITT one time, that in his experience, was his comment:  “ITT Tech is Full of Sh*t.” So we got one thing common on that. But yes that was my expereince that happened in 1995-1996 in Greenfield, Wisconsin.

Note to myself: I should have gone to MATC in 1995!

In the wake of the closing,  I need to ask: Should ITT Tech payback ALL THE MONEY that many were robbed of years ago? (No question is a dumb question) Especially those who withdrew years back? If anyone from ITT can read this, I WANT MY MONEY BACK! What ever was paid back then, I WANT BACK! Since you guys are closing up shop, give all the former students their free transcripts and a check. Even for those who didn’t graduate. Plus for those whom are in the struggle at ITT and having the closing of the school on you, my heartfelt sympathies. But just to let you know that your experience may have ended, but your Tech Colleges will take up the slack to help you out. For those in Milwaukee, go to MATC and finish your Associates. Or any WTCS 2 year school. If you were taking the classes for Bachelor’s Degree for ITT, I would transfer those credits to a University. Take it to any UW-School. Even UW-Stout! Yes, I said Stout. Take that! If I were you, I would consider either finishing your Education at MATC and/or a University. Manily at the University of Wisconsin whatever! It ain’t over, folks. You can begin again, but your journey is not yet broken!

Third dance on the card: The still ongoing saga of the Milwaukee Unrest.

As many of us in Milwaukee are trying to adjust to our daily lives of work, school and play, we are still dealing with the ongoing unrest that is a constant struggle we know. For all the REAL citizens whom are praying for the city from the outside, I speak as a citizen to say thank you. Keep praying for Milwaukee as well as any other city that is going through an Unrest Session that is against People of Color to go through.

First, I was reading a Op-Ed story from CNN about Milwaukee recently. But the thing was, it was coming from a former Milwaukee Journal Sentinel Journalist, Sarah Hoye. Many of us remember Sarah writing for the JS Columns way back, but what we didn’t know the most was her upbrining in the Sherman Park area. It was titled, “The Milwaukee You Don’t Know” and Sarah being the native born was on point. As I was reading her opiniion piece on the site, I was clearly amazed and shocked that she had to go through all that hate growing up. Not getting a date for the Prom or Homecoming. Being called a Nigg*r or Monkey while being hated on, and she also writes that there were those who told her that she couldn’t mount much to anything that she can accomplish and etc. Reminds me of my childhood when folks were telling me that I can’t do certain, or can’t comeback of a certain behavior problem. Isn’t that right Milwaukee Urban League’s Betty Speed and Manpower? After all, isn’t that part of Milwaukee’s problem with all the unrest of crabs in a bucket? Let’s be honest here: we still have that today! You still have black folks hating on black folks even if they were brought up in a household full of educators, and you look at a male member of the family thinking he aint sh*t. I don’t care who is reading this part, you might be that person that is doing it.And you sit behind a desk telling him this! And I’ve seen white folks do the same thing. Oh there will become a time that when your end comes, you may be BEGGING HIM to apologize or to admit of any wrong doing. Trust me, I’ve seen it and I’ve read about it. Just watch it! Later on in the article, Sarah highlights her opinion piece by these words, and I STRONGLY AGREE!

But here’s the thing: I am not sorry for being born and raised in Milwaukee.

Can anyone say “Praise the Lord!” Listen: I’ve heard folks say, I’m from the Chi, folks cheer. I’m from the MIA (or Miami), folks cheer. I’m from New York, the BK, Jersey, Philly in the house! I’m Straight outta LA or Compton, or Atlanta, and other city that folks will cheer for. Why is it that when Milwaukee is in the convo, folks had to bow their heads as being sorry?! What is this?

Am I sorry being from Milwaukee? HELL NO!

Am I sorry being born, raised, educated, worked in Milwaukee? HELL NO!

I am not sorry for being born here for any reason. Yes, Milwaukee may have punk haters who don’t give a two cents about your upbringing, like other cities in all. But there are those in Milwaukee that want to give you a chance! Even if you think you might scoot to the other cities, but there are those who will give you a chance, here! And it REALLY depends on who you know. Now some are probably are going to say, “Who in the hell in Milwaukee can help me?” Who?!

My question is: who in the hell that knows you very well in Milwaukee?

Who knows you, your family, your Alumni, your neighbors, your school where your kids play, your community center, your church, your local officer that comes by your neighborhood or church, your insurance person, your store owners, musicians, or others. Even a Funeral Director at a Funeral Home that also does communty work that YOU KNOW VERY WELL! That is what’s up. We got them here!

Even those who that volunteers or spends time tutoring your children after school, but again, it depends on who YOU KNOW! Even those who are finding jobs. Especially for city likes to take in those who have more experience than those who don’t. And those that want the skills to improve. Again it depends on who knows you! That is what it needs to figure out. Link with those who YOU KNOW that KNOWS YOU! Plain and Simple. Then from there, then you can connect with those you don’t know that expand.

Now getting back to the Unrest: I was watching a special on our local station, CBS 58 about the subject, “Milwaukee at a Crossroads”.  Before I get into the commentary, review this video from the September 7th, 2016 showing. No Commercials! It’s part 3 of the special that was aired this week.


<p><a href=”https://vimeo.com/181647676″>Milwaukee at a Crossroads Part 3</a> from <a href=”https://vimeo.com/user47145479″>CBS 58 News</a> on <a href=”https://vimeo.com”>Vimeo</a&gt;.</p>

 

The entire 1 hour special that was aired in no commericals, was centered around the subject of those losing their children and teens in gun violence in the past. The mother of the late Marcus Debak was on the special. Marcus was killed on a Milwaukee playground back in the mid 90’s. The mother knows the most, on how that a child like Marcus can be taken out with despair. The many other parents and Great-Aunts were sitting in the room with the pictures of their loved ones that they have lost. Everyone of them has a common story of how they were killed. Many of them believed that Guns weren’t the problem. It was the people behind the barrel that caused the problem. Most of us haven’t heard that in a while. And no, it was not about about having those right to bear arms things. And many of them had asked the same question about, how can something like this be stopped or preventable. I think it’s going to take an ongoing effort to have this to stop. We can create all the programs, the getting the church folks out, the jobs stuff all we want. Event the activisms. But WE NEED to stop running in circles in what we really want and just go get already!

