By Barbara White
216,000 down, 54,000 to go, I-Witness touching Black people all over the city of Milwaukee and the world one event at a time.
“Black People are the First Wonder of the World!”
“Until the Lion writes his own story, the tale of the hunt will always glorify the hunter.” –African proverb
“Ponte De Aria”
Be Ever Wonderful
– (Brazilian Rhyme)
Thought of the Week
“Change is inevitable, but growth is optional.” Dr. Adolph Brown, III
(Thank u, Michelle Allison)
“The best way to gain self-confidence is to do what you are afraid to do.”
-Author Unknown- Thank u, Rolonda Watts
Word of the Week
1. A new convert or proselyte.
2. A novice; a beginner in anything.
1. As a neophyte in politics, I didn’t understand that ducking the issues was the goal of most campaigns.
2. I was a complete neophyte and knew nothing about the choreographic process, but seeing the steps pour out of this man was a revelation
3. She, the neophyte, with as yet no experience of this, had settled eagerly to the task. Source Doctor Dictionary.
Hey Bama Grice! Happy Birthday to you Happy Birthday!
The Stories That Caught My “I”
Police Car Chases
There’s an old saying in politics, “No permanent friends, no permanent enemies; Just common interesst.” Well, I-Witness hasn’t always agreed with many of the tactics or decisions of Milwaukee Police Chief, Ed Flynn. But I-Witness agrees with Chief Flynn’s decision to bar officers from engaging in high speed chases on city streets which often endangers the public, unless the actions of those being pursued are of a violent nature.
Finally, we have someone who stepped up, called the play, acted upon it and changed this deadly policy. For years, innocent people have been killed in high-speed chases because they had expired license plates or they made the wrong turn.
Yes, those who refuse to stop when asked to pull over by the police are literally responsible for what happens to citizens who are put at risk by their actions. But common sense should rule before police pursue those who take off.
Alderman Bob Donavan can scream all he wants about the chief’s decision. But it’s a decision that could very well save a life one day.
Obviously, someone coming out of a gas station or a store with shot guns in hand should be chased by the coppers because those individuals are truly endangering the public.
I’d like to see the chief try to put an end to the practice by Milwaukee police officers of coming to a stop light and turning on their squad car lights and siren just to get through a red light. There’s no emergency! That’s just as disruptive as a high-speed car chase.
I support the police. There must be order in a society and we need individuals who will help keep order and enforce society’s laws.
Chief Flynn for once we agree on something. I congratulate you for being accountable and displaying good leadership. Job well done.
However, I-Witness would like you to do one more thing chief. Your officers need to work on their community policing skills. Often times when I’m driving down the street in the community, I see your cops ride down on young Black males, some of whom are simply walking down the street, seemingly minding their own business
The police make the young brothas sit on the curb while they run their names through the system, no matter what the temperature is. Sometimes I’ll just pull my car over and watch what’s going on. I can hear the voices of the young men asking, “What did I do officer? What have I done wrong?” Once their names are run and it’s apparent there is nothing on them, the officer(s) release them, offering no reason why the young brotha was stopped in the first place.
In South African during the Apartheid era, Black men and women were not allowed freedom of movement. They had to have a pass to travel anywhere in the country; otherwise they would be jailed or killed simply because they had Black skin.
This is not South Africa. This is Milwaukee, Wisconsin-USA. We have the right to go anywhere we choose to as long as we abide by the laws of the land.
I feel that your officers need to be reminded that this is America and they should give citizens a reason for being stopped. And that reason just can’t be because one of your officers just feels like it.
Again, congratulations for executing leadership. Perhaps, we can agree on future decisions you have to make to ensure a safer community and a decision that may move our community to having a better relationship with police officers, instead of fear.
MPS and Reading Scores
Again, Milwaukee makes national headlines. Negative ones. The recent report by the National Assessment of Educational Progress sited Milwaukee Public School fourth and eighth graders reading test scores were the lowest in the nation.
The report stated 33% of the state’s fourth-graders scored at a level considered proficient or advanced by the test. The rest scored at a basic level or lower.
Many of us who heard or read about the report were devasted by the findings. That’s because we know what this means not only for our children, but the future of society as a whole: More jails, more funerals and more poverty.
Hearing the news brought to mind the recent attempt by Mayor Tom Barrett to take over MPS. In my opinion, the take over attempt—which by the way has fallen by the wayside and off the radar of most people and the media—was nothing more than an attempt to get some of the education initiative money President Barack Obama was offering to help improve education in the nation’s schools. Never for a moment did folks opposed to the take-over attempt (mostly the Black community) think for once that it was about the performance of MPS student.
While I haven’t decided one way or the other about a government takeover of MPS, I do know that something has to be done to improve the quality of education in the city’s public schools.
