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The Riverwest 24 is finding new ways to uplift community during the pandemic

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On the last Friday in July, I am usually getting my bike and gear, costume included, ready for what some Milwaukeeans have come to call “The People’s Holiday” – the Riverwest 24. It is one of my most favorite holidays of the year, but sadly this year, I, like the 2,000 other annual participants, won’t be riding.

This 24-hour volunteer-led bike race started in 2007 and goes through Milwaukee’s Riverwest and Harambee neighborhoods. It is a celebration of community, with points scored for every lap completed, but also offering additional points for each bonus checkpoint completed. Bonus checkpoints are opportunities for the riders to engage with their community directly through activities like sifting compost with Kompost Kids, purchasing food items for the Riverwest Food Pantry, cheering on the kids at the Kids 24 (a quick 24-minute bike race), or painting a map on one of the local schools’ concrete.

Participants also have the opportunity to eat dinner together before the race and breakfast together early Saturday morning at All People’s Church. The Riverwest 24 offers a plethora of ways for riders, volunteers, and viewers to build community and to recognize how wonderful that community is.

This year, the Riverwest 24 leadership team made the difficult decision, like many other annual events, to not host an in-person race. However, they are still finding ways to support and uplift Milwaukee and continue to build community. Individuals can still register as a participant and receive a custom t-shirt, designed by local artist, Alex Scott. All of the funds raised by the race this year will be distributed to local organizations – Ayuda Mutua MKE, Leaders Igniting Transformation (LIT), Milwaukee Freedom Fund, Black Leaders Organizing for Communities (BLOC), Mothers for Justice United, Wisconsin Voices, and Diverse & Resilient.

2020 Riverwest24 T-Shirt Design by Alex Scott

While pre-registration is closed, you are still able to purchase a shirt and support these local organizations today from 2-7 p.m. at Garden Park, located on the corner of Bremen Street and Locust Street. Masks are required and hand sanitizer and washing stations will be provided. To learn more about this year’s Riverwest 24, visit their Facebook page.

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Company Brewing releases Black is Beautiful beer to support BLOC and racial justice

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Can beer make a difference when it comes to racial justice? Milwaukee’s Company Brewing will answer that question with the release of a beer called Black is Beautiful.

Milwaukee’s Company Brewing is one of over 1,000 breweries from around the world to take part in the Black is Beautiful Beer initiative. The initiative was started by a Texas Black-owned brewery called Weathered Souls. They invited any brewery to participate by brewing their recipe for an imperial stout. The participating breweries would then have to donate 100% of the beer’s proceeds to a local organization that fights for racial justice or supports equality and inclusion.

Company Brewing will start selling the beer on July 16 and 100% of the proceeds will be donated to BLOC (Black Leaders Organizing For Communities).

“A lot of breweries put their own twist on the recipe. We brewed the recipe exactly as it was provided by Weathered Souls Brewing Co. and I’m really glad we did. It’s an awesome imperial stout,” said Company Brewing’s owner George Bregar

Company Brewing will be selling 16 oz. four-packs of the beer at their location in Riverwest.

In addition to Company Brewing, there are other local breweries taking part in the Black is Beautiful Beer initiative including 1840 Brewing Co., Broken Bat Brewing Co., Good City Brewing, Third Space Brewing, and Component Brewing Co.

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The Brewers are set to open the 2020 season against the Cubs in shortened, 60-game schedule

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Joining the Milwaukee Bucks, who announced their schedule to return to play last week, the Brewers and their fans finally have dates, times and matchups to look forward to.

After weeks of negotiations between Major League Baseball and the MLB Player’s Association, on June 23, America’s pastime was mercifully announced to return in late July. Having originally been set to kick off at home four months ago at Miller Park, we now know that the Brewers season will begin in Chicago on July 24 along with the 59 other matchups making up the shortened season. This includes a home opener against the rival St. Louis Cardinals on July 31.

The 2020 season will focus much more on divisional play than normal in order to limit travel and see the Brewers solely face both their typical National League Central rivals and their American League equivalents. This includes series against the Chicago White Sox, Detroit Tigers, Minnesota Twins, Cleveland Indians and Kansas City Royals — teams which typically make up a much smaller percentage of a season for the Brew Crew (if they even face off at all).

Moreover, Milwaukee is also set to play an exhibition game against the White Sox on July 22 at Guaranteed Rate Field in Chicago at 7:20 p.m. in place of the exhibition series they were set to have against Kansas City at home in March.

