Monday marked the beginning of Milwaukee’s first-ever “MKE Peace Week,” an event dedicated to promoting peace throughout the city.
The event was created by Milwaukee Mayor Cavalier Johnson, with the help of community partners throughout Milwaukee, and the City’s Office of Violence Prevention, a program created under the umbrella of the City Health Department which provides “strategic direction and oversight for City efforts to reduce risk of violence,” according to its website.
The event that kicked off the week was Peace Walk, where city leaders joined in with community members to walk through South Side Milwaukee neighborhoods as a show of unity and commitment to reducing violence in the city.
A study by the Council of Criminal Justice found that in 2020, violent crime increased by 42% in the summer months in the US. Milwaukee is no exception to this, as violence is known to increase during the summer months. On that front, community leaders agree that MKE Peace Week comes at an important time as the school year draws to a close and the temperature rises.
“It [The Walk] is symbolic of the continuing efforts to reduce violence in our neighborhoods throughout Milwaukee,” Mayor Johnson tweeted on May 19th.
Events continue throughout the week, engaging the community to discuss the issues facing the city and provide resources. Tuesday’s event takes place at Roosevelt Middle School in Milwaukee, where students will lead an audience in a peace pledge, which will then transition into a panel discussion that will be livestreamed.
Wednesday events include a faith-based breakfast and panel discussion which aim to explore how places of worship can help contribute to a safer Milwaukee, and the avenues of collaboration that can help that take place.
On Thursday, May 25th there will be two of the week’s biggest events, including a Gun Violence Summit in downtown Milwaukee. The gun violence summit is hosted by Forward Latino, a national advocacy organization that describes itself as, a “diverse national network of Latina/o/x community leaders addressing the civic, economic, and political challenges of the 21st century.” The City of Milwaukee describes the event as the “premiere gun violence prevention conference in the Midwest.”
It will include panelists with a multitude of perspectives of gun violence, like gun violence survivors, and experts on the issue. Different informative sessions within the event plan to address gun violence in our communities in all forms, in schools, places of worship, domestic violence situations and how it affects young people.
“Real Men, Real Talk,” which will take place on Thursday night and focus on the negative effects of domestic violence. The panel discussion will take place at Milwaukee City Hall and be livestreamed on City Channel 25. Panelists include David Muhammad, Deputy Director of the Milwaukee County Department of Health & Human Services; Jeffery Norman, Milwaukee Police Department Chief; Barry Phillips, Milwaukee County Court Commissioner; Andre Lee Ellis, The CAGE; and Gaulien Smith, the owner and operator of Gee’s Clippers.
On Friday, Mayor Johnson will hold a press conference with UNCOM and other non-profit organizations about the Safe MKE Initiative and the weekend includes two events that engage the community. On Saturday, the nonprofit Heal the Hood MKE will host a resource fair from noon-6 p.m. and on Sunday the mayor will conduct church visits in the community.
The full schedule of events for MKE Peace Week can be found here: https://city.milwaukee.gov/mayor/MKEpeaceweek