For many years, Dr. Howard Fuller has consistently called for changes in MPS and has gone as far as to help create charter schools as his way to hold MPS accountable. He was particularly outraged by the test results, noting that something has got to be done to turn the tide of mediocrity, adding MPS’ plight didn’t just begin yesterday. The failure of our children has been going on for decades.
Senator Lena Taylor, whose son is enrolled in MPS, found it interesting that when she called for accountability for choice and charter schools she had the teachers union’s supports. But when she called for accountability for MPS, she found picketers protesting outside her home.
“While I can afford to send my son to a private school, I choose to have him experience school life with the majority of children in the city,” the state senator said recently. “Not only am I demanding accountability for my child, as a parent and the senator of the fourth district I am demanding accountability for all children in the city of Milwaukee.
“And I think the report that our children have the lowest reading levels in the nation should bring us all together now to make something happen on behalf of our children.”
I-Witness would like to call on all Black state legislators and White lawmakers representing predominately black districts, to come together soon and work on a comprehensive education package before all of you go on summer break.
As a community we have been fighting for equal education for decades. There should not be some high performing schools while the rest whallow in mediocrity.
All schools should be high performing. As long as we continue to focus on MPS as a political ping-pong ball, we will continue to lose our children. I beg to differ with the argument that parents are responsible for their children don’t know how to read.
When a child cannot read yet attends school daily, then the failure belongs to MPS. Children are sent to school to learn how to read and count so that they can function in our society.
This is the kind of education
Britain’s Brainiest Family is Black and Has 9-Year-Old High
School-Bound Twins—With picture
Paula and Peter Imafidon are just like any other nine-year-olds. They love laughing, playing on the computer and fighting with each other. What sets these twins apart from their peers, though, is that they are, hands down, prodigies who are about to enter high school and make British history as the youngest to do so.
The precocious London-based tykes, known as the “Wonder Twins,” floored academics a year ago when they aced University of Cambridge ‘s advanced mathematics exam. They are the youngest students to ever pass the test.
The future little scholars’ father, Chris, and mother, Ann immigrated to Britain from Nigeria more than 30 years ago and have actually been down this prodigy route before with their three older children, who are also overachievers.
The couple’s oldest daughter, Ann e-Marie, is now 20, but at age 13, she won a British government scholarship to take undergraduate courses at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland. Christiana, 17, their other daughter, is the youngest student ever to study at the undergraduate level in any British University at the age of 11. Youngest daughter, Samantha, now 12, passed two rigorous high school-level mathematics and statistics exams at the age of 6. She mentored the twins to pass their own math secondary school test when they were also 6.
Even with all of this, the proud dad denies that there is any particular genius in his family. He does credit his children’s success to the Excellence in Education Program for disadvantaged inner-city youth. “Every child is a genius,” he said. “Once you identify the talent of a child and put them in the environment that will nurture that talent, then the sky is the limit. Look at Tiger Woods or the Williams sisters — they were nurtured. You can never rule anything out with them. The competition between the two of them makes them excel in anything they do.”
The darling duo are competitive to say the least, and this is what fuels them to out-achieve each other. Paula said, “I am excited to pass, but I should have got higher than Peter.”
As far as career paths Paula says she wants to be a math teacher, while Peter aspires to be prime minister one day.
All it takes is a dream….
Girl Friends Part II
Event an opportunity for women to relax and recharge
Girlfriends Health Guide for Women of Color® and its Girlfriends Network presented it’s first annual “It’s All About You” Women of Color Health Disparities Conference on February 27, 2010 at the Hyatt Regency Hotel in Milwaukee. The conference is the first leg of a four-city tour which will include Dallas, Chicago and Atlanta in 2010.
Girl Friends is a health initiative that promotes women of color to begin taking better care of themselves and their health.
Last week we ended with lots of fun at the Girl Friends convention at the Hyatt Regency Hotel. Roz Dandridge the MC for the closing portion of the conference had us in stitches. She should really try to get on Def Comedy Jam. She is too funny.
Now for the real raffle, a real car for the weekend. Richard Lewis of Concours Motors, Inc. donated a 2010 Mercedes E-Class Benz for the GNO. Roz then gave pointers to the laides as to how to get close to your man. She suggested they learn to play golf. She suggested getting cute, getting your girls together and head on over to the golf course.
Make sure you speak to every man you see. Learning how to play golf will bring you and your guy real close again. Richard confirmed the logic of Roz’s suggestion. He said since his wife learned how to play golf, they are together all the time now having a great time. Plus, she’s become a pretty good golfer.
The raffle begins. They had to pull three times to declare a winner. The problem was that everyone they picked didn’t drive or have a divers’ license. So they refused the car.
Dr. Chrishireella Warthen, an assistant professor at Concordia University of Mequon won the raffle. However, she currently drives a Lexus. Given that fact, she decided to donate the Benz to another Girl Friend. Another name was pulled. It was Danielle Fisher who was the lucky draw.