The complete schedule is below.

facebook.com/brewers

For the sake of player’s safety, there have also been some noteworthy rule changes made including putting an automatic runner on second base in extra innings to speed the process up, no restrictions on position players pitching and perhaps most importantly, designated hitters will be used across the league in order to help pitchers stay healthy and provide players with additional at-bats. The universal DH rule is most relevant to the Brewers in regards to Ryan Braun as it provides him an opportunity to see more play entering into the final guaranteed year of his contract.

Despite having a schedule and rule changes which benefit the team, the season is still set to occur within a global pandemic and as manager Craig Counsell announced on Monday, shortstop Luis Urias and pitcher Angel Perdomo tested positive for COVID-19, prior to Summer Camp beginning at Miller Park. Although the two were declared asymptomatic and part of the encouraging 1.2% of positive cases across the MLB’s testing results as a whole, it still creates concerns as more players across the league opt out of the season and concerns over the testing program arise.

And yet, it’s hard not to get excited that Milwaukee is currently set to see baseball this year and provide some normalcy in a year which is anything but.

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The Brewers will offer another chance to join Miller Park’s ‘Cardboard Crew’ tomorrow

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Last Wednesday, the Brewers unexpectedly announced that fans would be able to purchase one of 500 limited tickets to a Brewers game this season. The catch? Instead of a seat for yourself, a $50 purchase would instead net you a cardboard cutout of yourself to be placed in seats in or around the infamous statue of the team’s historic play-by-play sportscaster, Bob Uecker, which sits in Section 422 of Miller Park.

Just as quickly as the announcement came on Wednesday, the cutouts (deemed the “Cutout Crew”) sold out in 90 minutes on Thursday. Given the unique circumstances of this season and the fact that a portion of the proceeds went to the Brewers Community Foundation, it’s easy to see why. If you missed your chance to secure your paper persona however, you’re in luck as due to “popular demand,” more cutouts will go on sale tomorrow, July 7, at 10 a,m.

The cutouts will once again cost $50 and see a portion of the proceeds benefitting the aforementioned community foundation. As explained on MLB.com, fans can upload a photo online which will be transformed into a two-foot tall likeness with FOX Sports Wisconsin’s broadcasts of the games offering glimpses of the cardboard “Brew Crew” surrounding Uecker’s statue.

Among other guidelines, the team’s official site suggests participants wear team apparel, take a photo (not a selfie) against a solid-color background and only capture from your waist up.

The organization has made it clear that this is another limited opportunity and it’s safe to assume this batch of seats could sell out just as fast as the last. Moreover, given the uncertainty of fans being able to attend games at all this season and the fact that Miller Park will be becoming “American Family Field” in 2021, this may be your last opportunity to “attend” a game in Miller Park while it’s still under that famous moniker.

Instructions on securing a seat are available at brewers.com/cutoutcrew.

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The Bucks finally have a schedule to return — here are the matchups

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After playing their last game of the 2019-20 season nearly four months ago, the number one seed Milwaukee Bucks finally know when they can resume their dominant march toward the NBA Finals.

Late Friday evening, the NBA announced the schedule for all 22 teams returning to finish the 2019-20 season at Walt Disney World in a truly bizarre fashion. To make a rather complicated situation as simple as possible, these 22 teams will play eight final games selected from the regular season which was cut short by the pandemic in order to determine seeding going into a traditional playoff format consisting of 16 teams.

For Giannis and friends, the final regular season games will see them matchup against a host of formidable opponents and rivals from both the Eastern and Western conferences, making for a “can’t miss” stretch of games.

Friday, July 31 @ 5:30 p.m. – vs Boston Celtics

The last time the Bucks and Celtics fought in January of this year

The Bucks will see their first action against their longtime rivals, and current third best team in the Eastern Conference, the Boston Celtics. Throughout the 2019-20 season, the Bucks matched up against the Celtics in two highly competitive bouts, splitting the season series 1-1.

Despite knocking the Celtics out of the playoffs last season, Boston has notoriously had Milwaukee’s number throughout franchise history and ended the Bucks playoff hopes five out of the seven times they have matched up. This includes twice in the Eastern Conference Finals and once in the 1974 Finals, meaning this beef goes back a long way and will provide an intense test for the team to kick off the season’s comeback.

