We heard great news re Milwaukee’s Juneteenth Celebrations. Milwaukee is the city with the longest history of its commemoration. I attribute that to the leadership of our African American community leaders. Congratulations.
Let me share a writing I did last year but didn’t publish it for concern it would be misunderstood. But after hearing the good news I felt it was time to do it.
It hurts when Milwaukee is referred to as the most segregated city in the nation. Allow me to share my perspective. People might disagree or criticize, but let’s put a light on this issue in defense of our city and its history.
As a young Polish girl growing up on the South Side of Milwaukee, I knew we lived there because most Germans lived on the East North Side. Italians lived in the 3rd Ward and Mexicans lived near 5th and National. Blacks lived on the western North Side. I would never think of moving to other areas.
Taboos existed. For example, after WWII Polish families would not allow their children to date or marry Germans. Although time heals old taboos new ones come with new immigrants.
The Muslim population growth is coming to the South Side near their Mosque at 13th and Layton Avenue. People want to be with people who share the same language, religion and traditions. It’s done for comfort. I am sure children will not be encouraged to date other groups.
In our last Census an article appeared re people of mixed nationalities and races increasing and not falling into just one category. That creates diversity. This comes, from my observation, when we become 3rd Generation Americans.
The difference with Black Americans is they were forced to come. We are well aware of our Black Community’s suffering; this does not take away their pain. Families were torn apart by selling members. No assimilation. Their young, 3rd or 4th generations are making changes today.
We need to acknowledge that we are, or were before CoVid, the city with every ethnic Fest on Summerfest Grounds. I do not know any other cities that can make this claim.
Are we racists or are we a city of ethnicity?
Let’s celebrate our diversity and the city we love, flaws and all.