As far as the orange fence around Sherman Park, I’m glad it’s down.  I can understand that Sheriff David Clarke had it up to increase the curfews or law and order. But it has been going on far enough. Personally, I think the County Executive had made the right call by removing it. Of course, it didn’t sit well with all wtih David Clarke, but when the judge made the ruling about the removal, that was it! Nothing more.

Milwaukee is still in progress. In order to complete this progress, the work must be done. It will take a long time, but still it must be done!

 

 

 

 

 


I was going to wait after the Olympics to blog again. But the reason for this, the Northside of Milwaukee was up in total anger with fires and tension. And to connect with social media for those of where to go and meetup and havoc. How stupid.

I had to break away from watching the Olympics in which was a historical performance, to see the ironic tension of looting, fires, deep tension and many other concerns that plagued this city. 44th and Auer is where the shootings started. A 23 year old was shot and killed in the view of the Milwaukee Police Department. And yes after that, all hell broke loose. And a weapon was stolen with 23 shots rang out. And bricks being thrown.

The hell that broke loose, also continued with bus shelters, and street lights near Sherman and Auer were damaged. The BP Gas Station in the same area where a protest happened a month ago: burned. Right near Sherman Park. Further blocks away, more fires happened at a Jet Beauty Store near 35th and Burleigh. Also a O’Reilly Auto Parts in the same area, engulfed in flames. Nearby, a BMO Harris Bank right near my old Middle School had smoke issues in the building . All of this many feel that the black community has not had no love. And the thing is, it’s a warning sign.

 

Now I know that many had to go in about Milwaukee in which like comparing this riot to a championship win. Or there are those who don’t care about the city and having this shrugging shoulders mixed with pinned up frustrating matters.For all those who think have the answers and are acting foolish, SIT DOWN and Shut up! Clearly those don’t have all the answers. I don’t give a care if you transplanted to Texas or Atlanta or the East Coast, or the West Coast or a well known international region, you’re living there now. But I’ll bet none of you never actually really care about this city known as Milwaukee!

If so, PROVE ME WRONG! Send a long distance donation to your old schools and charitable functions you left behind.

Many of you have this noting about “oh well that’s Milwaukee for you when the violence happens.” Really?! Is that what those think?  Seriously? All you have to do is go on Twitter, Facebook in all and with the negative remarks on the likes of CNN commenters saying “yeah tear down that stuff, you bunch of hoodlums!” If many of you so-called Americans say that, I consider that being unpatriotic! And many folks know it!

Now for those of us here in Milwaukee. Those of us who work, pay our taxes, contribute to our causes, we need to rise more. We need to rise up like a freaking phoenix. We can have the clergy coming out, the community leaders, the fraternity, the sorority, the employed, the unemployed, the underemployed,the neighbor that looks out, the neighborhood leaders, the hardcore activist, the conscious, the not so-conscious, the in between, the Introverted, Extroverted, Ambiverted, the Unsung Heroes, and many other categories: Rise like the Phoenix! It’s time to do it. For the police, firefighters, EMTs, your are in this as well! We pay our taxes, so your salary stays on point.

Just the other day, a day after all the burnings, I took a trip near the corner of Sherman and Burleigh and my reaction to the damage in person of the BP Gas Station was just shocked. The anger. The concern. And began to ask why this. Why would ANYONE like this would destroy a Gas Station?! Why? I went to my Nikon Camera and like everyone else, I snapped about several pictures that was like this:

SSP - PrayforMilwaukee5

 

And also, if many have not guessed it, a stream of cars on Sherman Boulevard going south and north was nearly jammed packed. The same with vehicles going East on Burleigh Street. Television Trucks of ABC7, WKOW, CNN and many others from the different parts of America came out to cover this tradgey that has sparked my home city’s unrest. Also, there folks preaching the word on Megaphones on both corners. Water was on sale on the corner where Sherman Park is along with individals giving away cupcakes and free hugs.

SSP - PrayforMilwaukee2

 

As I left the area, I driven North on 44th Street towards Auer Avenue, this was the area that the shooting began. And plus it was nearly jammed packed with cars and also residents and ministers as Salvation Army Chaplians.

The day after, I went further east to take pictures of the 7th District Milwaukee Police Station where it was roped off with Caution tape and boarded up. Also, the BMO Bank was boared up after it was struck by fire. A MetroPCS store was boared up after looting as well as a restaurant of KFC/Taco Bell was broken up with glass. Nearby an O’Reilly AutoParts store was destroyed by fire as well as a Jet Beauty Store not only looted, but also was destroyed by fire as well.

Ladies and Gentlemen of America, this was the experience that Milwaukee endured during that weekend of unrest. And like many others in the past, it was an unrest concern that never should have happened. The Sherman Park Neighborhood is a legendary neighborhood. I know so because my older sister and I used to reside in the area between the years 2000 and 2006. We resided on Grant Boulevard in a church parsonage in which was near Center Street. I used to catch the 22 MCTS bus to go either to work, school, shopping or church. Nearby, there was a barbershop where I used to go to get my haircuts. An organization called ASHA Family Services is in that area along with the Ritz Fish Market near the corner of 38th and Center, and it was and is owned by my family members. My old elementary school, 38th Street School, (now under the Milwaukee College Prep) is in that area. Washington High School, my high school’s rival is in the area. The homes in the area are almost legendary with years going back to about 100 years old. This is what I learned back then and understand now. Plus also, the Sherman Park Neighborhood is an active diverse neighborhood and still is. And plus I’m a northside born resident.

