Thousands were fed on Christmas Day by 1290 WMCS and the Salvation Army during the radio station’s 23rd annual Christmas Family Feast held at the Delta Center downtown, 400 W. Wisconsin Ave. Santa was on hand to greet children with a host of volunteers–that included notables from the areas of government, business, education and the faith community–helping to serve those in need and make sure a joyous and wonderful day of fellowship and community for all who attended and served. (Photos by Yvonne Kemp)
by Thomas E. Mitchell, Jr.
For a number of years, new Black leadership and media pundits such as radio talk show host Warren Ballentine has emerged preaching the gospel of economic self-reliance; a “let’s do it ourselves” philosophy of economic self-empowerment that requires us to do business with each other to uplift the race.
Chicago businesswoman Maggie Anderson decided to put the philosophy into action several years ago. In the process she and her family made history and dominated national media headlines by applying self-help economics in the Black community.
The Anderson family lived exclusively off Black business and talent and bought only Black made products for an entire year. It was an experiment the Andersons called the Empowerment Experiment (EE) and resulted in a landmark study conducted by Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Business.
Since the completion of the experiment, Anderson has become the voice of American consumers of all backgrounds who want to make sure their buying power positively impacts struggling minority communities.
Anderson, the author of “Our Black Year,” which chronicled their “Buy Black” journey, was recently the keynote speaker for the 53rd annual Milwaukee Urban League’s Equal Opportunity Day Luncheon held at the Pfister Hotel.
During her address before the community’s and city’s business leaders, heads of community based organizations and civil rights activists, Anderson preached her gospel of economic self-reliance, discussing the Empowerment Experiment and what it was like to live by the pledge to support Black owned businesses, talent and products.
Anderson said the death of Black businesses and consumer support was integration, which she called the perfect storm that ended Black people doing business with each other.
Noting White businesses saw that money was plentiful within our community began to cater to Black consumers using advertising with Black faces, Anderson said we became brand loyal consumers who ignored products made by Black companies.
Also contributing to the demise of Black businesses and Black on Black consumerism was the aggressive recruitment (and Black pursuit of) talented Black people by white corporations.
“Getting a job with a big white company was the dream,” Anderson said during a recent interview with Black media after her address.
“Our parents instilled in us the message of working for someone else…white,” she continued. Anderson said Blacks are now seen as consumers, not business owners.
Plus, Anderson noted the Civil Rights Movement and its leadership made the mistake of focusing solely on civil rights and ignored “silver rights”—economic development of our own community and people.
The “Black flight” to the suburbs and the subsequent abandonment of Black communities created a economic vacuum that was filled by other ethnic groups: Latinos, Asians, Indians, Pakistanis and Arabs.
Instead of doing the Empowerment Experiment for a year, Anderson suggested doing it for a week for no other reason than to raise your consciousness.
Anderson said what impedes Black people from utilizing Black owned businesses is the mentality that “only white ice gets cold; we distrust Black businesses.
Black businesses are seen as inferior by Black people.
While Anderson did encounter some bad Black businesses, her first encounter doing the experiment was awful, most of her experiences were positive.
“If you do business with three Black businesses and two are bad, don’t say, ‘all Black businesses are bad.’ You don’t say that about White businesses. Such an attitude is detrimental for good Black businesses.
Anderson suggests Black consumers keep going to good, quality Black businesses in order to break down the negative stereotype Black businesses are burdened with.
She also suggests aspiring Black business people focus on newer markets and industries not stereotypically associated with the community like low-end, hold-in-the-wall soul food joints, candy and liquor stores, barber and beauty shops.
Such businesses—where the owner has little to no business training and no investors—are too common and offer substandard services that reflect the attitude it has towards a clientele with low self-esteem and poor.
A program that provides free assistance with state and federal tax forms is preparing for a new tax season. The Volunteer Income Tax Assistance program of the Milwaukee Asset Building Coalition will begin filling out and filing taxes on Tuesday, January 22. This free service will be offered at locations across Milwaukee County including offices for the Social Development Commission and MATC’s Downtown Campus. For a complete list of sites, dates they are open and their hours, visit the SDC website at http://www.cr-sdc.org/Programs/VITA.htm.
275 W. Wisconsin Avenue
Narrated by Milwaukee Downtown’s Public Service Ambassadors, this 40-minute tour acquaints riders with downtown landmarks and the most decorated scenes. Even better, rides are just $1 per person!
Hop aboard at the NEW Warming House location in The Shops of Grand Avenue. Passengers will board and purchase tickets from the mall’s Center Court – 275 W. Wisconsin Avenue.
