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A block party centered around healing

Back in July, 88Nine was on site for the ninth annual Heal the Hood Block Party, where community members came together to approach a means to end violence and crime in the community. We went with one question in mind: What kind of healing is needed most right now in Milwaukee?

We asked the community organizations that were there including Leaders Igniting Transformation, a nonprofit youth-led organization that aims to create a society where Black and Brown folks can thrive. 88Nine's Nate Imig talked to Yaniliz Rosario, a high school organizer, to get her perspective.

“What we do is try to eradicate and dismantle the school-to-prison pipeline,” said Rosario. “With our youth, we invest in their leadership and put them in leadership opportunities and leadership development, so they can basically advocate for themselves and be their own leaders and create systemic change.”

The importance of the block party

Rosario says that when the community comes together it’s a step in the right direction for healing. 

“My biggest thing is really that we're here to connect with each other and do what's best for our future, for our young ones and for our community,” said Rosario.  

Rosario is living by example. One of her connections was with 414Life, a community-driven organization that addresses the complex factors that drive violence in our city while also providing an agenda to prevent violence to create a healthier, safer city with long term investments in improving conditions in areas of the city.  Some of these initiatives include promoting restorative justice and economic opportunity.

“414life works against gun violence and folks who’ve been in the system and folks who really get underserved and ignored because they're quote-unquote ‘bad or lost,’” said Rosario. "We just connected and he's gonna connect me with youth so they can get involved and really develop their leadership skills.” 

What does it mean to heal?

“We need to heal within ourselves first and then focus on the community,” said Rosario. “Healing really means either stopping harmful policies from passing or trying to eradicate those policies from passing. Folks can post Black Lives Matter, but if the policies don’t match that phrase then do Black lives really matter?”

Heal the Hood will have a Back to School Block Party on 13th Street and Fond Du Lac Avenue on Saturday, Aug. 28.

Audio Storyteller / 88Nine On-Air Talent | Radio Milwaukee