SSP - PrayforMilwaukee10

But I want to go back to this shooting. And I know that many are asking: what compelled this act of shooting that lead to this burning of several buildings, cars, houses, and others that had NOTHING TO DO WITH THIS MATTER?! We know already that Milwaukee is the well known factor of being the most hyper-segregated city in the United States. That is part of the things that goes mostly heard and widely examined in the entire state of Wisconsin. Many have this notion of leaving Milwaukee and go to places like Atlanta just to get away from the violence and racism. And also talking smack about the city in which they failed to help out. Oh trust me, we had a whole lotta folks have felt that way!  But many of us WHO ARE STILL HERE, are upholding our accountabilty of our taxes, our jobs, our way of life, and purpose of being more engaged to solve the problems of our well being. What we have expereinced here most recently, is nothing more what happened 49 years ago before I was born: when Milwaukee had the race riots of 1967 and the black community back then was going up in flames. That area is now called MLK Drive in Bronzeville. And the trauma of being in the predictament of the segregated climate still lingers even today. Not just in Milwaukee. But that same symptom also exist like racism in America’s DNA. I don’t give a crap where you are in America, that racism DNA has not gone away. Even after 240 years.

But in this era, the 23 year old Syville Smith, whom had a CCW Licence, and was armed with a stolen weapon from Waukesha, was shot to death. Nevermind the history of his life, or the crimes he may have done, his killer per se happens to appear as a officer of the Milwaukee Police Department. Many of us in Milwaukee looked at the person’s picture on Facebook. And according to a family member of the victim, it was known that they go way back to High School here in Milwaukee. Try Pulaski High School, and no disrespect to the Pulaski Rams in all. Plus W.E.B. Dubois High School in the Marshall Complex.

SSP - PrayforMilwaukee9

Other points, there are those around Milwaukee should have kept their mouths closed. One of them is Sheriff David Clarke. The reason being he kept hinting about the use of the National Guard to aid the Police Officers during the Unrest incidents. And in his own words having the gaul to blame the single mothers of Milwaukee for the incidents and and of course: Black Lives Matter. REALLY SHERIFF CLARKE?! He must be high on something to say that. And plus, Black Lives Matter or his words “Black Lies Matter” were not the reasons why some buildings in Milwaukee went up in flames. Sheriff Clarke already embarasses himself and Milwaukee County hanging out with the likes of Donald Trump. HOW DEPRESSING OF HIM! Yes he’s still the Sheriff, but in the next two years he and another guy, Scott Walker  MUST BE VOTED OUT! And part of the blame that Sheriff Clarke has his job is because of those in the Black Community voted up for him to have another  4 years. Why? Because he’s black. I think the Black Community needs to rethink their votes for Clarke. Speaking of Walker, dude had to come to a black church in Milwaukee not to far from the BP Gas Station. Let me remind Milwaukee one thing: Walker doesn’t give a da*n about Milwaukee! He doesn’t care about the Black Community, nor the needs. Remember the High Speed Rail Train that was BUILT in the Black Community? Go back to that. That was derailed by HIM due to one word: politics. Now he wants in to be supportive of the Black Community. Really Walker?! Oh please! And additional group of folks outside of the city, who don’t even in live in Milwaukee had the nerve to put the blame on President Barack Obama. Obama is not the blame for this! So stop it non-Milwaukeeans!

But of all of the folks who seemed to be in supportive the most of Milwaukee, is Mayor Tom Barrett. Call me crazy, but he is. Another is the still Wisconsin Senate Rep from the 4th District, Lena Taylor. Ashanti Hamilton, President of the Common Council, Alderman Russell Stamper II, and Alderwoman Chantia Lewis are just a few. The curfew in Milwaukee under 18 is in effect. Sherman Park closes at 6pm and roped off with orange. When it switches to the MPS Curfew starting September 1st that’s every night. And that was activated this past Sunday.

Speaking of Sunday, I was in church and during our “joys and concerns” we highlighted the concerns of the Unrest Issue. One of my millennial church members talked about the incident in which it was witnessed in person. She indicated that her younger brother was about 2 cars behind the shooter’s car going east on Burleigh near the Jet Beauty Store, and indicated that if one of those bullets hit him, he would have been gone. She also comforted an Police Officer near the Beauty Supply Store who was going though that high alertness of concern of another citizen. The last thing she said: God Bless You. And a tear was starting to roll on the Officer. I just had to tell you that because whenever I hear about church folks being all judgmental or acting hypocritical, NOT ALL OF THEM ARE LIKE THIS. And my church member is a single mother in her 20’s.And is a prayer warrior in my church under the United Methodist banner. Is she always like this? Just maybe you need to visit The New St. James Community Church UMC in Milwaukee and find out. And plus the setting of our church is in a County Park Pavilion on Milwaukee’s East Side. And the church is the first African-American United Methodist Church established in the city since 1949.

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Just today, the ATF was sprung into action to survey the damages. And it was announced that a reward of $10,000 for anyone who knew what happened and also those responsible for those alleged damages. For all you snitches in Milwaukee: FESS UP! Don’t go into Stop Snitching Mode like cowards back in the day. Whenever the Federal Government comes on the scene, it’s is a huge concern. The sticks got a whole wide larger than before. This is not a game! It’s real lives were and are still at stake!

Milwaukee is 170 years old. And in the 170 years it faced open gaps of unemployment, segregation, violence, arson, race riots, shootings, festivals going in and out (African World Festival) educational values questioned and answered, underemployment of applicants/jobs, and many other concerns and factors. However in the 170 years, Milwaukee remains a underestimated city that has some good in it. We can talk about Summerfest, the Art Museum, The Pabst Theater, Riverside Theater, the newly soon to be Lakefront Gateway Area, the soon to be Northwestern Mutual Tower, the other festivals that do go past Summerfest, Garfield Days, Juneteenth Day Parades, Bronzeville Arts, riding Bublr Bikes, and soon to be construction of the New Bucks Arena and the Streetcar.

Why has Milwaukee been like this?