Sunday, Aug. 2 @ 7:30 p.m. – vs. Houston Rockets

The Bucks one and only matchup against the Rockets so far

Two days later, the Bucks will finally have a chance to face the Houston Rockets again after initially beating them in their house to open the season. Although the Rockets currently sit sixth in the Western Conference, the season opener saw the Bucks down 16 points at the half and demanded a triple-double of Giannis to defeat Houston. In other words, it was no easy feat.

Moreover, Giannis and Rockets’ star James Harden have developed something of a feud which has been simmering since 2019, largely stemming from Giannis winning MVP over Harden last season. Given that the feud has only continued to build since their one and only matchup so far this season, this game will be an exciting peak at their budding rivalry and another solid test for Milwaukee.

Tuesday, Aug. 4 @ 12:30 p.m. – vs. Brooklyn Nets

A dominant performance by the Bucks shut down Brooklyn last time they met

Like the Rockets, the Bucks have only faced the Nets once before this season — and it too resulted in a Bucks win. Unlike the first two matchups of the season however, Brooklyn is a much less proven opponent this season as they are barely hanging on to their seventh seed in the East with a record below .500.

While the Nets were heavily aided by former Celtic, Kyrie Irving, in their first matchup, Irving’s season was ended in February to undergo shoulder surgery and thus this contest should provide something of a break for the Bucks before a heated fourth matchup.

Thursday, Aug. 6 @ 3 p.m. – vs. Miami Heat

To open the season at Fiserv Forum, the Bucks fell to Miami in a heart wrenching OT loss

Despite being the current fourth seed in the East, Miami has toppled Milwaukee both times they matched up so far this season. This included a deflating overtime loss to open the season at Fiserv and an uncharacteristically low scoring affair in March where Milwaukee lost 89-105.

Although another loss to Miami would likely do little to affect the Bucks standings by the time playoffs come, it would be nice to see them finally conquer the Heat and set a precedent going into the playoffs, in case they come face-to-face again.

Saturday, Aug. 8 @ 7:30 p.m. – vs. Dallas Mavericks

Giannis posting a massive 48 points wasn’t enough to take down Dallas in December

The Dallas Mavericks may not be a name you think of when you think of “Milwaukee Bucks rivals” but perhaps they should be for this matchup alone. If you’re confused as to why, the Mavs were the team which snapped the Bucks’ historic 18-game winning streak in their sole contest of the 2019-20 season back in December. Further, that win came without Dallas’ star, Luka Doncic, who should be in top form for this bout.

Monday, Aug. 10 @ 5:30 p.m. – vs. Toronto Raptors

The Bucks statement making win over the Raptors in Toronto from Feburary

There may not be a team more Milwaukee fans want to see the Bucks beat than the Toronto Raptors. The Kawhi Leonard-led team bested the Bucks in the Eastern Conference Finals last year to go on and win the NBA Championship and despite losing their aforementioned Finals MVP to the Los Angeles Clippers, have remained a dominant force in the Eastern Conference.

On top of that, there is rapper Drake’s now infamous trolling which fueled the fire even more. And yet, as of now, the Bucks have had the last laugh, beating the Raptors soundly both times they have faced each other this season. But one more victory couldn’t hurt, right?

Tuesday, Aug. 11 @ 8 p.m. – vs. Washington Wizards

In spite of an injured Giannis, the Bucks won their January game against the Wizards by 20 points with Middleton posting a career-high 51 points.

As dangerous as it can be to underestimate your opponent in any contest, if there was an opponent the Bucks could think least about in the lead up to Orlando, it may be the Washington Wizards. Not only have the Bucks beat the Wizards in both of their contests this season leading up to this point, but Washington is the team with the worst record heading into Disney at 24-40.

It wouldn’t be surprising to see this game used as an opportunity to rest players going into the final regular season game, but even so, that could make for a peak at the Bucks oft-overlooked depth.

Thursday, Aug. 13 @ TBD – vs. Memphis Grizzlies

Back in December, the Bucks last faced the Grizzlies and secured their 17th consecutive win at Memphis’ expense

Milwaukee’s regular season will end against the Memphis Grizzlies as opposed to the originally scheduled Brooklyn Nets. Having only played once before this season in December, and ending in the Bucks’ 17th consecutive win at the time, this game will provide Milwaukee a chance to secure another season series sweep and create some final momentum heading into the playoffs proper.

The first six games will all be broadcast nationally and the Bucks have announced that FOX Sports Wisconsin will also televise a number of games as well, although the specific games are not yet announced. The typical broadcast team of Jim Paschke, Marques Johnson and Zora Stephenson will return. Moreover, Ted Davis will return to call each game on WTMJ and the BMO Bucks Radio Network. More details on how to watch the games can be found here.

