53206 says “Help us!”

53206 youth suffering

Youth Leader’s outcries for a better future for the youth in the 53206 zip code area in a Lutheran church are a reflection of a sad reality.

From Urban Milwaukee:

Youth leader Tracey Davis told a crowd that filled Incarnation Lutheran Church on a recent rainy evening that the young people in the 53206 Zip code are suffering.

“Help us!” she implored the adults in the room. “We are your future leaders. Ask for our opinions, advice, perspective.”

As she named the problems that plague them, four young men walked down the aisle bearing a casket on their shoulders.

“Goodbye mass incarceration, homelessness, violence. There have been too many tears, too much blood shed …” Davis intoned.

At the altar, a “pallbearer” opened the empty casket and Davis invited youth participants to place inside index cards on which they had written words and phrases such as “poverty,” “stray bullets,” “poor schools,” “drugs.”

The symbolic funeral for issues that oppress young people took place at the end of the recent “I Am 53206” march organized by the young adults who make up Milwaukee Inner City Congregations Allied for Hope’s (MICAH) Holy Ground Youth and Young Adult Organizing Project. About 250 people participated in the event.

Working to address the city’s racial and economic disparities, the group is outlining “a set of concrete policy solutions shaped by young people in the Milwaukee community who are impacted by these inequities,” according to youth leader Elisha Branch, who also spoke at the church.

Citing statistics that illustrate inequality in poverty rates, black male incarceration and black-white achievement gaps, Branch said, “We believe this must end now. … We are committed to shaping a better Milwaukee.”

Read more at Urban Milwaukee