It’s not Chicago, Atlanta, LA, San Francisco, Seattle, Texas, Florida, and other cities and states that mostly “knows” black folks. Milwaukee as medium-sized as it is, its well known for Harley-Davidson, MillerCoors, our County Parks, and past relations with being the Beer Capital of the World, Bowling Capital of the world at one time, or known in the past for shows like Happy Days and Laverne and Shirley. Oh, did I mention that The Blues Brothers, Public Enemies, and  Transformers were filmed here? Famous Americans like Bud Selig, Eric Benet, Al Jarreau, Gene Wilder, George Tillman Jr, Charlotte Rae, Speech, Tank were all born here. The Core DJ’s a well known DJ organization is known for DJ’s around the world, but it was started in Milwaukee. Wrestling has a history here. From AWA of Da’ Crusher, to the birth of Austin 3:16. And also currently in the WWE, Austin Aries is a born resident.

Milwaukee does have a Urban Scene that is so underground that is hard to get airplay on a V100, a Jammin 98.3, KISS FM, and others. Also Milwaukee does have some support of it’s genre of Hip Hop, but the fans say that the City has haters because the lack of support. However, not all Milwaukeeans don’t listen to rap music! Some listen to Polka or other genres. But every ethnic group has their own thing.Well known here: Ray Nitti, Rusty P’s, Charles Walker Band, Element, and Coo Coo Cal just to name a few.

For radio, we know WTMJ. But I know 1290 when it was the talk of the town. WNOV as many know us the lone wolf of black radio that many folks still listen to. Plus also there are podcasts, and other radio stations like WUWM that is well known for based on UW-Milwaukee.

Milwaukee to me is misunderstood. Very misunderstood. Our education system isn’t that bad. The Milwaukee Public Schools is legendary around here and it’s the same age as the city.I am a product to call myself an MPS Alum because of the schools of 38th Street School, Jackie Robinson Middle School and John Marshall High School.Not only that, I come from a line of educators that taught in MPS in my family!  Some of our famous folks are MPS Alums also. Our Colleges of the Milwaukee Area Technical College, Mount Mary, Marquette University, the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee are fully known educational institutions. I’m a product of the Milwaukee Area Technical College which I got an Associates Degree in the year 2000. The program was Printing and Electronic Publishing in which I got my hands dirty in Bindery and Offset Press.

Part of Milwaukee’s history was the tanneries. Pfister and Vogel, Albert & Trostels should ring a bell. And some of our family members used to have those good paying jobs growing up! Now the tanneries are gone, and mostly the Health Care fields are in exchange, with retail, customer service, and some manufacturing are left. Printing was also huge here. It’s still exists under the digital level, but not really enough as it once was.

Milwaukee has some strong programs here that many recognize like the Running Rebels, True Skool, and mostly now known is getting recognition: We Got This. Also part of the strong programs, does have a direct connection with local churches, community counterparts, some well known companies, and neighborhood block watch organizations.

But all in all, like any other city, Milwaukee is not alone with problems. And with the issue of this recent shooting of Syville Smith is not a stranger of gun violence period.

 

 


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I know that the DNC and the RNC had their Conventions, but guess what: It’s time to talk about what’s up in Milwaukee: In relation to the first MPS Alumni Summit.

Coming off the heels of the first All-Alumni Reunion, the summit was gathered at Bradley Tech High School on July 22nd, and yes: IDEAS were flowed about how can we the MPS Alumni can combine our forces to be one voice and one experience to give our ears, our EXPERIENCED ALUMNI EARS to give out to the current district of our schools. I know I’m a Marshall guy. But others were King, Hamiltion, Tech, Vincent, Lincoln High School, South Division, West Division (or Milwaukee High School for the Arts), and many others all under the MPS Alumni Umbrella.

This Summit was all about our Alumni Associations. Our Alumni Groups. Us being combined with many talents, ideas, truthful comments, and a host of collaborative ideas to remain ACTIVELY INVOLVED! – You will see this again towards the end.

When we gathered at Bradley Tech’s Entrance way, we were greeted by members of the Milwaukee Public Schools. They directed us to check in which we were given packets with information about volunteering, upcoming events, an overview how the 2015-16 provided the successes of the academic performances, an overview of Universal Drivers Education, a program that was missing from MPS for a while, is now making a comeback into the high schools. Plus an overview of what Milwaukee Public Schools is doing now to improve the outcomes of students: from White House Turnaround Arts, Community Schools, Partnership Schools, Trauma Sensitive Schools, College and Readiness, and M3 – Collaborating with MPS, Milwaukee Area Technical College and the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.

However: that was just the first wave of info. We were later divided into groups and were in discussing about the experiences of our Alma Maters. We talked about various experiences of Alumni Associations being an influence and a liaison. We also talked about why those in the Alumni don’t always contribute or gain interests in joining the Alumni Associations. From the lack of interest, to not revealing so much about the past. Even breaking the ice of the saying “Alumni Associations are for old people” commentary. REALLY?! One of the directors, of the committee is a 1997 HS Graduate of the Milwaukee Public Schools and currently active with Milwaukee Public Schools’ Central Services areas. Plus also many might realize that Alumni Groups are in need of the young folks. Those whom are late 80’s – 00’s that are alive and active. We also learned that there were commentary about not enough knowledge about Alumni Associations in terms of not hearing of one, not being knowledgeable about their purpose. Some of us commented about haven’t got started on joining Alumni Associations due to job starts or raising families. Many of us joined Alumni Associations well after 15 -20 years after graduating from High School. Me for example, I joined the John Marshall High School Alumni Association as a board member in 2011 which was about 16 years after my 1995 graduation. We also talked about collaborating with other high schools in the district. As many know here in Milwaukee, Rufus King and Riverside for example have Alumni Competitions in Flag Football, and year after they compete in raising scholarships and charitable causes. With other schools, Bradley Tech has the Turkey Bowl Alumni Classic on Thanksgiving Weekend and usually other schools of Bay View, King, Hamilton, and Riverside all compete under sportsmanship. Plus also, besides the trophy, it’s also about the value of education to the current students, with scholarships and career opportunities.

