After School Art WorkshopDrop-in art program sponsored by Artists Working in Education (A.W.E.) for children in grades K5 to 5. Listen to a story, then work on imaginative art activities relevant to the book or artist theme for the day.Monday, Feb. 4, 4-5:30 p.m.Atkinson LibraryBlack Cinema Film Series: Sisters of SelmaWatch the story of the unsung heroes of the voting rights marches. Presented in collaboration with Blk-Art, History and Culture and M.L. King Library.Monday, Feb. 4, 6 p.m.Martin Luther King LibrarySuper Science for Super KidsBring your friends to make things that fly and spin, create your own musical instrument and get in touch with your inner mad scientist. For ages 6-12.Monday, Feb. 4, 6-7:30 p.m.Zablocki LibraryBay View Kinnickinnic KnittersA knitting circle dedicated to expanding knitting skills through the participation of knitters of all experience levels. Bring any knitting project along for conversation and camaraderie among knitters.Wednesday, Feb. 6, 5:30-7:30 p.m.Bay View LibraryAfrican-American BingoCelebrate Black History culture with a few games of African-American Bingo, followed by crafts and a snack.Wednesday, Feb. 6, 5:30-7:30 p.m.Villard Square BranchAfrican-American Crafts & CultureBuild a time line of Black History events. Join with friends to build crafts that reflect African cultural contributions. Snacks provided.Wednesday, Feb. 6, 6-7:30 p.m. Also Feb. 13, 20, 27.Washington Park LibraryMLK Reading and CraftJoin a community reading of Martin’s Big Words for inspiration before creating posters to portray dreams for a better world. Refreshments provided.Thursday, Feb. 7, 4:30-5:30 p.m.Atkinson Library*** SAVE THE DATE ***The Making of Milwaukee with John GurdaMilwaukee historian and author John Gurda will present a PowerPoint program that captures theMilwaukee community’s history.Saturday, Feb. 9, 10:30 a.m.Centennial Hall Loos Room, 733 N. Eighth St.10-cent Used Book SaleUsed book sale sponsored by the Friends of the Milwaukee Public Library. All proceeds benefitthe library.Saturday, Feb. 9, 9 a.m.-4 p.m.Central LibraryFrom Page to StageLearn about Milwaukee Chamber Theatre’s new production Underneath the Lintel from directorC. Michael Wright and actor James Ridge.Saturday, Feb. 9, 2 p.m.Central LibraryBlack History Month EventsFeb. 9: Black History Month Book Club – Central (12-1 p.m.)Feb. 11: Black History Month Jeopardy – Zablocki (3:30-4:30 p.m.) Ages 6-12.Feb. 11: Black History Month Read-In – Center Street (4:30-7:30 p.m.)Feb. 11: Black History Month Read-In with Ald. Milele Coggs – M.L. King (5-6 p.m.)Feb. 11: Black History Month Read-In – Capitol (5-7:45 p.m.)Feb. 18-22: African-American Adventures at Washington Park Library (5-6 p.m.)Feb. 18: Black History Month Read-In – Mill Road (6-7 p.m.)Feb. 18: Black History Month Read-In – Villard Square (6:30-7:30 p.m.)Feb. 19: Black History Month Book Club – Central (6-7 p.m.)Feb. 21: A History of Jazz in America – Villard Square (3:30-5 p.m.)Feb. 26: Black History Month Jeopardy – East (6:30 p.m.) All ages.Feb. 27: Black History Month Jeopardy – Forest Home (5-6 p.m.) Ages 6-12.Feb. 27: Black History Month Jeopardy – Forest Home (6-7 p.m.) Teens.Feb. 27: Family Art Night: My Community – M.L. King (5:30-6:30 p.m.)*** SAVE THE DATE ***Feb. 9: Your Credit Report @ Atkinson Library – (3-4 p.m.)Feb. 10: Schuster’s & Gimbels: Milwaukee’s Beloved Department Stores – Central (2-4 p.m.)Feb. 11: Your Credit Report @ Mill Road Library – Mill Road (6-7:30 p.m.)Feb. 13: Teen Ice Cream Challenge – Bay View (5-6:30 p.m.)Feb. 13: So You’re Thinking About Going to College? – M.L. King (5:30-6:30 p.m.)Feb. 14: Small Business Resources 101 – Central (12-1 p.m.)Feb. 18: Super Science for Super Kids – Center Street (2-3:30 p.m.)Feb. 19: Treasures of the Great Lakes Marine Collection – Central (11:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m.)Feb. 19: Build It! – Capitol (4-5:30 p.m.)Feb. 20: Food is Fuel! – Villard Square (4-5:30 p.m.)Feb. 20: Bilingual Family Play Date – Zablocki (6-7 p.m.)Feb. 21: Researching Your Family Tree – Central (12-1 p.m.)Feb. 21: Food is Fuel! – Bay View (4-5:30 p.m.)Feb. 21: Move Your Body! – M.L. King (4-5:30 p.m.)Feb. 23: Skeins of Milwaukee – Central (1:30-3:30 p.m.)Feb. 28: Patent Searching 101 – Central (12-1 p.m.)
