Following the events of this past weekend, we all saw Milwaukee at one of its darkest moments. However, our love for our city and our zeal to ensure a brighter tomorrow obligates us to come together at this moment.
All communities must do their respective parts. More so, the black community must unify. To many onlookers it may be perceived that the black community came together this past Saturday night, but that is not the case. Saturday night was a manifestation of hopelessness, irritation and frustration. It is very true that with every action, there is a reaction. But not every action leads to a solution, and a solution is what we are searching for.
In order for the black community to make substantial headway in its endeavors, Milwaukee cannot and must not have another repeat of Saturday night. I am calling on everyone to gather that same energy, anger, and motivation and direct it toward strategically addressing the root causes of the issues.
Collectively we have the power to right wrongs. However, we must use our brains, we must think. I encourage our city to step out of the shackles that have limited our minds and constrained our possibilities for far too long. The mission will be tough and the climb will be strenuous, but there has never been any great undertaking that hasn’t extracted its due portion of sweat, tears and labor upon the victor. I am calling on all of us, from the residents on the north side to the south side, blacks, whites, Latinos, and Asians, the rich and the poor, to stand up and demand that we invest in the discussions, policies, and actions that will produce the Milwaukee that we all can be proud of.
I also issue a special charge to Milwaukee’s youth: I ask you to think before you act. I encourage you to think of what outcome you want to see and ask yourself if the action you are about to partake in will yield that result. Trust me, as your peer I understand that screaming voice that yells from deep inside your gut that tells you that no one is listening.
But I also know that if we lead by example, everyone will take notice. We have to be the change we want to see.
Kalan R. Haywood II is the president of the City of Milwaukee Youth Council.