The Rebel Family Expansion –

Thirty-sevenyears ago, the community organization Running Rebels began with a basketball court and about 50 kids.

“So they played here,” founder Victor Barnett said, pointing at asmall basketball court. “That was the office. That was the office — the tree.”

Barnett said the 20th and Olive location filled an immediate need — to compete with a neighborhood gang for young boys and teens, and since basketball was a magnet, the spot was perfect.


“Basketball over bullets:” Resurrected Midnight League gets young men off the streets, onto the court –

A popular sports league is returning to Milwaukee, but this program is about more than just three-pointers. Its main goal is to deter crime and help young men.

When it comes to having a sense of community, we all need to be on the same team. In an effort to engage young men, Milwaukee Public Schools officials, along with the City of Milwaukee leaders, officials with the Milwaukee Police Department, the Fire and Police Commission, the Milwaukee Bucks and Running Rebels came together tore-launch the Midnight Basketball League.


Midnight Basketball Leagues to Start in Milwaukee in March – WUWM

The Midnight Basketball Leagues will aim to attract young men ages 17 to 25 to offer them a healthy activity and a safe place to gather. During league sessions, the young men will also be able to connect with community resources such as help with recovering a driver’s license or finding employment, and they will be able to interact with police, who will offer mentoring opportunities…

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Lindsay Heights Lens: Neighborhood Strengths

There is a reason the youth saved the neighborhood strengths gallery for last: the pictures highlight some of Lindsay Heights’ most stunning and serene places to hang out and relax, and affirm what the youth have said all along: that there are a lot of strengths in the neighborhood, some immediately visible, and some where you have to look a little deeper. In this gallery of neighborhood strengths, the youth came up with themes of: community togetherness, resilience, “More life than I can see,” “keepin’ it clean,” beauty, healthy eating, indoor safe zones and outdoor safe zones.

Lindsay Heights Lens: Neighborhood Improvement

While the first gallery identified some of the challenges facing Lindsay Heights, another word that is increasingly associated with the neighborhood is “revitalization.” Here, the youth took photos of things that show signs of neighborhood improvement, and organizations that offer programs with positive spaces, role models and activities. In this gallery, the youth came up with themes of: “It’s getting Better/It’s working,” “Good things come to those who wait,” “Keep the Community Healthy,” and “Positive Programming.”

Lindsay Heights Lens: Neighborhood Challenges

This is the first of a series of four Neighborhood Lens galleries of photos taken by the Running Rebels Youth Advisory Council (YAC) as part of an adapted photovoice project. Photovoice is a participatory action research method where individuals and/or communities determine community challenges and strengths through photographic documentation. The photos are analyzed, discussed and categorized by the residents into themes that highlight areas of importance. Often used as a tool for community empowerment and for raising awareness to bring about social change, photovoice reinforces the importance of allowing residents and communities to determine what’s important and why through their own photos, discussions and words.

Half of the YAC members grew up in Lindsay Heights, and all of them spend significant time in Lindsay Heights through their proud affiliation with Running Rebels. The youth who grew up in Lindsay Heights served as our leaders, and picked specific neighborhood areas to visit. The youth were then allowed to wander and take photos. Later, the photos were printed and the youth reflected on questions from the first half of the Photovoice “SHOWED” analysis method, writing photo captions to highlight 1) what you first see in the photo 2) the deeper story behind the photo and 3) what this says about the community and why this is happening. The YAC members then shared the thought processes behind their photos with each other and determined bigger themes that connect the photos within categories of “neighborhood challenges,” “neighborhood improvement” and “neighborhood strengths.”

The YAC asked us to first feature the “Neighborhood Challenges” gallery and end with the “Neighborhood Strengths” gallery (a fourth gallery will focus on the YAC).

In the Neighborhood Challenges gallery, the youth came up with themes: “Broken,” “People don’t care how it looks — so it looks like we’re an uncaring community,” “Abandoned” and “Gang Territory.” They spoke to how the gallery of neighborhood challenges, while indicative of problems, also reflects how they hear Lindsay Heights described over and over again in the media. They hope that together, the galleries will educate people about challenges and motivate action, and also highlight neighborhood strengths that should be better publicized. After seeing the galleries, Running Rebels director Victor Barnett echoed the youths’ call to action and noted that the photos also suggest a need for greater communication between city officials and youth.

We hope you will check back each week to see the galleries that show other ways that YAC members see Lindsay Heights: as home, as a neighborhood with strong community organizations and vibrant beauty, and a neighborhood where the optimism of youth is one of its greatest strengths.