by Mikel Kwaku Osei Holt
For the past decade or so, about 30 to 40 local Black families have traveled to a small, nondescript little town outside Green Bay for a weekend of ‘Play, Praise and Partying.’ Unless natives of the exclusively White city happen to travel by the corner section of the resort where we congregate, they probably would never know we’ve invaded their segregated township. But if they get within a few hundred feet of our lodge they would immediately realize the music blaring isn’t the Polka and the floor isn’t shaking from folks engaged in a square dance. That, however, would probably be the only encounter they would have with us, as most of us rarely venture outside the confines of the resort. Not because we’re inhospitable, but more so because our days and nights are filled with activities.
For three days, a largely isolated section of the resort is converted to 1970 Black Milwaukee, complete with that era’s music and sense of community. It’s a special event, generally held, appropriately, the weekend before the Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday.
Usually there’s snow on the ground, covering the resort golf course, and limiting outside activities. But that’s not a handicap, since most of rarely venture outside anyway.
We assemble to party and play in limited space indoors, and even if the heat were off I suspect we’d warm of the housing unit just the same.
There’s generally about four to six ‘party suites,’ each with its own flavor, but essentially overlapping theme. There’s always concurrent bid whist and other games, DJs blasting their interpretation of 70s and 80s music and enough food to feed a small church after a two-hour sermon.
The adjoining rooms allow for movement from event to event, and since we’re all clustered together—separate bed rooms of course—we’re always just a stone’s throw of a different experience with a host of assorted friends. You gotta’ participate to fully appreciate the experience. It’s a full weekend of rejuvenation, reminiscence and old-fashioned fellowship. By the time you leave on Sunday morning, your jaws are tight from laughter, you mind is reeling from memories renewed and your stomach is swollen from a feast of fine foods covering the soul food spectrum.
OK, most of us will drink a little here and there. That too is part of the social structure. But no drugs are allowed, and in fact, don’t bring the cheap bottom shelf stuff.
In fact, there’s no store brought food allowed either. Every couple brings their signature dish, which this year ranged from my super hot and spicy hot wings, to Curt’s 24-inch crab legs, Harper’s Midwest clam chowder, and Sara’s Monkey Bread. Chances are you can’t fully partake of all of the various dishes, although many of us try.
Before the first of several meals, we always gather for a cycle of friendship, which also provides the foundation for our praise reports and prayer. The circle may not be uniquely African, but it is the essence of our culture; for the circle means there is no beginning and no end. It means we are all an equal part of the whole; linked by a higher being and a grand purpose. It is during this libation that we give praise for our good health; for our commonality. For our friendship. For allowing us to meet again. For the president and world peace. For unity of purpose and prosperity, amid all that is happening—and not happening— 80 miles south.
