There was a time when neighbors knew neighbors, the children, where everyone worked…or did not work. The blue-collar worker lived next to the teacher or social worker. Neighborhoods were diverse. Yet location and residing side by side presented more healthy commonalities than differences.
Children were known and neighbors would correct the problem child, or certainly report their misbehavior to parent/s. Concern about keeping up the neighborhood was as much a part of daily culture as was getting the kids off to school, completing homework and being home before dark. Milwaukee is known as a city of neighborhoods with strong ethnic identifications, even today. This explains the success of the ethnic festivals on the Summerfest grounds, throughout the summer. And, it supports Milwaukee’s acclaim as one of the most segregated cities in the country.
With financial stability many middle class families vacated old neighborhoods, and new residents took their places. Rapid turnover of neighbors often changed the culture of neighborhoods and earlier values began to unravel. Concerns about yard care, home up-keep, attention to new neighbors, admonishment of inappropriate behavior were often replaced by strategies for “moving on up.” As a result families became increasingly isolated and concern about one’s neighbors was often replaced by a “take care of our own business” attitude. These were precursors to the changes witnessed in early neighborhoods.
Soon neighborhood organizations began to formalize by-laws, objectives, mission statements and prospectus’ to energize solid neighborhoods. Federal funds, county and city grants have further supported services to re-energize neighborhoods, their residents and objectives of solidarity.
The Milwaukee Community Journal will highlight some of those Neighborhoods Organizations…their leaders, their unique demographic make-up; their objectives and how this works to better the lives of residents; and the city of Milwaukee.
This yearlong focus will culminate with the newspaper’s annual Anniversary Celebration, Sunday, August 5, 2012 at the Italian Conference Center. The accomplishments of the organizations identified will be the substance on which the newspaper will focus.
MCJ readers will also be invited to participate by recommending their ”neighbor” who should be spotlighted. These tenets, deemed honor-worthy, will be publicized, encouraging others to emulate or introduce other residents who make their neighborhood a better place in which to live and grow.
A Neighbor of the Year, Neighborhood Organization of the Year, Corporate Neighbor and Neighborhood Partner will be the ultimate winners determined by MCJ readers’ votes, via the newspaper and the MCJ website.
We seek the partnering support of neighborhood and community organizations as we identify who they are and profile what they do. These event sponsors will be the focus of the MCJ Anniversary Gala, which will include a table of eight (8); skirted table for passing out literature, a VIP Reception, music by Christopher’s Project and a keynote speaker who embodies progress and mobilizing neighborhoods. The event partners’ logos and descriptions will appear on the MCJ website throughout the year. And, the
representatives will be highlighted in the Anniversary special edition and souvenir booklet with photos, profiles, and video at the celebration.
An integral component of the year-long Neighborhood Initiative will be highlighting neighbors, along with clean-up – fix-up campaigns, mentoring, youth clubs and other collaborative efforts the organizations will bring to the newspaper, for coverage.
Perhaps, after focusing on our neighbors, what we do, jointly, to promote cohesive neighborhoods; and applauding those who devote their energies to improving neighborhoods, we will all see that “Putting the Neighbor Back into the Hood” positively builds community. Can we count on you?
Proceeds from the Anniversary Celebration support the sustaining students of the Dr. Terence N. Thomas Scholarship Fund. Over $ 400,000 has been awarded to these Milwaukee academic giants. Now having graduated over 36 students who became doctors, lawyers, engineers, teachers, social workers, certified accountants, mass communication specialist and marketing professionals, currently sixteen recipients await our continued support. You bring “neighbor” back into the hood.
Read us weekly as we highlight who our neighbors are. Share your suggestions of who the Neighbor of the Year should be. Vote for your Neighborhood Organization of the Year; the Corporate Neighbor of the Year. Remember” “Good Neighbors Build Good Neighborhoods.”