I-Witness: Milwaukee’s Walk toward Wellness

Written by admin   // June 11, 2010   // 0 Comments

B. White

by B. White

It was a bright and shiny morning as I rode to the Mitchell Park Domes. Upon arriving at the Domes I heard my call. It was the beat of the drum that being stirring spirits a PCA brought both the north side and south side together as one. Peace for Change Alliance (PCA) hosted its 3rd Annual Walk toward Wellness.

Peace for Change Alliance is an independent non-profit organization, which dedicates itself to promoting good health, physically, emotionally and social development for children, men and women of all ages.

Desiree Morton, a fitness Guru and certified fitness trainer, leads a pre-walk warm up for participants of the 3rd Annual Walk Toward Wellness, which was organized and hosted by the Peace for Change Alliance. The participants walked from the Mitchell Park Domes to Washington Park in honor of Jori LeFlore, a young girl who recently lost her battle with cancer. (photo by Barbara White)

PCA provides educational assistance such as one-on-one tutoring, mentoring, consistent school-mentor communication and open mentor-child communication and believes in promoting peace and positive change programs and community activities. They have strong working relationships with other organizations as well.

Tracey Dent is the president and CEO of PCA. He states: “we believe Better Grades plus Better Behavior plus Better Relationships equals a Better Community.”

PCA’s focus is on health as well as education so annually they have decided to educate people through action with their Walk toward Wellness.

They gathered at the Milwaukee Domes right at the 16th Street viaduct to bring two communities together.  Of course, every time I cross the viaduct it reminds me of the days we (Black People) weren’t allowed to cross over to the Southside. But with every new generation some things do change. Holla!

I loved the fresh smiling faces of the young people who came out to walk. It tendered my heart and brought a smile to my face. This year they all walked in the name and memory of Jori Leflore, a little angel who lost her battle with AML Leukemia this year. But even in death Jori lives and continues to change lives.

The drumline, that served as the beat of the walk, takes a moment with PCA Walk toward Wellness organizers and area police officers. (photo by Barbara White)

You would have thought you were at an African ceremony as the drummers filled the air with their beat and they were awesome.

All kinds of folks came out to support the Walk toward Wellness. Captain Eric Moore of the Criminal Investigation Bureau and Assistant Chief James Harpole as well as the Brew City Corvette Club, the Personal Touch MC Sport Riders, Senator Lena Taylor, and Rev. Keith Parrish of Metropolitan Baptist Church.

There was a short program before the walk began. Jori’s father, Darrin Leflore, thanked all for coming and speaking against crime and promoting good health. “I thank you so much for showing honor to my daughter Jori in the name of good health,” he said.

The Rev. Keith Parrish shared prayer with all of us. Before Senator Taylor spoke on the need for good health. “Our community is broken and leads in all the ills of bad health including not wearing seat belts and gun violence,” she said. “We need to get healthy and this is our beginning towards wellness,” Taylor said through tears as she asked participants to walk for her.

Desiree Morton, a fitness Guru, is a certified fitness trainer, also known as Butterfly who rides a Honda Motorcycle. Holla! She warmed us up before the walk, boy did we need some working out and we got some too. Holla!

The walk was from the Mitchell Domes to Washington Park. There was a police escort which made it really nice for the walkers. Brew City Corvette Club, and Personal Touch MC Sport Riders, led the walk along with Jori’s parents and her siblings. The group began their walk down 16th Street to Vliet Street to Washington Park.

No, I-Witness didn’t walk but I rode a side or a head of the walkers and I saw some very interesting things. Many of the children could not keep up the pace with their parents they appeared often to be a bit out of energy. It’s sad that we can’t tell children to go out and play anymore so they can get the exercise they need daily but it’s not safe.

We must find a way to get physical fitness back into the schools. But I must commend the children they accepted the challenge and they walked it and completed the job.

I must again, commend the drummers, they played and walked all the way to Washington Park not missing a beat. Once they made their way through the park you would think they would sit and cool out, no they put on a full show they were too awesome.

There were all kinds of vendors distributing all kinds of good health information — from cancer to library information. This walk wanted to help heal the whole body and soul.

There was a short program where Common Council President Willie Hines, State Rep. Jason Fields, Deputy Dog McGruff, DJ Sherman, Luvcinie Sanders, Percy Dorsey,  The Driven Media Group who recorded the walk and Penelope Stewart of the Blood Center of Southeastern, Wisconsin were present.

Milwaukee County Board Chairman, Lee Holloway, also addressed the walkers and others, on  the importance of donating bone marrow and blood to the Blood Center because it is always better to have blood from your own culture.

Said Holloway: “since my knee has been replaced, I couldn’t walk with you. But I thank all of you for walking for me. Next year we will really get the word out it is so important that we as a community become healthy again both physically and mentality.”

PCA did a special presentation for Ptosha Davis, and Darrin Jori’s mom and dad that included a touching poem by Free Bird titled, “A Poem to a Mother.” Ptosha cried as Free Bird read the poem.

Tracey Dent then presented Davis with a plaque in memory of Jori and the “Walk towards Wellness” as well as a beautiful bouquet of flowers.

Through tears Davis thanked God, and thanked everyone who gave honor to their daughter, Jori. “Our hearts are broken, but we are still a family. Her brothers and her dad and I, we will continue to do the things to show Jori’s life had purpose and meaning,” Davis said.

She went on to thank the Milwaukee Police Department, the wonderful drumline, and vendors, Children’s Hospital, MSBU, Blood Center and PCA for such an honor. She further stated that her family will launch a foundation to talk about wellness. “We want to help,” she said as she once again thanked her family and all of her extended family.

The day did not end there, DJ Sherman took over. There was lots of entertainment TBEY Dance Company, Nefertari African Dance Company, The Donna Woodall Group provide jazz and R&B, Larsha V and the twins-Roshaun Fullilove who plays the cello and Roshea Fullilove who plays the viola. They were really good.

Hey, Tracey, great job! What a nice honor to bestow upon a mother and father who have lost their child, to show them that their child’s life had purpose. Equally as great is the PCA out here on the front lines trying to educate their community on the importance of good physical, mental and social health, as well as becoming involved in their community to educate and help make that change.

You know you are my hero. I love the way you do the things you do. Thank you.

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