The Sherman Park neighborhood has long been considered the neighborhood that worked.
For Milwaukee, the population is relatively diverse – racially and economically – and many residents say they chose to live there because it’s a community where neighbors look after each other.
The weekend of violence in Sherman Park, sparked by the fatal shooting of Sylville Smith in mid-August 2016, came as a surprise to some homeowners. Others said they had been watching tensions build. Frustration with the shortage of activities for youths and jobs, and a lack of parental involvement in some homes, set the stage for violence, they say.
NNS spoke with three long-time homeowners and one who had recently purchased a house in the neighborhood about why they chose to invest and live in Sherman Park, how they remember the events of three years ago and how their neighborhood feels to them now.
Greg Adams, a 25-year Sherman Park homeowner who lives half a block from the park, is a retired teacher, active musician and student of television and video production. He most recently taught at Clarke Street School. Adams is in touch with the community’s parents and young people, and is knowledgeable about the conditions that affect them.
Ashlee Crowder, a young mother raising two children, bought a house two blocks from the park in March and moved into the neighborhood in September 2016, just after the shooting. She is a psychiatric technician at the Milwaukee County Mental Health Complex.
Alan Borsuk, who lives near the Sherman Perk Coffee Shop, where the interviews were conducted, has been a Sherman Park homeowner for 36 years. Three of his adult children, all homeowners, and 12 of his grandchildren live nearby. Borsuk reported for the Milwaukee Journal and Milwaukee Journal Sentinel for many years. He is now the senior fellow in law and public policy at Marquette Law School.
Sheena Carey came to Milwaukee from Washington D.C., to attend Marquette University, where she earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees in journalism and communication. Carey bought a house in Sherman Park 36 years ago. She teaches in Marquette’s Diederich College of Communication, where she serves as director of student internships.
Andrea Waxman is a staff reporter at the Milwaukee Neighborhood News Service. A professional writer, she is completing a graduate certificate in Digital Storytelling at Marquette University's Diederich College of Communication. Previously, she worked as a reporter and editor for a community newspaper and taught English and Japanese in several area middle and high schools.
Waxman has lived in Milwaukee since 1981, but spent most of her early years living in Tokyo, where her father was stationed at the American embassy. She returned to Japan in 1986 and again in 1993 when her husband was there as a Fulbright scholar.
In her free time, Waxman enjoys theater, movies, music, ethnic food, cities, travel, reading - especially the news of the day - and all kinds of people. She is interested in working for social justice and contributing to the vitality of the city.