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How Black techies are celebrating Juneteenth and fighting for racial justice

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Today is Juneteenth which to many is considered America’s second independence for African-Americans. On June 19, 1865, two months after the Confederate defeat and almost three years after Lincoln delivered the Emancipation Proclamation, a quarter of million former slaves in Texas learned of their freedom. And it was on this day these former slaves celebrated their newfound freedom. African-Americans around the country have been celebrating this date for years.

And in 2020 because of the protests and fight for racial justice, Juneteenth has become even more important. Corporations, states and cities have officially called Juneteenth a holiday and that includes big tech companies like Facebook, Google, Twitter. And a lot of these companies just learned the meaning of Juneteenth. While these gestures are appreciated, these tech companies have not done a good job with diversity and inclusion internally.

In a recent NPR story, Black people in Silicon Valley are demanding more from tech giants and startups when it comes to racial justice.

And that is why some Black techies are doing what they need to do bring attention to the issues in tech industry this Juneteenth. Here is a list of four virtual Juneteenth Black tech events that are taking place. From addressing mental health to addressing bias in A.I. to representation in gaming, there is something for everyone.

Juneteenth Conference

Juneteenth Conference is a free virtual tech conference made for and featuring Black people in technology. The conference celebrates Black Excellence and promotes community for Black people who are severely underrepresented in the tech industry.

This two-day conference features panels like Empowered by Imposter Syndrom, Combatting Bias in Machine Learning and Innovating on OUR STEM Education.

Day of Healing with Black Girls Code

Self-care and self-preservation are acts of liberation. In observance of Juneteenth, we wanted to create a safe space where our community could feel heard, nurtured and free. Join Black Girls CODE virtually on June 19 for a day of healing through the arts and conversation featuring poets Aja Monet, Chinaka Hodge and facilitator Autumn Brown. The event is free.

RSVP here: bit.ly/bgcjuneteenth

Juneteenth 4.0 Celebration

The Fourth Industrial Revolution represents a fundamental change in the way we live, work and relate to one another. It is a new chapter in human development, enabled by extraordinary technology advances commensurate with those of the first, second and third industrial revolutions.

To this end, while big tech, large venture funds and brands have made public statements signaling their support of the Black Lives Matter Movement, is essential that our entire ecosystem of academics, researchers, technologists, professionals, executives, big tech CEO’s, founders, funds, philanthropists and government back up their performative rhetoric with financial resources into the Black tech, startup and venture ecosystem.

OHUB & ThePlug are joining forces to commemorate Juneteenth and present the new order of opportunity to ensure that Black Americans and beyond are equitable represented in the future of work, fourth industrial revolution and beyond as a path to shared prosperity and multi-generational wealth for all with no reliance on pre-existing multi-generational wealth. Branded Juneteenth 4.0, this three hour virtual event will feature influencers, Black technology ecosystem builders and white allies that are committed to this definitive purpose of creating #racialequity.

RSVP here: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/juneteenth-40-celebration-tickets-108825742726

Axis Replay presents Juneteenth Celebration

Axis Replay’s Juneteenth Celebration will take place online and feature panels on the history of Juneteenth, reform and change, the importance of voting, and inclusion in gaming. There will also be a Fortnite tournament. You can learn more about this event here and register at https://www.juneteenth.gg/.

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Radio Milwaukee is celebrating Juneteenth Day

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Tomorrow, in celebration of Juneteenth Day, Radio Milwaukee is exploring the diaspora of Black music. From 6 a.m. to midnight, we’ll bring the sounds of Juneteenth to the airwaves for an inspired day-long soundtrack.

Programming will feature:

  • ALL DAY: Special selections from the Radio Milwaukee DJs
  • 12 p.m.: Juneteenth Let’s Hear It 
  • 6 p.m.: Studio Milwaukee: From the Vault performance from NPR Tiny Desk winner, Fantastic Negrito
  • 6:15-9 p.m.: Mixes from DJ Bizzon, DJ Gemini Gilly, DJ Dripsweat, DJ Lolo, Dr. B, DJ Stretch and DJ Avets 
  • 10 p.m.: A special edition of Rhythm Lab Radio
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The African American History Museum created tools to have serious discussions about race

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In these times of racial injustice and racism, it is more important than ever not to be quiet and be a bystander. We need more people to stand up and call out injustices. But to do this effectively, you need tools and education.