Before we let her claim the car, we made her show us her driver’s license to make sure she was old enough. We had too much fun with her. Holla!
Leah Wallace was in the house, she is a big time I-Witness reader. Leshae Hamilton, Girl Friends First Lady, Connie Johnson, Dr. Warthen, and Lisa Gross all received a special recognition. Then there were the Wanzo sisters, Dr. Cassandra from Atlanta, Cathy and Regina Wanzo of Milwaukee.
The one thing about Girl Friends, it’s a real stress reliever. Not only are you given some of the best health information. You are relaxed, pampered, fed well and the events are all about you.
This year my sister, Shirley White, made Girl Friends her new service project and my niece, Knyja Reed joined her mom as a volunteer.
Hey Matt you know I HAD A WONDERFUL TIME. To watch women come together to relax, fellowship with each other, which inspired a lifting of the soul and a spiritual re-connection with one’s self. Thank you can’t wait until next year.
Presents “The Meeting”—with picture
The Hansberry Sands Theatre Company kicked off its 29th season recently presenting the play “The Meeting,” which featured some very talented up and coming actors.
I-Witness cannot say enough about the talent we have in the city of Milwaukee. Just as Wisconsin has become the little Las Vegas, it needs to put just as much effort into becoming the Broadway of the Midwest.
Hansberry’s mission is to provide quality theatre that entertains, educates, and develops individual talent that preserves our historical culture, as well as contribute to the economic development of the African American community while serving the needs of those in the audience.
“The Meeting” was performed at the Wisconsin African American Women’s Center for four nights. Diane Winston is the Board President of Hansberry Sands, Diane Wilkins is the Executive director and Willie Abney is the director.
“The Meeting” has been performed all over the world. It was written by Jeff Stetson, an internationally acclaimed award winning playwright and screenwriter for film and television. The central theme of the play is a hypothetical question: What would it be like to have had the two pillars of human and civil rights, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and Malcolm X meet. While the two shared the struggle in the fight for human dignity, and human rights for Black people, their methods of achieving the goal were dramatically different…or was it?
Dr. King believed in a peaceful means of protest to bring about social and policy change in America while Malcolm believed in self-defense against the aggression of a system that treated Black people as less than human. This often brought conflict among their supporters and also gave rise to hidden agendas that promoted division among Black people.
The play is so powerful that one would think if a meeting had ever taken place it is believed that it would have changed the world.
The setting was very intimate. Indigo Var is the stage manager and is widely recognized for her experience, creativity and artistic expertise.
The cast was fantastic. Edward Johnson, who played Dr. King, is originally from Chicago. He has been performing since age 11. He is also an accomplished choreographer and professional dancer.
James Townes played Malcolm X is a native Milwaukeean and an ITT Tech graduate. Townes has performed in a number of theatre productions. He has performed numerous productions with both Hansberry Sands and Andre Lee Ellis and Company. Jason has also been involved in many short film projects.
Larkis Webber portrayed Rashad, Malcolm’s bodyguard. “The Meeting” was Webbers debut as a performer with Hansberry. The Rufus King High School graduate received his acting certificate from Andre’ Lee Ellis and Company. He left Milwaukee to attend college at Morgan State. He then moved to New York where the real bug for acting bit him. Webber is a writer as well.
Willie Abney is the artistic director at Hansberry Sands. A native Milwaukeean, Abney has been a director, actor, dancer and a contributor to the performing arts in Milwaukee for over 25-years.
Abney studied theatre at UW-Milwaukee. He began his thespian career with the People’s Theatre and has since evolved into one of the best creative directors in the Midwest.
He has worked with many theatre companies throughout the state as well as schools, and universities.
Abney is known for his great impersonation of the late Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. which has given him statewide acclaim. He has also given a soliloquy performance with the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra. His directorial credits continue to grow. He directed the productions of “Dream Girls,” “A Soldier’s Story,” “Mahallia,” and “The Piano Lesson.”
All kinds of folks attended the production of “The Meeting” during its four-day run. Captain Dewayne Smoots, Milwaukee County Board Chair Lee Holloway and Pam Hardy
Peaches Reynolds opened with a rendition of Dr. King’s favorite song, “Precious Lord,” by the late Mahailla Jackson. Larry Reed also joined her to sing, “We Shall Over Come.” The play opens in 1965 in a shabby hotel room in Harlem, one week before the assassination of Malcolm X.
The meeting is between the two of the most powerful men of the 2oth century. The playwright Stetson, envisioned for the audience the gathering of the influential leaders where they exchange views of their opposing philosophies.
Both Townes and Johnson did excellent portrayals of the two human rights activists. In the play, Malcolm’s bodyguard, Rashad was against the meeting of the two men and played it well.
