By Dylan Deprey
Elmo and a Ninja Turtle did the “Nae Nae,” jump shots were sunk and funnel cakes were drenched in chocolate. All were in the spirit to help end the violence in Milwaukee.
The “Stop the Violence! Save Our Community, Save Our City” summer kickoff event was held at Onyx Social Club and Restaurant on Saturday, June 4.
Onyx owner Obiora Obi planned and hosted the event along with other organizations in the community.
“I wanted to bring together partners to show that we need to come together because that is what we need to do to end the violence,” Obi said. “It is not going to happen overnight but it has to start somewhere.”
Some of these groups included: WNOV 860 The Voice, Lena Taylor@PKSD, The Milwaukee Bucks, Feeding America, Core Cares Foundation, Running Rebels, Universal Companies, Mitchell Street Market and Our Power, Our Future.
Even with the scattered rain, there was no mistaking the party going on in the parking lot behind Oynx. The music was bumping with DJ Homer Blow on the ones-and-twos. The line for the pink castle bouncy house was as long as the line for the barbecue cooking in the corner.
Scattered within the festivities were resources for parents and children. At the entrance of the lot was an uninviting bunk bed, toilet and brick wall that sat in a trailer. The Phenomenal Men Support Group Inc. (PMSG) travels throughout Milwaukee with a life size prison cell to show young adults where they will end up when they break the law.
Billy Trammell is a member of PMSG and gave fairly quick tours of the cell. He said that the young men committing the crimes are not thinking about the future and the people they are going to effect.
“You know they see the older guys with their pants hanging and have that big bank roll, but life and quick money only lasts so long,” Trammell said.
Hanging outside of the cell was a graduation gown and a prison jumpsuit.
“These boys are still young; they can go mess around and become a number to the state, or they can go to school. After that, the sky is the limit,” Trammell said.
The screech of a whistle at the 3-on-3-basketball tournament could be heard over the booming bass. Teams from all around Milwaukee came to the hoops behind Oynx and battled it out on the slippery court. There were only a couple of breaks between games because of the rain.
DJ Homer Blow gave a shout out to all of the athletes who had played in the tournament.
“We hear that a lot of our young boys are getting a bad rap for a few bad apples in the community,” Blow said. “It is always beacon of light to highlight the young men and young boys who are doing the right thing.”
Common Council President Ashanti Hamilton was in attendance and also congratulated the winners of the tournament and acknowledged the positive things they can do in the community.
“It is good to see everybody out here supporting the kids that are in our community and to see everybody come out is a beautiful thing, and we need to do more of it,” Hamilton said.