As continue on the theme of activism this month on In The Wings, we head to the Riverwest neighborhood to meet a longtime community organizer.
It's very important for white folks to not be afraid to go to the inner city.
Ruth Weill is a Milwaukee native, and she has spent her life working to build and strengthen community in the Riverwest and Harambee neighborhoods.
Weill works with Riverworks Development Corporation, but she got her start in activism more than a decade ago working with the Green Party, on both a local and national level.
But after she became a mom, things changed. She decided to bring her community work closer to home where she could see a more immediate impact and leave a brighter future for her son, Brad.
“Parenthood tends to do that to one’s brain,” she said.
As part of her work with Riverworks, she plans large scale community-focused events such as the Center Street Daze Festival and the Fourth of July Celebration in Riverwest’s Gordon Park. She was also instrumental in establishing a business association in Riverwest and has been working to beautify the neighborhood by tapping into local artists.
But Ruth will tell you, strengthening a community takes more than planning events and public art — it’s a mindset.
“I don’t pre-judge, I just do,” she said. “And I wish more people would stop pre-judging and just do. And just hang.”