Awaiting riders will enjoy a Shops of Grand Avenue holiday favorite, an 18-piece animatronic symphony orchestra of bears, new holiday shops, and free cookies sponsored by Impark and hot cocoa sponsored by Wild Flour Bakery. Kids will also receive a holiday coloring book.
Nonperishable food items will also be collected for Hunger Task Force. As a thank you to families who donate, Stone Creek Coffee will provide one complimentary latte voucher for those that donate to the cause.
Tours operate Thursday through Sunday, November 16 through December 30 from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m.* The last bus departs at 8:20 p.m., so get there early to reserve your seat! Discounted parking is available in The Shops of Grand Avenue west parking garage for $3 until 10 p.m. when you present your Jingle Bus ticket stub. Enter the west structure from 2nd Street between Michigan Street and Wisconsin Avenue.
Organizers Prepare to Feed Thousands
Wauwatosa, WI–The 23rd Annual 1290 WMCS Salvation Army Christmas Family Feast is just one week away! The organizations are preparing to serve thousands on Tuesday, December 25 Christmas Day at the Delta Center, 400 W. Wisconsin Ave., from 11:00 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. The event is free and open to the public.
“The Christmas Family Feast is a Milwaukee tradition. What started out 23 years ago as a dinner to feed those in need, has evolved into an important holiday event where a great meal serves as the focal point for a wonderful day of fellowship and community,”said 1290 WMCS operations manager Tyrene “˜T.J.” Jackson.
Major Roger Ross, Salvation Army Milwaukee County Commander said, “Christmas is a wonderful time of year when we are all reminded of the many blessings we have. However, for an increasing number of people in our community, the holidays can be challenging.
The economy has taken a toll on so many families and through the Christmas Family Feast we are able to share compassion and offer a real feeling of community.”
This year’s Christmas Family Feast menu will consist of ham, turkey and dressing, mashed potatoes, yams, green beans, dinner rolls, an assortment of deserts and beverages.
Guests will receive complimentary gifts while supplies last.
Last year 10,000 individuals were served dinner on Christmas Day.
Giving initiative will include Thursday launch event
A positive neighborhood garden location is being transformed into a “12 Days of Christmas” giving center, and Alderwoman Milele A. Coggs will be joining in as the effort gets underway tomorrow.
Alderwoman Coggs will join Andre Lee Ellis – community organizer and proprietor of the Andre Lee Ellis Theatre Company — and others at the DMZ Community Garden tomorrow – Thursday, December 13 – between 4 p.m. and 6 p.m. to help distribute gifts to neighborhood children in need. The garden is located at N. 9th and W. Ring Streets in the 6th Aldermanic District.
“I will be bringing gifts and I am really looking forward to helping out tomorrow as the 12 Days of Christmas celebration begins,” Alderwoman Coggs said. “I strongly encourage the public to come join us, or to drop off gifts that can then be distributed to children and families in need.”
Through December 24, gifts will be given away each day at the DMZ Community Garden. The gifts can be simple but needed things, such as gloves, scarves, coats, belts, socks, hats, toys, and educational tools/toys such as flash cards or books for kids and adults. Also, donations of gender-specific wrapped gifts are also being encouraged. Persons who have gifts to be dropped off can bring them to 3260 N. 9th St., which is adjacent to the garden.
Anyone can come to the garden and receive a gift, and organizers are encouraging people who know someone who might be a 12 Days of Christmas gift candidate to have them come to the garden.
No cash donations will be accepted.
Located in the Borchert Field area, the DMZ Community Garden came together last year as neighbors have worked together to decrease crime and improve the block. A recent feature on WISN-TV Channel 12 about the 12 Days of Christmas effort at the garden has boosted donations, as well as requests for gifts for specific children in need.
Milwaukee County Executive Chris Abele is marking Aaron Rodgers Day, Wednesday, December 12 by encouraging all County employees to wear Packers jerseys or shirts to work. Abele is also encouraging employees to show their support by donating $12 to the MACC Fund.
“There is no better way to celebrate the Packers and Aaron Rodgers than by showing our pride,” Abele said. “Like Aaron Rodgers, I’m a strong supporter of the MACC Fund, and this is a good chance to have fun while raising money for an important cause.”
Over the past 30 months, fundraising efforts involving Aaron Rodgers have raised nearly $750,000 in net proceeds for the MACC Fund to continue the mission of hope through research.
