I work very hard and am attending college to obtain my degree in the Human Service field. Writing makes me feel alive and gives me the opportunity to touch those whom I would not be able to otherwise. Last but not least, I have been blessed with two amazing daughters who love me completely and support my dreams. Feel free to contact me with questions, concerns or feedback.
I can't explain the reason why. Whether it be curiousity of the unknown or a chance opportunity, I went.
I am hoping to take pictures of the event. Pictures of people, emotions, law enforcement, buildngs, a sight rarely seen in West Allis. Which may never been seen again.
I arrive at 12:15pm. I rarely watch the news, much less the weather. I am sporting a floral tank top and shorts, my brand new pink "Dorothy" slippers. With my camera on my side, I walk southbound towards Greenfield Avenue on 75th Street. I notice Police Officers, too many to count. The entire back lot of the City Hall littered with every imaginable Law Enforcement vehicle. The TMJ4 van idles by.
Few people are walking about. I stand against the clock building on the corner of 76th and Greenfield. I begin to talk with a few of the observers. "Quite surreal", I state. Others agree. As I am chatting with two women, one says, "You look so familiar, is your name Laurie?" The woman removes her sunglasses. It is a friend from my teenage years. Someone I think about occassionally. A happy memory, a welcome smile.
Throughout the next hour, the streets fill. The rain begins to drop. I walk, protecting my camera as much as possible. The Neo Nazi group appears. The crowd begins to chant. Loudspeakers blare. As I stand in the crowd, I realize, "This is what they want, they want attention. And, we're giving it to them. Why aren't we home with our children, our loved ones, focusing on the good?" I state it aloud, more than once. A man in the crowd says, "Go home." I don't.
I take pictures. A Neo Nazi behind the fence takes a photo of myself as I point my camera in her direction. I see hate and rage.
I look around the crowd. I look at the faces of the men and women, old and young, black, white, Hispanic, Asian, Jewish and see so much more. I see faces, sadness, anger, frustration. I take pictures to capture the moment.
I see a scuffle on the corner of 76th and Greenfield. I move toward the area, dying to know. Hoping to get a glimpse, be a part of something greater. I get in the middle of the crowd. I say, "This has nothing to do with black and white. I wouldn't introduce this man as my White Friend Mark, or this man as my Black Friend Mike. It's about not putting your hands on someone else regardless of skin color." I point around the crowd and say, "I wouldn't put my hands on you, or you, or you. It's about respect, for yourself and others." Many nod their heads. I can see people thinking, the wheels turning, hoping that for just one moment I repaired the bridge.
Men and women, of all ethinicities, colors and backgrounds stood together. United, against the hate behind the fence. Against the attack which occurred the first night of State Fair. Against the excuses, the cop outs and the individals who represent the colors behind the violence.
As I look past the exterior of each man and woman, I see smiles, hope and a wish. I see young men of all shades smiling, laughing, wondering. I see white and black, Hispanic, Asian and Jewish, embrace one another, hoping for a better tomorrow.
As the day wraps up, I wonder. What is it inside an individual which would cause they to hate, harm or stand for a greater bad? How can one go through life without peace and happiness? Sadness, joy, frustration, amazement and wonder hang like a weight as I walked towards my car. My life has forever been changed.
May we do our best to embrace one another, regardless of color. Give yourself an opportunity to embrace individuals of all cultures. Give someone of an exterior ethinic group a chance to embrace you as well.
Until next time....