I love Milwaukee. I always have. I was born in Milwaukee but when I was in 1st grade my family moved to Rochester, MN. I was young but I never really connected with Rochester. I do have fond memories of my life there and I met my very first best friend in Rochester, but mostly I think of it abstractly as a place I lived outside of my body.
Each summer while in Rochester my family would make the five-hour drive to Milwaukee whereby my brothers and I would sleep most of the way. However, as soon as I got the whiff of the breweries I knew I was home and in a way it would awaken my heart. That sounds a bit dramatic, but really it isn’t because Milwaukee was truly home. Home to my many cousins, that were my best friends. Home to my grandparents love, care and complete spoiling by giving me the sugar that my parents were completely against their children consuming. Home to a city where I was not the only Black Face in the Place (http://1lesscorpgirl.com/2013/06/19/the-only-black-face-in-the-place/).
When I was thirteen my family moved back to Milwaukee. The transition for me at first was very traumatic because coming back into middle school and not sounding like everyone else made me stand out. Middle school is not about standing out, not at all. But the beauty in sounding different and therefore being different is that it eventually would give me the strength to be confident in my skin no matter what the people around me looked like, sounded like or even were like.
So I would say my deep-rooted love of Milwaukee began in those summer visits and that my love was only heighten when we finally moved back. Don’t get me wrong Milwaukee is far from perfect. There are many issues. But just like you don’t give up on your child for misbehaving I will not give up on my city.
Perhaps the thing I hear the most is that Milwaukee is segregated. It is true, it is. I won’t deny it. But I am not. I have many friends, from many cultures. Of all races, religious backgrounds and living in various locations around the city.
Some of the places I go to are diverse, many are not. Sometimes I don’t look at all like anyone in the room, sometimes I look like everyone in the room. Sometimes there is a mixture.
In this blog, I want to explore Milwaukee with the perspective of being a Brown Girl. My Brown Face in the Place will be a series about the places around the city that I visit. In any place, no matter the intended demographic, I visit. Like I always have, but now I will write about my experiences.
So join me here to discover or re-discover my city, my love, Milwaukee.