By Lori Fredrich Senior Writer & Dining Editor Published Jul 09, 2016 at 11:50 AM

"It’s not the activist who everyone knows who makes all of the change; it’s the everyday person, the person who says ‘Hey, I’m one person and what can I do?’ There are a whole lot of ‘one persons’ out there who together are making a big, big difference and it’s encouraging." – Angela Walker, Breaking down racial barriers

In recent weeks, headlines have been rife with news of police brutality against members of the black community. Lives have been lost. And hearts are heavy.

But community members are rising up in an effort to promote unity and healing for Milwaukee and beyond. One such effort will take place on Wednesday, July 13 from 6 to 9 p.m. at Alice’s Garden, 2136 N. 21st St.

The evening will will focus on the harsh realities faced by black men and women in our communities and country. During the gathering, artists, healers and activists will stand in unity, acknowledging the work that must be done to ensure that black lives in America matter.

"This is a time of reflection and healing, a time to comfort, encourage and empower one another as we contemplate ‘What can I do?’ after the deaths of Alton Sterling, Philando Castile and Wisconsin's Jay Anderson," says co-organizer Malkia Stampley, producing artistic director for the Bronzeville Arts Ensemble.

"We know that everyone will not leave with an action plan, but we are hopeful seeds will be planted and that people know they are not alone during this difficult time," notes Stampley.

During the event, words of encouragement and empowerment will be shared by a variety of community leaders and members of the arts community including Ferne Caulker-Bronson, founder of Ko-Thi Dance; Venice Williams, executive director of Alice's Garden; Tarik Moody, 88.9 radio personality; Jeff Frank, artistic director of First Stage Milwaukee; and Kari Hanson, visual artist and community arts specialist for MPS.

Artistic expressions will also be offered from Julie Roubik (classical violist), members of Ko-Thi Dance Company, Karl Oye Iglesias (spoken word artist, actor, teaching artist), Tami Workentin (actor, director), Damion Thompson (poet, actor), Chike Johnson (actor), Dimonte Henning (actor), Milwaukee youth performers and more.

The event, which is open to the public,  is being coordinated by Malkia Stampley, producing artistic director for the Bronzeville Arts Ensemble; Venice Williams, executive director for Alice's Garden and The Body and Soul Healing Arts Center; Dimonte Henning, executive director for Lights! Camera! Soul!; Andrea Pratt; and Anitra Stampley.

Attendees should bring a blanket or chair, if they wish to be seated at the event. Please note that no single use plastic bottles are allowed on premise, so all beverages should be in reuseable bottles. Shareable finger food items are welcome.

For more information and updates on participating speakers and performers, visit the events page on Facebook

If you are an arts leader or performer interested in sharing at the event, please contact Malkia at bronzevilleartsensemble@gmail.com.

Lori Fredrich Senior Writer & Dining Editor

Lori is an avid cook whose accrual of condiments and spices is rivaled only by her cookbook collection. Her passion for the culinary industry was birthed while balancing A&W root beer mugs as a teenage carhop, fed by insatiable curiosity and fueled by the people whose stories entwine with each and every dish. She’s had the privilege of chronicling these tales via numerous media, including OnMilwaukee and in her book “Milwaukee Food.” Her work has garnered journalism awards from entities including the Milwaukee Press Club. 

When she’s not eating, photographing food, writing or recording the FoodCrush podcast, you’ll find Lori seeking out adventures with her husband Paul, traveling, cooking, reading, learning, snuggling with her cats and looking for ways to make a difference.