Summer of Peace Rally in Sherman Park on July 26

On Friday, July 26 youth, families and community organizations from all parts of the city will come together in Washington Park for a unique event showcasing and celebrating their collective work to prevent violence: the Summer of Peace Parade and Peace Rally. The annual Rally was created by and for youth and is now in its eleventh year.

At 10:00 a.m., the colorful Summer of Peace All City Parade starts the day in Washington Park on the corner of Lisbon, Lloyd and Sherman Boulevard, proceeding north on Sherman Boulevard into Sherman Park. Children, youth, community members and professional artists created the giant puppets and floats accompanied by dancers and music around the theme of “Peace and Sustainability” –developed in workshops conducted by Milwaukee Public Theatre and Milwaukee Mask and Puppet Theatre.

From 11:00 a.m. to 3 PM the Summer of Peace Rally will take place in Sherman Park. It will be a fun day of celebration and community connection. Most importantly, the event’s goal is to highlight youth-led efforts toward stemming Milwaukee’s tide of gun violence and fostering safe and healthy communities. The Peace Rally will feature popular DJ’s, musicians and entertainers,exhibits of youth workshop projects and public awareness campaigns, information and resource booths, and arts and crafts. Food will also be available for free to registrants and also for purchase.

Present & Past Participants/ Supporters of Summer of Peace participants include Sherman Park Neighborhood Association, Washington Park Partners, members of the Medical College of Wisconsin Violence Prevention Initiative, Peace Action, the Peace Learning Center, PACA (Pan-African Community Association), the Boys and Girls Clubs of Milwaukee, ACLU of Wisconsin, Safe and Sound, Milwaukee Public Theatre, Milwaukee Mask and Puppet Theatre, Our Next Generation, COA Youth & Family Center, United Neighborhood Centers of Milwaukee, the Urban Ecology Center, Running Rebels, True Skool, and many more.

The Summer of Peace All City Parade and Peace Rally is partially funded by the City of Milwaukee Arts Board, with support from the Wisconsin Arts Board and the National Endowment for the Arts, Milwaukee County CAMPAC, Greater Milwaukee Foundation Donald and Barbara Abert, Gerda A. Debelak and Mary Nohl Funds, Helen Bader Foundation, Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC), Max Fund, Medical College of Wisconsin Violence Prevention Initiative, Merrill Lynch, Milwaukee County Parks, MPS Partnership for the Arts, Neighborhood Improvement Development Corporation (NIDC), Shepherd Express, UPAF, United Way and many individuals.

Founded in 2002 by Tanya Cromartie-Byrd and Fidel Verdin, Summer of Peace 365 is a year-round peace arts program providing a platform for teens to create and promote principles of non-violence, racial justice and civic responsibility. Each year since, their work culminates with a public Parade and Peace Rally. This year, Summer of Peace 365 Park Series debuted in Chicago as part of Chicago’s “Night Out in the Parks,” initiative, which calls for 750 events to be held in neighborhood parks across the city. As you can see, a grassroots initiative which started in Milwaukee’s Gordon Park over ten years ago is growing beyond Milwaukee’s borders.

Milwaukee Public Theatre and Milwaukee Mask and Puppet Theatre will be offering free-to-the-public Make-A-Parade Workshops to make parade elements for Summer of Peace, the Milwaukee Latino Carnaval and other neighborhood celebrational events at Milwaukee Public Theatre’s Artivity Place in the Shops of Grand Avenue through July 24. Details are available at (414) 347- 1685,mptheatre2@gmail. com or Founded in 1974, Milwaukee Public Theatre (MPT) designs, produces and presents over 1,000 programs and events annually to engage the public in learning about issues which impact their lives: health, employment, education, citizenship and environmental stewardship. Working with over 150 community serving agencies yearly, MPT artists lead workshops and activities in the visual, performing and wellness arts for all ages, cultures and abilities.