By Mrinal Gokhale
As the founder of Coalition for Justice, Nate Hamilton has actively kept the death of his brother Dontre Hamilton relevant to the community as a reminder of the present state of racial profiling and police brutality.
Most recently, he performed an emotional song about the way his brother was murdered in the Red Arrow Park by a police officer.
Hamilton was just one of 15 performers on the evening of Jul 25, at the Black Lives Matter Art Showcase at All People’s Church located at 2600 N. 2nd St. He coordinated this event with Markasa Chambers of The Alternative and raised a little over $400 for the Coalition for Justice.
“Coalition for Justice is a grassroots organization focused on letting people know their rights and hold policemen accountable,” said Hamilton.
“My song tells a synopsis of Dontre being murdered by a police officer and how he was stereotyped as homeless because he’s black.”
About 150 people attended at the peak of the night, as many others came in and out of the humid church room. Others showcased songs, raps, spoken word, praise dances and poetry on social justice issues like homelessness and police brutality. Chambers feels Signature Dance Company, a local dance ministry for women, was the most memorable because they got a standing ovation.
The level two dancers performed a modern dance to ‘Glory’ by John Legend, a song imagining a day when equality is achieved in the world.
Chambers, who is also involved with Coalition for Justice, founded The Alternative in December 2011, with the mission to gather with fellow Christians to glorify God through service, arts and fellowship.
She has held open mic nights for Christian praise dancers, poets and singers in bars throughout Greater Milwaukee, and felt this event was a chance for more people to display their talents.
“I wanted to bring open mic night performers at a different space than the bar, and I also wanted to give others a chance to come forward. Everyone was welcome whether their piece is biblical or not,” she said.
In addition to raising funds for the Coalition for Justice, Hamilton and Chambers hoped to encourage more people to join.
This event was the first joint effort between the organizations, and they chose All People’s Church because the COJ holds mass meetings there on Wednesdays. “I loved seeing young people, children, elderly, blacks, white, different religions, and beliefs joining under one roof together to support the Hamilton family, the Coalition for Justice, The Alternative and Black Lives Matter,” said Chambers.
Chambers said that she received a lot of positive feedback on the event.
“At the end, a young lady said she knew she had potential inside her from God, but she wanted the courage to be able to use those gifts like the people she saw go forth that day.”