The Night Milwaukee Burned…… What’s Next??

Written by on August 14, 2016


The morning after…….

I sit here thinking as my city still smells like smoke, What’s Next? We should have watched the clues that were laid out before us all summer long and knew at some point this could possibly happen. We should have noticed the current temperature in the United States and realized that something like this could happen. We could have read between the lines of all the reports we like to share on Facebook that details how Milwaukee is the worse city for African Americans to live and realized that yep, something like this could happen. We should have read the history books and saw Detroit, Watts, LA, Ferguson etc. and realized this could happen in Milwaukee. But nope, we ignored the cries of frustration and now sit here “embarrassed”.

But I wonder, how can we truly be “embarrassed” by last night? For years the people saying they are “embarrassed” have ridiculed the people they are now embarrassed by. We have posted “ignorant” videos on Facebook and now we are “embarrassed”. We have mocked the youth for their choice of ignorant music and now are “shocked” that they do ignorant things. We have talked about how the youth aren’t being educated, live in poverty, do criminal activities, and now we are “appalled” by the events that transpired last night? No, we should be “embarrassed” by the fact that we ignored the cries of frustrations.

So again I ask “What’s Next?” Now isn’t the time to point fingers and ask how come?

“How come y’all ain’t do this when such and such got killed?”

“How come y’all burning down your own businesses?”

How come?

How come?

How come?

Instead of divisive questions, we should be asking “What’s Next?” How can we rebuild from this madness? The community is hurting right now and what we don’t need are people throwing rocks from a hill. What we need are answers. What we need is unity. What we need is for less talking and more action. Demand sweat equity from your pastors, community activists, educators, politicians, neighbors, yourself. Now is the time to use elbow grease to repair the fractured soul of the community.

Instead of posting about how funny it is that people stole hair weave or cans of beer we should be posting about WHY we ignored a community for years. I fail to find humor in the fact that some people chose to come up in the hours of despair. I fail to use last night as a moment to “shake my head” at the actions of a few. If we don’t use this as an opportunity to have some productive dialog we will have more moments in the near future where we will be left “shaking our heads!”

We can ignore everything that just happened last night and write it off as a “they know better moment” But clearly they don’t. This is the same city that has been listed as the worse for African-Americans, what did you think would happen? Rainbows and unicorns? This is the same city where Black males are more likely to get arrested than go to college. What did we expect? This is the same city where the educational gap between the Blacks and Whites remain as wide as it was during the Jim Crow days. What did we expect?

No one wanted this, but deep down inside no one should be surprised by this. Eventually shit hits the fan, it always does. So again I ask What’s Next?

Reader's opinions
  1. Myddle   On   August 14, 2016 at 10:44 am

    For so long we have taken a blind eye and deafening ears to the cries of help from our youth, until they show you their frustrations, and you have to choke on the harsh realities. Salute to you for this piece.


  2. Greg Phillips   On   August 14, 2016 at 11:17 am

    Spot on with this commentary. However, I believe the establishment really enjoys the disparity in this city….as long as it is kept quiet. Now that we’ve gotten national recognition, the cogs of equity may move a little or for a little while. We have to be willing to go to the hood and be present…..educate, educate and educate! If your a doctor, show another how to be one! If you’re an author, show the next person how to do that….mentorship, education and social reform are the beginning steps….

  3. My point of view   On   August 14, 2016 at 4:53 pm

    As a pastor myself, I agree with the sweat equity but maybe in a different way. Many Pastors have become people pleasers and rather than preach or teach the people how to live and how to behave we just tell them that
    Jesus loves them and accepts them as they are. While this may be true, it is not the whole story nor the end of the story. The Pastors need to tell the people that God requires repentance from all of this kind of wicked and barbaric behavior. If there is so much hatred between people of different skin color but we are all using the same Bible then something is wrong. If the Pastors are teaching properly then the personal responsibility rests on the people to submit themselves to the Spirit if God and not this evil and destructive spirit of this world. Ultimately everyone is responsible for his own actions and Milwaukee will be what the people define it as, by their actions not political verbiage.

  4. Rick Smith   On   August 14, 2016 at 8:57 pm

    “I ask What’s Next?” All out war dumbass. But it will be a slaughter of Biblical proportions. Exactly who will let the African-Americans out of Milwaukee alive? Not Sheriff Clarke. Not the National Guard. Certainly not me. I have people who depend on my protection. Alas, I cannot have maniacs running losse across the landscape.

What ya think??

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