The National Museum of African American History & Culture has created a comprehensive web portal called Talking About Race. The portal is designed to be used by students, parents, activists, educators and individuals who care about these issues.

The National Museum of African American History & Culture|Photo credit: Alan Karchmer

From the press release

The online portal provides digital tools, online exercises, video instructions, scholarly articles and more than 100 multi-media resources tailored for educators, parents and caregivers—and individuals committed to racial equality.  

A rash of racially charged incidents—from an altercation in Central Park to acts of police brutality resulting in the deaths of Breonna Taylor and George Floyd and the protests they provoked in cities around the country—prompted the Museum to move up the release date of Talking About Race. By releasing the new portal today, the Museum aims to help individuals and communities foster constructive discussions on one of the nation’s most challenging topics:  racism, and its corrosive impact.

“The portal offers a wealth of resources to inform and guide discussions—videos, role-playing exercises, targeted questions and more, said Crew.” “We hope that people will use this site to become more comfortable about engaging in honest dialogue and self-reflection.” 

Talking About Race builds upon decades of work by the museum’s educators. It is the result of extensive research, studies, consultations, and educational resources from these fields: history, education, psychology and human development. It includes published research from leading experts, activists, historians, and thought leaders on race, equity, and inclusion, including Brené BrownKimberlé Williams CrenshawRobin DiAngeloJulie Olsen Edwards, Jerry Kang, Ibram X Kendi, Enid Lee, Audre Lorde, Beverly Daniel Tatum, Bishop Desmond Tutu, and Tim Wise. 

Phase one of the portal features eight foundational subjects including: 

  • Being Anti-Racist: a conscious decision to make frequent, consistent, equitable choices daily. 
  • Bias: the inclination or prejudice toward or against something or someone. 
  • Community Building: connecting and engaging with others doing anti-racism work and exploring issues of race. 
  • Historical Foundations of Race: how race, white privilege, and anti-blackness are woven into the very fabric of American society. 
  • Race and Racial Identity: how societies use race to establish and justify systems of power, privilege, disenfranchisement, and oppression. 
  • Self-Care: caring for one’s mental, emotional, and physical health to sustain the work of dismantling racism. 
  • Social Identities and Systems of Oppression: systems built around the ideology that some groups are superior to others. 
  • Whiteness: an ideology that reinforces power at the expense of others.  
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Revisit these positive stories from Milwaukee’s black community

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For a week straight, Americans have hit the streets to protest the death of George Floyd, the most recent unarmed black man to die at the hands of police. Calling for an end to systemic racism and disproportionate violence, protesters have marched in cities around the country — including Milwaukee — holding signs reading “Black Lives Matter” and “They Can’t Breathe.”

Today, Radio Milwaukee is standing in solidarity with those who are calling for a more just society. And we’re passing the mic to the voices that need to be heard most right now.

Teens grow greens
Teens Grow Greens, courtesy of Facebook.

Since Radio Milwaukee’s formation, we’ve been committed to sharing positive news from Milwaukee, including — in equal measure — stories from black, brown and other underrepresented communities. Here are just a few of those stories we’ve shared this year:

  • A free app helps people find and support Black-owned Milwaukee businesses.
  • A Milwaukee program aims to give Black entrepreneurs a leg up. Learn about the RISE program, created by African American Chamber of Commerce of Wisconsin.
  • Milwaukee’s poet laureate Dasha Kelly Hamilton opened a co-working space called The Retreat, dedicated to bringing Harambee residents together.
  • A dance performance exploring the N-word makes a stop in Milwaukee
  • Milwaukee Public Library has been honoring the legacy of Dr. King for 36 years and counting.
  • Teens Grow Greens helps Black teens learn about urban farming and entrepreneurship. Then, they prepare a chef dinner.
  • This Black businesswoman and chocolatier makes “Bougie Berries” fit for the most special people in your life.
  • Milwaukee Film curates an annual series of Black films, for and by the community. Meet the Milwaukee curator and learn about the program.

Community organizations and resources

Invisible Lines

In 2018, we created a web series premised on listening. We brought together 10 Milwaukeeans to discuss their firsthand experiences with prejudice and racism. The video series was eventually turned into a feature-length documentary that was screened at the Milwaukee Film Festival.

In the clip below, brothers Darren and Vedale discuss their interactions with police and security guards as biracial residents in Milwaukee. Their story offers a personal perspective of how prejudice affects them on a daily basis.

Watch the original web episode below and see how your experience compares.

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