Youth and adults led Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett on a walking tour of the Washington Park neighborhood last week, showing him the positives and negatives in the community as documented by young photographers.
It began with a project called PhotoVoice. Groups of youth went around Washington Heights to take pictures of what they considered the positives and negatives in the community. The photos then went on display at the Hmong American Friendship Association at 38th and Vliet.
Community leaders and the media were invited to view the photo pairs, all of which compared the community's assets and liabilities. Attendees were then invited to join Barrett on a guided tour of the neighborhood and voice concerns in person.
Barrett says he's taking the youth's findings to heart.
"They're the ones that'll be here 20, 30, 40 years from now, and their perceptions are being formed right now," Barrett said. "It's incumbent upon us as adults to improve the situation, and that's what we're trying to do."
Community advocacy group Safe and Sound organized the event, along with the Hmong American Friendship Association, Neighborhood House, and the 27th Street West Drug Free Coalition's Youth Council.