Also in the first part, we talked about that ALL Schools should have an All-Alumni Reunions every year. This needs to happen. For example: Rufus King has their annual Alumfest on the school grounds each year during late July. Bradley Tech has an All School Cookout and they have been doing it since early 80’s. There was two points that Marshall had an All-Alumni event in which the school celebrated 50 years in 2011. Plus along with the Soccer Game which was organized by a former Marshall High School Coach, the school also had a mini open house in which brought back some Eagles Alumni to view the merchandise and the soccer game as well. Even though there were some of the interests that was successful, but many should have came out or donated to the school for fundraisers. We also talked about the naming of the schools. In keeping the names of the schools to have that connection on the Alumni level. For example: this portrays about in one school in particular, my Alma Mater, John Marshall High School. Just recently the school got it’s original name back.

But what took to long get it going again?

Back around 2011 as most know, I blogged about the name of Samuel Morse*John Marshall School for the Gifted and Talented. Why was it again? Two things – Low Enrollment and also MPS was viewing the Gifted and Talented Program on the Middle School level in which everyone know that Morse was known for, but there was not one on the High School Level. Henceforth, that’s how Morse was fed into Marshall based on the Gifted and Talented program. And the school was going back to it’s 6-12 Grade roots. Just as a reminder who don’t know, Marshall started out as a 6-12 grade school, or a Middle and High School that was established in 1961. Furthermore, according to the history, the thought of Marshall being a Middle School/High School goes back to 1929, when then MPS Superindent Harold S. Vincent was in charge of the school district. Yes, the same Harold S. Vincent that has a school in his honor of Vincent High School here in Milwaukee. The school was placed on a land once owned by the Archdioces of Milwaukee at the time in which it was vacant space. There was no Dominos, no Citgo, no Wendy’s, not even a Mautz Paint Store that was placed. The School itself was state of the art, and once had over 3,000 students enrolled. Even some of the students had to go to the 65th Street School (now the Milwaukee Envriomental Sciences Academy) just across Capitol Drive.

Marshall has gone through it’s naming transformation over the course of the 55 years. It started out with “John Marshall Junior-Senior High School”.  Then around in the early 1980’s, it became “John Marshall Senior High School”. Around the Mid 80’s to the late 90’s, it was “John Marshall High School”. For the early 2000’s, the name and the school was split in three sections with W.E.B. Dubois High School, The Milwaukee Academy of Aviation and Technology or MAAT. Which the building was named “John Marshall Campus”. Thank former MPS Superintendent William Anderkopolus, a Marshall Grad for that. And most recently between 2010 and 2016, “Samuel Morse*John Marshall School for the Gifted and Talented”. Yes, John Marshall has been on the building for 55 years. The Gifted and Talented thing with Morse really had worked. The enrollment was building, the academic of Project Lead the Way, STEM, and many others really clicked. It was budding.

A point for the Alumni was asked in a sense from the staff, regarding the Alumni Association. I remember one of the former board members getting word in a question that asked “The Alumni Association: All they do is come to graduations thanking the graduates, with speeches and having their pictures on the wall. What have the done for us?!”

Ooooh! We were called out.

The Alumni Association had been called out and woken up by the then Morse*Marshall staff. They wanted to see us. They wanted to talk to us. They called us out. For the record, we visited their open houses, their Homecoming Games, Basketball Games, Marched on parade, visited their art galleries, musicals, and partake in their concerts of Winter and Spring. Even represented at their Graduation Ceremonies. So yes, we were “called out” and responded. And supported the students of their gifts and talents. Around last summer, there a flyer going around in regarding the “Morse” side of “Morse*Marshall”.  Early on,  I was approached by a former Parent Coordinator that MPS might pull the Morse Students out of Marshall sometime in the 2015-16 School Semester. I asked is the school going back to the 9th – 12th Grade, and the answer was yes. Later on in the year, the notice was approached to the Alumni Association in regarding a public meeting at the old Burroughs Middle School. Some representatives from MPS showed up at the meeting and talked about the pros and cons of Morse. There was some positive pointers, but the negative pointers of the stats and data was a concern. A concern that had to be examined based on academics and overall performance. One of the parents in the Public Meeting that her children wanted the “Middle School Experience”, in which she wanted a stand alone Middle School. Just 6th – 8th Grade. The data and notes of the meeting were later passed on to the district board for review. Last October, MPS reviewed the notes of the meeting, and it was approved that the district will move the Middle School of Morse out of Marshall to the Burroughs Middle School Building in the 2016-17 year, while Marshall will grow as once again as a 9th – 12th Grade High School. My Alma Mater will also reopen some classrooms and get new textbooks just to name a few upgrades. Later on, the school got another visit from MPS, this time from the Alumni Student Engagement area. Plus this was with the Alumni Association. One of the highlighted reasons I got from meeting was a new way to help strengthen the Alumni through their schools. And the featured part of the meeting what I got out of was the name of “Morse*Marshall”. Personally there was a disconnect between the name of Morse and Marshall. And partially it was due to the identity of the school. Many of feedback, partially from the Alumni wanted the school’s name to return to John Marshall to have that connection not only of the school’s history, but also with connection with the Alumni. When the school name of “Morse*Marshall” came out, not many in the Alumni was not too pleased with it. NOT MANY!  Majority wanted the old name back to reconnect as in once again a sense of identity that many know.

Furthermore, as of now, a new school year is coming, and the name of “John Marshall High School For the Gifted and Talented” is coming to open another chapter in the school’s history. I shared this link on Facebook on my private page, and later on two Milwaukee Marshall Alumni related group pages, and the results HAVE EXPLODED! And currently the word is spreading. So for you Marshall Alumni that wanted the name back, you got it! But I asked this question: Should we back this up? And make it stick? This portion of the news just came in time before the MPS Alumni Summit.

