THE WALK October 20

Soon after I arrived in Kenosha, we saw this event posted on FB.

“March from Kenosha to Milwaukee to demand social justice in our communities, unify southeastern Wisconsin in our fight for equality, and call upon our community members to use their voices in the streets and at the ballot box.March, drive, or bike with us from Kenosha to Milwaukee and join us as we rally in Red Arrow Park at 6pm. We rally to demand our elected officials end police violence and racial oppression in our communities. Hear from local activists, elected officials, faith leaders, and the families of those affected by police violence, including Maria Hamilton and Justin Blake.Purpose of Event:
We Kenoshans have shown incredible strength and dedication to our community in the last several weeks. On October 20, 2020 we will bring together people from all around Southeastern Wisconsin in a march from Kenosha to Milwaukee to assert our unity, demand justice for our communities and call upon everyone to vote and vote early.Event Hosts:
Peace in the Streets Kenosha, Inc
African Emergency Relief Foundation (AERF)
Leaders of Kenosha (LOK)We are Kenosha-based and Kenosha-led organizations dedicated to community support, civic engagement, justice, and access to resources. We work to empower and engage African descendants and their communities in the way they live, work, and learn so they are able to achieve total excellence. We have hosted all the events posted by this page, and we will continue to work for our community!Event Co-Hosts:
Justin Blake
Fight for $15
All of Us or None of Us WIWays to “March”:
All participants are welcome to join for all or part of the march. Marchers, drivers, bikers, cyclists, skaters, and more are welcome. We will have cars and an RV available for people to take breaks from walking if they are able to join for the entire march but not walk the entire way.”

I was excited to have something concrete to do – for a few minutes we considered marching and then I got in touch with one of the organizers to see how we could be most helpful and he steered me toward the person organizing the food stations. I think we were both a little relieved to take the 38 mile walk off the table.

The march was taking off at 1 am and the first stop that we were responsible for was at 4am. We spent the day shopping for food and a big thermos for hot cider – thanks to Ellen’s brilliance. What looked like a simple thing ended up taking hours of preparation. We went to bed at about midnight, after mostly packing the car, and slept for a few hours before heading to the first stop about a half hour away.

We had no idea what to expect, would it be a couple dozen or a hundered? (we were told to plan for a hundred but were a little skeptical based on the FB RSVPs.).

As we drove up Green Bay road, which we knew they would be walking on, we were surprised to see police lights, a huge school bus, a bunch of cars, about 50 people marching and a big conversion van with a sound system blasting tunes.

Here’s a snip of what we saw (and then my lap)

We got to our assigned parking lot and got the bagels, cream cheese, OJ, fruit and a hot cider set up and waited in the cold and semi-dark.

After a bit – we heard the music, lights and soon were swarmed with hungry and thirsty marchers, serenaded by the Doobie Brothers.

It was so stinken’ cool. The music filled the Pick-n-Save parking lot as the youngsters played basketball, thanks to The Hoop Bus. As people mingled and took turns using the bathroom in the RV that was traveling with them.

Some lovely young people who were traveling in the conversion bus offered us some hot soup and I found out that they have been traveling with the hoop bus and finding actions all over the country, providing music and creating art. They had just heard about The Walk that morning and decided to join them. (I was hoping that they’d be heading home around the time I was and I could caravan with them , but alas, they are heading back to L.A. soon.). It’s worth getting an instagram account just to follow them. They go by r.beats

After they all headed north, we packed up the leftovers and headed home. It was about 5:30 AM and driving past the municipal building, we saw a bunch of people and a camera crew. We pulled up to ask what they were doing and fellow came up to the car eagerly asking, “We’re from Good Morning America – are you here to vote?” Early voting was starting at 8 AM and they were there to see the lines. The poor fellow was disappointed that we were the only people they had seen and we were just driving by.

We went home and slept for a few hours and then reheated the cider and headed up to Milwaukee, where we were to feed the marchers again on their 4th stop at 4 PM about 30 miles from their starting place and 5 miles from the end at Red Arrow Park downtown.

It was another little party, I expected them to be dragging but the energy was high, and they must have been fed well at the previous stops because people didn’t eat a lot. The hot cider was popular though.

It was wonderful to see connections being made. The young man on the left, Sedan, is part of The People’s Revolution in Milwaukee. They had been protesting every day for 145(?) (Halloween night it was 156) consecutive days at that point. He was coming to connect with Kanoshans and march the last leg with them. The woman on the right is from Voces de la Frontera and she just happened by and stopped to see what was going on. She and Sedan were super excited to meet eachother.

The guy I’m talking to here is one of the fellows who got the Hoop Bus going. They have been traveling the country, building basketball courts, giving away shoes and basketballs, supporting communities and joining protests. They have a covid testing van that travels with them, so people can get free covid tests as well. They and the r.beats people just happened upon eachother in their travels and started caravanning on different legs of their journeys. I ask him how they have been received with their Big Black Lives Matter signage and he said that they have not had any negative experiences which I was happily surprised to hear.

It was a quick stop for the marchers because they had the park reserved and a rally starting at the end at 6 PM.

Ellen and I wandered a bit in Milwaukee and stopped at the Public Market to eat. I heard a bunch of ruckus outside and looked to find the march walking moving by. I must admit, I felt a little chagrinned to be sitting down to eat in a warm spot knowing these wonderful people had been walking for over 12 hours.

We then headed to the final rally where we wandered and mingled a bit. People were handing out free blankets, there was hot food being served, speakers and music. I chatted with the fellow with big gun, who I had seen from the market, riding in the back of a pickup, watching the building tops on high alert. He said on the whole march there was only one time where things felt a little sketchy with some people in cars who seemed threatening. Otherwise the march was very well received.

I would be remiss if I did not say that the main organizer of this event was a young man named Gregory Bennett Jr. Who is CEO of Peace in the Streets. From what I could see he coordinated, managed and ran the march and rally like a well greased machine. Ellen says his plan is to run for mayor in 4 years.

It was a very uplifting, inspiring and fun day!! I was super pumped afterwards and super tired.

Milwaukee City Bus! Did you vote?

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