Madison East graduate and UW-Madison senior Sirena Flores has started a higher education GoFundMe for Tony Robinson’s youngest brother, Malik Robinson, a recent graduate of Madison La Follette High School who is pursuing higher education.
“I’ve known Malik his entire life and I’ve watched him grow up,” Flores tells Madison365. “I’ve watched him go from angry and reserved and quiet and shy to really coming out of his shell and becoming vibrant and a leader and somebody who speaks up.
“I consider him family and I understand the specific struggles that his family deals with,” she adds.
Flores hopes to raise $10,000 for Malik for her gofundme that she has just started.
“I am always inspired by Malik’s perseverance. He has battled much adversity in his high school career; including grieving the death of his older brother. Though homeless his sophomore year, he still maintained a strong work ethic,” Flores wrote on the gofundme page. “I am so proud of his resilience, his strength, and his determination. I’ve watched Malik flourish into a radiant young man. Let’s support Malik build a strong foundation for his college career.”
Robinson was the captain of the linebackers for the Madison La Follette football team, Flores says.
“He’s always been on top of his football and on top of his schoolwork. Even through times of great instability, he has always found his root in high school,” she says. “High school has been his base: no matter what is going on outside of school, when he steps into school that’s his base, his stability.”
Flores, 22, is a senior at UW-Madison majoring in political science and sociology with a minor in African Studies. She is a young and active community leader in Madison who also works as a caretaker and volunteers as a Big Sister in her spare time.
In March of 2015, her good friend, Tony Robinson, was killed by Madison police at his residency on Williamson Street on Madison’s near east side.
“That’s when I saw Malik close off a lot, when his brother died. He became more reserved. But high school really opened up that shell,” Flores says. “I know it was hard for him. He really suffered and had a lot of struggles. His brother’s death became a motivator for him to succeed. He’s been determined to focus.”
Robinson has earned a scholarship award to Madison College where he will attend in the fall and his goal is to eventually transfer to UW-Milwaukee.
“He has a small award from Madison College but that doesn’t cover the cost of living, cost of transportation, books, and other materials,” Flores says. “He’d also like to transfer to UW-Milwaukee and there’s no guarantee how to pay for that.
“Nothing is too small or too big. Everything is appreciated. It will be something for him to have a strong foundation so he can focus on school and be able to provide for himself during school so finances won’t be such a barrier … because he’s had so many barriers already,” Flores adds. “With support and with structure, he is really excelling. I believe Malik has unlimited potential.”