Each year the circle grows as others are admitted to join; adding and enriching those who share the common cultural thread that bends us all. After our libation, we party. Hearty. Bid whist at several tables. Board games command other tables. Loud talk and smackin’ fill the room. Stories morph into imaginable tales (that’s not lying). Reminiscing about the good ole days. Current politics. Community happenings. What’s wrong with today’s generation? What’s right with them? How we survived, and the foundation we laid.
All of this to the beat…. the drum beat…the trumpet, the guitar, a tenor sax and the piano—sweet soul music, the harmony that connects our people, the descendents of the Motherland. The music, played by alternating DJs has a common cord, even if the rhythms are as unique as the performers. Mostly oldies, message music, classic Soul and R&B, some jazz and a little blues…down home and some of that ‘does my ring hurt your finger when you go out at night’ stuff. Not my cup of tea, but everybody gets into it, because we share a common history and overlapping memories of the good ole days.
As they do when Marvin Gaye is asking ‘What’s Going on? Or James Brown reminding us to “Be Black and Proud.” Can’t help but tap your feet and collect yourself when Curtis Mayfield declares “We’re a Winner,” or proclaims, “We’re Moving on Up.” Of course we get off on a little Usher and Beyonce, but the DJs always find their way back to the oldies that spark vivid memories. Some may not appreciate our ‘old timers’ weekend.’ But most of us are over 50 and the world we grew up in is vastly different from the Black community most of us left on Thursday or Friday. We grew up in segregated schools and neighborhoods. Discrimination was legal during my youth and there were never any doubt that the wall of apartheid was there even if you couldn’t see it.
But there were many positives. Neighbors actually knew it other. Our teachers, ministers, lawyers and doctors were our neighbors, because in the Milwaukee we grew up in, the walls of apartheid were highly visible.
Nonetheless, we survived in part because we were a community; we shared and cared. We didn’t lock our doors, and nobody ever went hungry. When someone on the block couldn’t pay the rent, we held rent parties. And as in African and Indian cultures, everybody was your mother, and didn’t hesitate to beat your behind if you strayed off the path.
Back in the day, the majority of girls were virgins entering adulthood (or at least we thought). Boys made it through high school without ‘getting any,’ at least from the ‘good girls.’ If a sister got pregnant, she disappeared for five months and came back home with a niece.
That may sound strange to people today, but we grew up Christian; morality was important and Black nuclear families—however poor—were the foundation, following by extended family and then community.
Back in the day, civil rights activities empowered us, and we watched our parents chaining themselves to bulldozers to force the public school system to allow us to attend ‘desegregated’ schools. We were expected to continue the fight, and most of us did.
We fought for each other–for our race–and there was no jealousy if a child down the street made it out, went to college. Education wasn’t only for nerds or White people as some youth feel today. Hell, we contributed our nickels and dimes for the neighborhood kids to go to school, because his or her educational growth, it was a source of pride for all of us.
Think about that reality and you might better understand the people who attend our annual retreat and the mindset we share. Our history is part of us, as was the beat, the bush and the battle.
So between bites of good food, slamming down that trump card or singing along to the Temptations or Smokey, we talked about the good ole days and how we can bring a sense of that unity and purpose to today’s society. We take pride in our battle scars, whether they came from a Southside kid who hit us in the head with a brick during the open housing marches, or from bumping our head against the lamp during a ‘blue or red light’ party in somebody’s basement.
Yeah, it was an enriching, entertaining and reinvigorating weekend. Each year we bring someone new, someone younger into the mix. That’s something we should really focus on because ours are stories, not just bout civil rights and survival, but of the music, our mission and our muse.
Clinical depression—in women or men—can cause sadness and a loss of interest in once pleasurable activities. But depression can sometimes manifest in different ways in different people.
While the symptoms used to diagnose depression are the same regardless of gender, often the chief complaint can be different among men and women.
You can’t go after one symptom, but instead have to assess a group of symptoms. Here are signs of depression in men.