People can donate to the MACC Fund through their website, www.maccfund.org, or through this link: http://tinyurl.com/MKE12-12-12
Since 1976, the MACC Fund has contributed $45 million towards pediatric cancer and related blood disorder research. Thanks to MACC Fund donors all over the world, the overall five-year survival rate for all childhood cancers has risen to 80% during that time. Children who are considered cured may still suffer from “late effects” of their treatment and research is now being undertaken to help survivors live as healthy and normal as possible.
Monday, December 31 2012, 11:00am – 12:30pm
Don’t let the holidays pass you by without enjoying a New Year’s toast with your McGovern friends. Enjoy snacks and music while being with your friends.
If you plan to partake in the senior meal program, you must register at the dining site by noon on Friday, December 28.
Please note: Other Senior Centers are closed Monday, December 31. McGovern is open.
RSVP by calling 414.527.0990
Location: 4500 W Custer Ave, Milwaukee
Dealership’s Around The World Party Provides $1000’s To Toys For Tots
On Friday, Dec. 14, Milwaukee Harley-Davidson will celebrate their second annual ‘Holidays Around The World’ party to benefit the Toys For Tots program. In keeping with the event theme, more than a dozen local groups will be participating in the event and representing a specially selected country. As guests arrive, in exchange for their charitable donation of toys or funds, they will receive a “passport” that entitles them to traditional cocktails and food items from each of the represented countries. “Last year was the first time we had tried this ‘Around the World’ concept and it just exploded.
We had over 700 people through the doors and surpassed our fundraising goal in the first 30 minutes of the party,” said Chaz Hastings, the owner of Milwaukee Harley-Davidson. “For this year’s event, we’re adding in some new groups, games, food and drink.”
In 2011, the event raised over $2500 in funds and materials for Toys for Tots. This year’s goal is to double that amount and everyone participating is dedicated to making that happen. “We had friends that attended last year’s event and they loved it, so we were really excited when we were invited to attend, said Liz Whitford of Pin Up Girls, a non profit that raises funds for local veteran’s support groups. “Not only are we helping a great cause, but it also gives us the chance to promote our group and raise awareness.”
The diverse line up of participating groups helps ensure a great mix of attendees;
Neutral Ground Dojo – Russia
Brew City Bruisers Roller Derby – Japan
Great Lakes Distillery – Hawaii/South Pacific
Milwaukee Northwest HOG Chapter – Germany
Pin Up Girls- U.S.A.
United States Marine Corps- Mexico
Billy Brown Insurance- France
Foolery’s Liquid Therapy- Caribbean
Stilettos on Steel- South America
KAH Tequila- Central America
Lakefront Brewery- United Kingdom
In addition to the international collection of cocktails and complimentary food, there will be plenty of activities throughout the evening. There will be piñata’s filled with prizes, raffles and various contests such as a giant “flip cup challenge.” In addition to Santa Claus and his Harley-Davidson inspired sleigh, there are photo opportunities with body painted models as well as male and female elves. For those who want to shop, there will be special one night only sales and free gift-wrap too.
“The event planning itself has been a great time with everyone involved taking the concept and running with it. I know we’re going to crush this year’s goal,” said Hastings.
The Holiday Around The World event takes place on Friday, Dec. 14 at the Milwaukee Harley-Davidson Dealership from 6-9 p.m. In exchange for donating a new, unwrapped toy valued at $15 or more, guests will receive a passport and access to all the event activities. For further information and event details visit MilwaukeeHarley.com or call the dealership at 414 461-4444.
Milwaukee Harley-Davidson is one of Milwaukee’s original Harley-Davidson dealers. The company’s 36,000-square-foot facility features new and used bikes, general merchandise, parts & accessories, service department and sales and finance. The company is one of the most active dealers in the country, bringing in more than 10,000 people to its dealership through events and general sales every year. For more information on the dealership and Fly, Buy, Ride program, visit www.milwaukeeharley.com.
Local photographers who were influenced by the late “visual griot” Harry Kemp participated in a one-night-only photo exhibit showcasing their work at the Wisconsin Black Historical Society/Museum Friday. The exhibit was the first ever exhibition honoring Kemp, who was known as “Black Milwaukee’s Gordon Parks.” Also on display were photographs Kemp himself took and a documentary of him and his work. The photographers present at the exhibit were (seated front, left to right): Patricia Milner, Yvonne Kemp (Harry’s sister and one time apprentice who took over his business after his passing), and Victoria Gross. Standing, left to right: Pat Robinson, Joe Lindl, Cermakareli Hibbler, Scott Pollard, Robert Bell, Cy White, Kim Robinson and Kenneth Wilson. (Photo by Clayborn Benson)