Today Occupy the Hood Milwaukee in coalition with Occupy Milwaukee held a community clean up and demonstration down 20th Street in the Lindsey Heights neighborhood of Milwaukee. Lindsey Heights is one of the most impoverished neighborhoods in the 4th poorest city, and has one of the highest foreclosure rates in the state of Wisconsin. A group of 15 activists from all races and backgrounds spent the afternoon collecting trash around the neighborhood, focusing on areas around foreclosed and abandoned homes and then gathered the trash around a foreclosed home on the corner of 20th and Meinecke. The press release follows:
On Monday, January 9th at 3pm, the Occupy Coalition, which includes Occupy the Hood, Occupy Milwaukee, Occupy Riverwest, Occupy Bayview and other groups will be joining forces to take back our homes, an effort to demand an end to the foreclosure crisis and joblessness, and to improve the surrounding communities. The coalition will be gathering to clean up trash on 20th street, which has been neglected of basic public services for a long time. Following, they will gather outside of foreclosed properties for a press conference at the intersection of North Ave. and Meinecke, where they have identified over 25 foreclosed and abandoned properties in the immediate area.
With 25 million people unemployed or underemployed nationwide and resulting foreclosures continuing at unprecedented rates, organizers state that they need to take action to demand an end to the crisis. Muhammad Mahdi, who is running for Supervisor in the 5th district states, “Unemployment leads to foreclosure/abandoned and dilapitated houses, which invites crime and trash. Jobs are a necessity and housing is a human right!”
Organizers also point out the seriousness of the crisis in Milwaukee. Khalil Coleman explains, “In the City of Milwaukee for the past 5 years or so, we have been listed in the top ten poorest cities in the Nation and we have seen some of the highest unemployment rates in the country, especially within the African-American and Latino communities. African-American unemployment in Milwaukee is nearly 70%. In 2009, poverty rose 27% according to the 2010 census, placing Milwaukee as 4th poorest city in the nation, with 4 in 10 children living in poverty. This is unacceptable.”
The coalition has a series of actions planned to tackle the issues that Milwaukee residents are facing and they state that they are willing to do what it takes to put an end to this crisis for the 99% and the attack on the most disenfranchised people.