Other parts from the first meeting came about with some ideas to flow to all MPS Alumni:

  • Discussions about Go Fund Me, a page that could use in assisting in fundraising, etc.
  • Questions that might arise of “How can I help” Mixed also with being proactive.

Highlights of three versions of Small groups – These are the small groups that are very common as we know:

  1. Gung Ho – Those whom are always doing the work. Mostly the grunts.
  2. Actively involved or still involved
  3. Waiting List – those who waiting to assist or work with Alumni Associations.

Suggestive Ideas. And all should know:

Again: Have All School reunions every year. Host them during a week or month. Mostly during the summer months as an example.  (King Alumfest, Tech Annual Cookout every summer)

Help marketing to gain interests.

Have highly motivated people.

Help the system/help the school.

Use parent engagement.

Have 2 schools to collaborate: (i.e. – Marshall/Washington)An example raised about the Alumni Games of King and Riverside.

MPS Mentoring Program – Mentoring students while in school. Keep track on their progress, goals, objectives, etc.

Have businesses/trade colleges fairs and career fairs in the schools. This would be excellent for the Alumni to collaborate.

 

The second part of the meeting was more of what could be about our ideas to reach out as a MPS Alumni Member. One the things I said in the part of the meeting was these two words: “Actively Involved.” That is what EVERY MPS ALUMNI Member must do to be paying attention of what’s going on in our Alma Maters. Mainly some just come for party and glory which is fine, but many of us want to work! That should send signals to those that we want this to happen.

Reach out to businesses – mainly around the schools. Many of the businesses that the schools know, should support. For example, if a small business or well know business knows Marshall High School or Washington High School very well, that business needs to be reached out. This is where sponsors and support needs to happen! The same for those whom are well known Alums that work for a business that the schools really need to reach out.

Adopt a school. Some alumni can get together and form a group to adopt a school in the district. It could be a Elementary, Middle, or High School.

Identify the products of MPS: Add High School and year on business cards. (As in with Colleges and Universities) EVERY ALUMNI NEEDS TO DO THIS! Even though its not wanted, but still everyone in the MPS ALUMNI needs to add the their MPS ALUMNI to help connect and advertise. As an example: Milwaukee Public Schools Alumni: 1995; Milwaukee Area Technical College Alumni: 2000; University of Wisconsin-Stout Alumni: 2006. And matter of fact, that needs to be added on LinkedIn. Just saying.

Put a “good news” newsletter for the MPS Alumni Hub. Over the course of the year, we hear about all the scandals of Milwaukee Public Schools. Fights, suspensions, bringing a gun, racism etc. No matter the scandal, it seems to say “NO MPS FOR MY CHILD!” Or “Oh, it’s a fight at Marshall with all the gangs, or Bradley Tech got some word of N*GGER on the front of a locker”. “Or Riverside High School had some crazy fights on Facebook Live or Periscope. And Vincent joined in with King.”

Stop me if you heard this before. Why is it that when stuff like this happens it’s bad for the district and everyone goes hysterical about one MPS Fight strikes everyone to fear?! We ALUMNI need to talk about the good side of MPS, and what we the ALUMNI need to talk about that is positive, uplifting, inspiring, and a good opening reach to get us going for our kids that are currently in MPS and doing great things.

Speaking of that, I kept scratching my head on this, and it’s for us music folks. I know that MPS has an Alumni Choir, is there space for making an MPS Alumni Band? Think about it, MPS! An Alumni Band with horns, keyboards, drummers, guitar players, a DJ if you mind that can play instrumental music. And the idea can be formed with those who want to play for concerts with the Alumni Choir, have you Alma Mater Colors in full force, and even play at the MPS Music Festival. Or Summerfest. THINK ABOUT IT! Even an MPS Alumni Orchestra needs to be formed. I’m just saying. Who’s in?

And the last point: Strengthen all of our schools. All of our neighborhood, charter, special, and many other schools in Milwaukee Public Schools need to have strength to carry on. Never forget, we have to do this for the kids. We Alums had our day way back when, and yet we need to have that power to support. For many years, it was the parents, tax payers, staff, and neighborhoods that stood up. Now adding the Alumni to the mix is really going to generate new ideas to thrive. Think about this: many tax payers, educators, business owner, worker, parent, veteran, ambassador, or other title might have gone on to better things, but MANY started at Milwaukee Public Schools, and this would be a great time to support this new energy!

The last part of the Summit was more like a summary. In which what was discussed and what was learned. I think part of my summary was described above when I said the words “ACTIVELY INVOLVED”. That is what we need to do as MPS ALUMNI the most. I mean already we got the tools and talents. We need to put them to work.

Also, for anyone is a MPS Alumni Member, a website on the website has been created for us who want to be further engaged. The Milwaukee Public Schools has created the MPS Alumni Hub  for us Alums who want to know about any upcoming events, news, reunions, activities and many other we can keep track. There is a sign up sheet online in which you can register and the info will be delivered to your inbox. And for the record, this new areas of Alumni and Student Engagement been active since last September. And it took off since.

Overall, I’ve gained some insight about this. And I’m glad that I got the chance to get this info. What I have learned that we Alums can be valuable in the district based on what we do. I think also the idea of creating an Alumni Hub or an Alumni Area per se, is not to forget about us. But also realize that there is more we can gain. Of course we got our schools to upkeep, but combined with our stenghts and ideas, we can say that we are so MPS PROUD!

So MPS Alumni, its time to be real, be legit, and be giving. Our ideas must work to gain new ideas and to continue to spread “NEW ENERGY!” in the district that many of us grew out.

Oh, ask the MPS Alumni Office for a MPS Alumni pin to add to your collection!

 


The time has come: Class of 2016 you are about to go to that next world that many of you have been dreaming of. And yes, for some of you, many of you will be making that mark so badly. I know this. But guess what, before you or some of you will walk across that stage: Just know that many or some will or will not have your back. But also, as newly fresh grads as you are, it’s time to claim “your Sweet 16” in a way that is known: your opportunity. So here is for the newly grad class of 2016: your blog letter.

