An organized group of dozens of community organizations (with no group at the helm) representing health, education and youth, businesses and faith based organizations from opposite sides of the Father James E. Groppi Unity Bridge came together as a way to inspire Milwaukeeans to unite for violence prevention. The march was the kick-off for “The Bridge Project,” a year-long project to encourage city residents to serve as bridges to non-violence in their respective communities.
The marchers collectively walked down the Canal Street bridge exit and descended on that street for a program to hear speakers, poets and entertainers. Organizations, communities and individuals are encouraged to organize bridge projects and submit them to The Bridge Project Milwaukee website (BRIDGEPROJECTMILWAUKEE.ORG) throughout the year. Awards will be presented at the end of the year to outstanding Milwaukee bridge builders. Bridge builders can be nominated on The Bridge Project website. Bridges have long been symbols of making connections; not just connecting two masses of land, but also connecting people. The launch of the Bridge Project is meant to do just that, connect people of goodwill--youth and adults--who are working on activities all across Milwaukee to build bridges of peace and non-violence. The Father Groppi Unity Bridge (the 16th Street Viaduct), is the historic location of “freedom marches” for fair housing in the ‘60s and has long been considered a symbolic divide for the city.
During the march, the final scenes were filmed for The Bridge Project music video titled, “United We Must Stand,” created by Milwaukee youth as an anthem for The Bridge Project. The video will premiere in June.