Malcolm at this point in his life knew someone was trying to kill him and became very paranoid over every sound, every knock on the door and everyone who called themselves a friend even his body guard.
Upon the arrival of Dr. King, Rashad was dismissed. And their stood Johnson who under the colorful art lights in trench coat and brim could have easily been mistaken for a young Dr. King. The two men greet each other, Malcolm with very mistrusting caution and Dr. King as the preacher that he was.
At first, Malcolm truly tried to punk Dr. King on all his works toward freedom. He states: “You allow yourself and women and children to be bitten by dogs and beaten with sticks and bricks and you don’t raise a finger to defend yourself. Why you don’t even get angry.” Malcolm states he believes every human being had a fundamental right to self defense and a right to defend his family.
Dr. King says “we must show the world who the real animal is here. Violence has never accomplished anything.” Malcolm continues to be hostile on every turn while Dr. King, attempts to reason with him about method and consequences.
There were humorous moments in the play as well and in the exchanges between the two. The two of them tried to decide who was mightier and stronger. So they arm wrestle each other during the play.
The two continued to debate each other in their way to demand that Black people be treated as human beings in this country.
Malcolm challenged Dr. King on every turn sometimes getting a rise out of him. Dr. King talked of his God and how we must learn to love. Malcolm could not understand how you could love your enemy as he attacks you and your family.
Dr. King told Malcolm he didn’t have a myrtar complex and that he was willing to die to see a future for Black people being treated with dignity.
Malcolm continued to push King to the edge and Dr. King showed him he was no punk. He talked about how he gets angry at seeing Black people shuffle and dance at the whim of white people, being killed because they black. Yes, I get angry, he says. But we must keep holding up the mirror on America that reflects its injustices. I don’t just want to free Black people I want to free America.
Malcolm begin to soften, a bit. Dr. King became tender as well as he offered Malcolm Protection.
Malcolm went on to try to show King that this country has no conscious and anybody who preaches non-violence is only helping them to kill us.
In striking a nerve King defends his position stating that the action of non-violence is right because he is a man and child of God. Don’t you tell me nothing has been accomplished.
Dr. King reaches for a bag he brought, Malcolm in his mistrust jumped asking what is it. King tells him actually it is for your daughter. He tells of how his daughter seen on television after the house bombing that you had a little girl and she wanted her to have the doll.
Silence fell across the room as the two looked at each other. Malcolm then ask why did you come to see about me.
They continue to talk this time with a much better understanding of each. King shared stories with Malcolm having one to think that perhaps some of Dr. King has rubbed off on Malcolm.
Again, they begin to arm wrestle with Malcolm saying I will let you win this time and King responding that he let him win the first time because he knew he needed a win. They were funny.
The Meeting ended with both men having a lot of respect for each other and the risk they have taken in the name of freedom.
Each assured each other that they would meet again in the promise land. As Dr. King left, Malcolm asked Allah to protect the dreamer.
Under the direction of Willie Abney the cast was awesome. The Meeting filled you with all kinds of emotions. The cast inspired and left a message filled with hope even thou both Icons were assassinated simply because they both wanted to be treated with dignity as human beings. Bravo! Bravo! Bravo!
I-witness asks our readers to please support our local artist as you do the productions that come to our town for a hot second. Your investment in our artist first can provide opportunities one can never imagine.
Story unrelated to I-Witness column, page 7
Brewers rank among MLB’s most affordable fan
experience in 2010 team marketing report annual survey
The Milwaukee Brewers once again rank among the most affordable fan experiences in Major League Baseball, according to Team Marketing Report’s annual Major League Baseball “Fan Cost Index.”
For 2010, the Brewers placed as the eighth most affordable fan cost among the 30 Major League baseball teams. It also ranks 18% under the average for all teams.
The “Fan Cost Index” is comprised of the price of two adult average-priced tickets, two child average-priced tickets, two small draft beers, four small soft drinks, four regular-sized hot dogs, parking for one car, two game programs and two adult-size adjustable caps.
The Brewers average ticket price in 2010 is $22.10, also significantly less than the MLB average of $26.74. The overall “FCI” for the Brewers in 2010 is $160.40.
“While most families do not purchase all of these items on a trip to Miller Park, the Index is a good measurement for how we compare to the industry average,” said Rick Schlesinger, Brewers Executive Vice President – Business Operations.
“We’re proud to remain among baseball’s most affordable experiences, and we encourage fans to take advantage of the many special savings that we offer on tickets, concessions and merchandise for most games at Miller Park.”
Miller Park and the Brewers have consistently ranked among the most affordable and fan-friendly experiences in Major League Baseball. Recently, Sports Business Journal and Sports Business Daily named the Brewers as one of five finalists last year in the category of Professional Sports Team of the Year.
Also, ESPN the Magazine placed the Brewers 7th out of 122 major league franchises in their Ultimate Franchise Rankings fan survey.