Bus journey from Milwaukee begins

January 19, 2009 by JSOnline — When you start a daylong bus ride on Monday just after midnight, the first order of business is getting some sleep.

So a group of Milwaukee area residents who teamed up and chartered a bus to head to the inauguration is just waking up. They’re somewhere in Ohio and haven’t stopped for breakfast yet, said Cozette McLemore, who works with the Running Rebels, an organization that runs an intensive probation program for young offenders. Read Article


Wisconsin man, others will attend swear-in of first black President

January 16, 2009 by JSOnline — Felmers Chaney is 90 years old. Over the course of his life, he has seen African-Americans fight Jim Crow laws, march for civil rights and, in many cases, gain national prominence. On Tuesday, the Milwaukee resident will see one more racial barrier fall with the inauguration of America’s first black president. “I just didn’t think I would live long enough to see someone who looks like me be president,” said Chaney, who will be among the millions of people gathered outside the U.S. Capitol to watch Barack Obama take the oath of office. Read Article


Keeping things safe

January 16, 2009 by JSOnline — A “snitch” is one of the worst names you can be called in some circles. Where it should never apply as an insult is if you’re a student sharing information with Violence Free Zone advisers. This is less a case of betrayal than one of reducing violence in Milwaukee Public Schools. And it represents knowing the difference between right and wrong. These VFZ advisers – from the Latino Community Center and Running Rebels Community Organization – not only jump into the middle of confrontations to make schools safer, but they act as mentors and counselors. Even the school’s troublemakers have come to respect them.
Read Article


Program helps battle violence in Milwaukee schools

January 13, 2009 by JSOline — When Robert Roberson graduated from Bay View High School in the 1990s, he remembers most of his peers feared punishment. But when Roberson, now 30, returned to Bay View last year for a job as a youth adviser – a position created in some Milwaukee public high schools as part of a new, national school violence reduction model – one of Bay View’s burliest troublemakers punched him. Despite the tough work environment for Roberson and other new youth advisers, their role in what’s known as the Violence-Free School Zone initiative appears to be having a positive impact, according to a new study by researchers at Baylor University.

The research indicates that schools with the Violence-Free School Zone initiative have reduced the number of reported violent and nonviolent incidents in school, as well as the number of student suspensions, when compared with other high schools that don’t have the program. Dovetailing on the release of the study Tuesday was an announcement by MPS Superintendent William Andrekopoulos that student suspensions throughout the district are down more than a quarter in the first half of the 2008-’09 school year, when compared with the same time period a year earlier. According to district data, MPS has issued 9,000 fewer suspensions this year, with particular improvement in seventh, eighth and ninth grades. Read Article


New Fresh Coast Classic basketball tourney

September 10, 2007 by OnMilwaukee.com — The Badger Hockey Showdown left Milwaukee years ago and this season Marquette University will forgo its annual “Blue and Gold Classic.” So, what are we sports fans to do? How about a new basketball tournament that also includes family entertainment and youth development initiatives? OnMilwaukee.com has learned that a new men’s college basketball tournament will be officially announced tomorrow. Officials hope this new “Fresh Coast Classic” will become “a new Thanksgiving tradition.”

According to VISIT Milwaukee, “It’s a college basketball tournament (featuring four out-state teams) and a new tourism event that will hopefully become a holiday tradition for Milwaukee; it’s an event that exposes Milwaukee youth to college opportunities through a recruitment fair; it’s good food, entertainment, city tours and more.” Read Article


Youth focus of Black History Month

February 22, 2007 by Workers World — The war on the Black Nation within the United States, particularly on the youth and how to fight back, sparked lively discussion at two Black History Month events at the U. of Wisconsin Milwaukee. Speaking before a packed room of multinational campus members, representatives from three community-based Milwaukee youth organizations spoke Feb. 13 on “The Reality of African-American youth.” On Feb. 15, M1 of the hip hop group Dead Prez also spoke at the university.

The chair for both events, Dr. Ahmed Mbalia, an assistant professor in the department of Africology and a member of the Pan African Revolutionary Socialist Party, began the Feb. 13 panel discussion by describing the effects of institutional racism confronting African Americans, specifically youth in Milwaukee, and nationwide. He described health care disparities, endemic poverty, unemployment rates which are double that of whites, failing schools and how African-American youth in Wisconsin are imprisoned at the highest rates in the nation. Read Article


Running Rebels to stay put

April 27, 2006 by Daily Reporter — For 25 years, Milwaukee’s Victor Barnett has made men out of boys through his inner-city Running Rebels Community Organization. Soon, Barnett and the Running Rebels will be able to stop running, as the organization announced Thursday its plans to build a permanent home for its powerhouse Amateur Athletic Union basketball teams, as well as its tutoring, mentoring, music and youth entrepreneurial programs.

“We had nationally ranked basketball teams and no gym space to practice,” Barnett said at the announcement. “Finally, we were lucky enough to be able to buy this building.” The $3.6 million renovation of the RRCO’s three-story 1300A Fond du Lac Ave. location, which RRCO purchased in 2005, will include a regulation high school basketball gymnasium and fitness center addition, nutrition center, cafeteria, library, computer room, recreation/media center and performance theatre. Read Article