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Milwaukee’s BIG LOVE Movement

Okay, so it’s not official or anything, but its happening. A friend of mine just asked why I’m involved in so many things and why can’t I focus on just one. I likened it to my motherhood. I have more than one baby and I feel I have to spread my love and attention around to ensure I embrace the whole family…all the time. It is a big task but it comes with great rewards. There’s so much going on that I’d like to participate in (like Green Folks Garden and a cornucopia of study groups, to name a few) and share with our readers that at times I wish this paper were a weekly. There just isn’t enough time and space for everything so I’m going to give quick shout-outs to a few movements showin’ real love to our community.

COA girls

COA Youth Development Director Kari Franciskovic and Teen Coordinator Shannon Johnson with the girls of Fit, Fine and Fabulous Teen Girls Leadership and Wellness Program.

I just love the way our Brothers and Sisters are using Hip Hop as a tool for community healing and social change. Gorilla Promotions works with youth throughout our city from Latino Community Center on the south side to COA Youth & Family Centers in Riverwest, to Harambee and the North Side. These artists and social activists take their messages to the street. Any street. Cultivating talent and teaching leadership skills through their music and youth workshops these brothers show big LOVE that is heartfelt citywide. For info on upcoming workshops and events call Fidel Verdin-Williams at 414/264-7857. COMPA gives big LOVE worldwide. On May 20 COMPA celebrated its one year anniversary with a gathering at Harmony House, home to Casa Maria volunteers. The initiative promotes education, action, and empowerment concerning global justice issues. The past year I’ve been getting to know this determined and ever-growing group made up of people from all walks of life. COMPA holds regular study circles at Green Dragon Cafe , 2010 N. Farwell Ave. Students and community members select causes based on a modified democratic process. They are currently studying Latin American labor issues, a local urban garden initiative, and a voter registration campaign with Voices de la Frontera. To find out more about this global justice movement contact Kelly Lundeen at 414/344-5745. Real Big LOVE! We need to send these girls to college! COA Youth & Family Centers Teen Program is planning a Black Historical College Tour. The young women of Fit, Fine, & Fabulous, COA’s Teen Girl’s Leadership and Wellness Program, are headed south to Atlanta and need our support! These young leaders have been creating handcrafted rag dolls to raise funds for their trip. Fit, Fine, & Fabulous is determined to sell 100 dolls by August 1. The dolls are wonderful expressions of their creativity and dedication to self-empowerment. The trip will include historical colleges and cultural sites, an overnight-on-campus experience, and comprehensive career exploration and career planning. Catch them on Sundays at Garden Market on Locust Street or contact Teen Coordinator Shannon Johnson at 414/263-8389 ext. 137 to purchase your Fit, Fine, & Fabulous Doll! Last but most certainly not least… Milwaukee Birthing Project (MBP) gives big love by connecting pregnant women with Sisterfriends. MBP invites you to rally around the issue of women’s health and their birth outcomes. The goal of the birthing project is to keep more babies alive and healthy by providing direction, emotional support, and education to their mothers. MBP matches trained volunteers with pregnant women. The Concept of community SisterFriends is “each one, teach one” and the “extended family.” Women come together to heal their community from the inside out with the support MBP staff and Community Partners. It’s as natural as the day is long. I know several community sisters and mothers that live this philosophy everyday. For more information on how to join this family call Amy Peterson, project co-coordinator at 414/276-1911 ext.31. And Big LOVE to all our Hood Mommas out there holding it down. It’s just beautiful how we do our thang regardless of individual faiths, borders, bloodlines, and skin tones! Much respect for any initiatives I didn’t include. Please feel free to e-mail me at "> with any BIG LOVE movements you want to share. Positive Energy Activates Constant Elevation!
by Tanya Cromartie-Twaddle