Although men don’t always talk about feelings of depression, depression in men is common. Learn about the symptoms of clinical or major depression in men
Instead of seeming down, men who are depressed often show signs of irritability. If they talk about an emotional component, it could be sadness with irritability. In addition, negative thoughts are a common aspect of depression. Men will report feeling irritable because they are having negative thoughts constantly.
Men might be more likely to report symptoms of depression as stress. It’s not that they have more stress; it’s that it’s more socially acceptable to report it. Stress and depression can also travel a two-way street. It’s accurate to say that feeling stressed can be an indicator of having clinical depression but also be part of the cause. Research has shown that prolonged exposure to stress can lead to changes both in the body and brain, which can in turn lead to depression.
Anger or hostility
Some men manifest depression by being hostile, angry, or aggressive. A man who realizes something is wrong may need to compensate by demonstrating that he is still strong or capable. Anger and hostility are different than irritability. Anger tends to be a stronger emotion. Irritability is a crankiness. Men can also become hostile when they have withdrawn as a result of their depression and feel under pressure by friends or family to rejoin society.
Depression is a common reason for loss of desire and erectile dysfunction (ED), and it’s one symptom that men are inclined not to report. Performance problems can come from depression and make depression worse. However, ED can be the result of other medical conditions or medications (including antidepressants), and ED by itself does not signal depression.
Substance abuse frequently accompanies depression. Research has shown that alcoholics are almost twice as likely to suffer from major depression as people without a drinking problem. It can happen for both men and women, but using drugs or alcohol to mask uncomfortable feelings is a strategy many men will employ instead of seeking health care. There’s a cultural bias of, ‘I should be able to fix this myself and so I’ll use what chemicals I have available to me to do that.
Psychomotor retardation can slow down a man’s ability to process information, thereby impairing concentration on work or other tasks. Depression fills one with negative thoughts, almost like an intrusion. You’re slowed down and constantly thinking about negative things in your world. As a result it makes it very difficult to focus on anything. Depression is as a form of reversible brain failure.
People who are depressed undergo a series of physical and emotional changes. They can experience fatigue, as well as psychomotor retardation, or a slowing down of physical movements, speech, and thought processes. Men are more likely than women to report fatigue and other physical symptoms of depression as their chief complaints.
Sleeping too much or too little
Sleep problems—such as insomnia, waking up very early in the morning, or excessive sleeping—are common depression symptoms. [Some people] sleep 12 hours a day and still feel exhausted or toss and turn and wake up every two hours.
Like fatigue, sleep troubles are one of the main symptoms that depressed men may discuss with their doctor, experts say.
Stomachache or backache
Health problems such as constipation or diarrhea, as well as headaches and back pain, are common in people who are depressed. But men often don’t realize that chronic pain and digestive disorders go hand in hand with depression, according to focus groups conducted by the National Institute of Mental Health. People who are depressed do genuinely feel bad physically.
People from all walks of life experience mental illness. They often feel alone and many do not know where to turn. But there is help.
The United Way-funded Grand Avenue Club supports people dealing with mental illness; not only through job placement, education, and recreational activities, but by making them feel valued and accepted in our community.
“Grand Avenue Club has helped me feel more comfortable about waking up and facing the day with goals and intentions,” says Jonathan, who was initially shy when he joined the program in 2010.
He quickly gravitated toward the Culinary Unit and was offered a temporary position at Outpost Natural Foods.
He attended work support meetings and eventually became less anxious and more willing to engage others. Soon Outpost hired him as a regular employee, and eventually he was named “employee of the month.”
Jonathan has also let his creative side come to life and exhibits paintings at the club’s art gallery. He describes his current circumstances as “a full life – paid work, art, friends and volunteer work at two places that I care about.”
Jonathan says he is thankful that Grand Avenue Club was there to help him. “No matter your situation, having a place to find yourself is what really matters.” To hear more about Jonathan, visit www.UnitedWayMilwaukee.org.