Dear Class of 2016:

It’s me Stephen. You know, that black blogger guy from a city like Milwaukee.

Congrats to you! Many of you have finally made to the final level about to be graduates and soon to be, Alumni Members of the schools that you have to give back to.

I’m assuming that many of you will be getting your plans together . The same ol’ “after college” plan that will be asking you even after you get your degree. You know what they are. However it is something that is going to be asked of you every day just to keep in mind. Just a sidenote to you High School Grads making the next level: you’re in this too! No matter if your next level involves College or the Armed Forces.

But yes, it’s your time to be recognized. It’s your time to be appreciated of the four, sometimes 5, or 6 years of work that you put into. No matter if it was High School, College or University, you made your stamp on history! And no one can never take that away from you. NOBODY! Defend your degrees. And also, there will be folks will might say, “So you think you’re so fresh or better than me just because you got a degree from some school!” Just a word of warning. But don’t let some goober with a half-pint brain never tell you any different. Many of you had to go through hell, fire, and brimstone just to get to the commencement. Some of you, who had to drop out years ago, for some other reasons, probably made the journey back to finish and get your degree! Some of you whom had served in the military, came back or entered college to finish the goal that was previously started. Many of you who are 1st gen, 2nd gen, or 3rd gen who are from various backgrounds of historical accomplishments in family education, are adding something new to the trophy case. And some of you, (kind of myself) are graduating just to prove a point to belong or actually proving some goobers wrong with all the negativity that was swirled around with bad unethical thoughts who are now just eating crow. That happened to me 10 years ago this month graduating from UW-Stout. Graduating in the area of Industrial Management and used Distance Education to do it. Don’t front old school trads!And by the way, 2006 still rocks! I should also point out, that you might inspire someone from the audience that watched you walk with your class to go and work on their future degrees to get. I’ve seen it happen and it worked.

But in all seriousness, you have your power. Just use it. Not just for you, for those who got you to the dance. Just like President Obama said at Howard University, the very same Howard that Diddy said his address, he spoke about: “be confident in your blackness”. Since Howard is a HBCU, why not he spoke to that notion. And of course the Obama haters via Fox News had to say something dumb. But yes, the President was on point when  he said be bold in your blackness. I know that yes, the College has other folks walking the Yard, but in that speech, I knew whom he was talking to. Sort of like what Jamie Foxx said on the BET Awards years ago when he said “This is for all the Black People! ” Not racist! Understand that.

Now I need direct my attention to the jack off idiots whom are “Soft Administrators” and idiots who feel that high school seniors who got Valedictorian status and many other status that many will not obtain.

CALLOUT: Louisiana: I’m calling your non gotee facial rules what it is. Flat out BS!

CALLOUT: And to the school district who wouldn’t allow a senior to walk across the stage with her class all because she said some poem with the N word printed. You have jumped the gun, but obviously failed to realize that this could be a warning that she might go through once leaving the school. Matter of fact this happened to a white kid at my High School 10 years ago, but the dude almost didn’t graduate because the truth he wrote on MySpace about the crime and concerns of Milwaukee. Um hello! The date was 06-06-06. No kidding. And were still taking about it 10 years later with the crimes taking place now.

*Just a sidenote, that senior who almost got yanked for not walking with her class, has now graduated.

And the last thing, why would any school administrators would take away a black dudes chance of graduating, and having on a Kente Cloth?! As in representing the black culture?! Really?!

Man, some of our school administrators in the schools are so soft! I’m sorry. As a Alum I feel disgusted by which these silly rules are being enforced by the schools to not allow our Black children to participate in the event they worked hard for. And I also blame these scared racist voters whom feel afraid or anguish against black folks trying to make to grad day. And I’ll bet those same folks whom are stuck on stupid with not making it themselves. Watch your back, 2016 grads! Keep making the haters mad by doing your thing. Sooner or later they will realize that your success will turn heads and crack skulls! Trust me! And watch overtime how they disappear. Knowing the thought, some might even be kissing your butt for a spot on the job line. And I know many of you are VOTERS! If you didn’t like to be yanked from your Graduation spot because of facial hair, a poem that reflected the truth, or having a Kente Cloth on your graduation gown, THEN YOU MUST VOTE to change the game! Let your Administrators, or Council Members, or Mayors, or School Superintendents know that this matter does not sit well and yes you have a right to complain. These person(s) work for you, and you have a right to hold them accountable of what they do. If they don’t work for you, as in progress, VOTE THEM OUT! Or matter of fact, you can challenge their seats to compete for their jobs!  And if you’re not yet a voter, it’s time to become one.

Well Class of 2016, you’re Alums now. And every single year, I come on here to tell you that your old High Schools and Colleges/Universities need your help in support the future causes. I urge all of you (even though most of you are younger than me) to join your school’s Alumni Associations. Donate to your alma mater by donating some of your time and effort to support this life long cause. I know many of you are getting some of those Grad Dollars of checks or cash from your mama and them. I mentioned this 2 years ago, why not donate some of your grad cash to your alma maters to support a lab, library materials, or new gym lockers, new computers, or donate to the arts that need new instruments, or just donate some cash to help a new cause to your old school like mixers or metro area alumni groups, or future Alumni Chapters. Even start a subgroup Alumni Chapter like African-American Alumni Chapters or Black Alumni Chapters  and alike. I know one school needs one! And also, you can go to your reunions or meetups. Even serve on Alumni Board of Directors to read scholarship essays, select future speakers,  fix up your old classroom/dorm or go to a homecoming game, and maybe as a idea: you might be called to speak at your old high school or college at a future commencement ceremony! Better get cracking on the donations, philanthropic needs and JOBS now!

And yes you can still buy that swag of stuff!

Class of 2016: take a freaking bow! The celebration has been summarized and concluded. Time to get to work.

 

Sincerely,

Stephen

 

 


Guess what? I’m back. Had to take a blogging break. But just in time before Mother’s Day. Now for every mother in the building have a great Mother’s Day. But before that happens, I’m about to scratch my head again of the most recent events.

If all lives really matter, again what is up with the still hate of Black Citizens?

I heard that a member of the US Navy passed. And I’ll bet many have to bust out saying “I’ll honor him than some Entertainment dude.” Really?!

Still can’t stand the hypocrites in church huh? Do those have hypocrites in the workplaces also? I’ll wait. Especially if you are on Facebook or Instagram talking comments.

I’m still trying to wrap my head around “fat shaming”. Like it’s a new phrase. Have we always been fat shaming folks? Stop me if you hear “yo mama is so fat”…. Hello?

Note to Adele: we know the love, but you know that Beyonce is not Jesus Christ, right?

So Donald Trump is the main Republican Representative. What’s the move Democrats? Hillary or Bernie?

It’s stupid. Those that hated Prince for years are now liking him. Like Michael and Whitney, where was the likes when they were alive?

Is Milwaukee ready for the new reincarnation of getting things done?

Now since the spring election is over in Milwaukee, can I please ask why former Alderman Joe Davis had to endorse Bob Donovan?!

“We built this city.” Why that for an Milwaukee Election?

On the radio in Black Milwaukee: Wheaton Franciscan has a 30 second radio spot: “Get a Doc”. All jazzy in the background. My question is to say does everyone really know?

Is America really that great, that can be great again?

I see those I love Mom pics. Will the I love Dad pics show up for Father’s Day?

Man listen: why do folks hate birthdays being celebrated?

So Scott Walker wants us Wisconsin folks to take a drug test while collecting unemployment. Are you the “not going to vote” folks that blind?

Class of 2016: are you ready?

Dang what is up with these folks still trying to get folks hooked up in the wrong places?!

Can the Singles have a day or Month without all the marriage hassle?

Can Milwaukee have real meaningful jobs like of Chicago, DC, New York, LA, San Francisco, Silicon Valley, NASA, or Facebook?

Is Big Mama still alive? Or has this Generation killed her?

Should all Universities have African-American Alumni groups?

No offense, but why is Mother’s Day is slightly higher than Father’s Day?

Is the workplaces as well as highly Extroverted groups ready for Introverts?

We know the Milwaukee Streetcar is coming. Yes! Can the state at least review why the high speed rail really was scrapped again? Hint: Racism was in play.

One last thing: Why are folks calling this racist? Seriously?

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Let me just have one comment on this. For all of those so-called patriotic Americans who feel that there is no Racism or “All Lives Matter” or feel that when Black Folks are celebrated, they get mad and protest after feeling offended by black fists in the air? I had a cousin that was a Vietnam Veteran and he had a fist in the air! He is deceased now. But look: with all due respect to the uniform regulations which I understand, but this is not politics West Point! And I speak as a son of a West Point Graduate that went into the Army and served in the Vietnam War! Don’t play me!

Other than that, enjoy your day Mothers.


It’s been awhile since the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel had anything fun and nostalgic since the Green Sheet left us in 1994. Yes, I’ll admit, I was a fanatic of the Journal’s Green Journal of fun things of puzzles and horoscopes. But on Memorial Day when many of us were paying respects to those who have lost their lives in battle for the country, an old school favorite of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel had returned. No it wasn’t the ghost of Solomon Juneau from the old Milwaukee Sentinel! It was a sheet. A Green Sheet.

For those who don’t know the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel’s Green Sheet started in 1927 by the editor of the time Larry Lawrence. He started to edit the section from it’s (according to the Article) scandal-seeking ways to the then, and “family friendly fare.” In which you read about the horoscopes, the Dear Abby Advice Columns, and many many others. It was a nostalgic feel of those things that you see every week Monday through Saturday. However, as I indicated, the Journal discontinued the Green Sheet back in 1994, and at that time, I was still in my third year in High School. Years went by of course and many others who were long time fans of the paper wanted it back so badly. Well that wish, and those proposals were on the table and it’s complete. For the first time in 21 years, the JS brought back the old Green Sheet Classic with new twists for this era of blogs, smart-phones, websites, social media, and the era First black President. (Yeah I said it!) Expect the Green Sheet to feature alot of Throwback Thursdays. ALOT of them! 

Many of us in Milwaukee who are between the Baby-Boomers and Generation X/Y we remember the Green Sheet Biblically! Many of you probably got that on your Facebook Time pages of Alumni, Classics or many others that you want to informed about the classic resurrecting. But for me, as a member of Generation X, this picture below is so linked to me. Very much linked!

Courtesy of the Milwaukee Journal. 1993.

Source: Courtesy of the Milwaukee Journal’s The Green Sheet. 1993. 

This picture was taken back by the then Milwaukee Journal in 1993 when I was still a student at John Marshall High School. We were practicing for a halftime show appearance (on our part) with the Special Education Students. The event that was held in the month of October was for the Very Special Arts. This halftime show was for the special ed students that had the opportunity to perform the show along with other bands, and especially: The UW-Band. And yes, I had the chance to shake the hand of UW-Band director Mike Leckrone (who is still the director to this day). Anyway, being able to perform in Madison with my old high school, and the special eds, and the UW-Band was really something. And it just hit me, that game with the Badgers was against Michigan in 1993 (which the Badgers won), and it also had the infamous “Camp Randall Crush”, in which many of the fans tried to get onto the field to celebrate the Badgers victory, and so many of the students got hurt. Lucky for us, we left way before that happened!

So that was a real throwback that will never be forgotten! But other than that, we had a good time just being at the game, and help perform with the Special Education Students, whom also like me are now Marshall grads. And I’m glad even 21 years later, the John Marshall High School Band was featured in one of best sections the Milwaukee Journal had was with the Green Sheet. Not the obits!

So for all you now MPS students and teachers that are doing well thus far, don’t be surprised that this could happen to be published. Even if it’s now the revamped version of the Green Sheet!

To see the Green Sheet via the Internet: Click here – http://www.jsonline.com/greensheet/