On Saturday my friend and I took “a walk in the park”. Both of us received an invitation to do outreach in Kosciuszko Park on the Southside of Milwaukee. This is an area that has a little more diversity than other parts of Milwaukee but consists of many Spanish-speaking immigrants. The two of us decided to go, backpacks full of tracts and pens, and hang out with people in the park. There was an outreach set up with music, a food truck, and multiple churches. We both share a heart for youth and decided to stray over to the playground and play with the children.
Children were walking up to us and wanting to play when we noticed a teenager sitting by herself. The two of us decided to go visit with this girl, who we learned was a teenager, and watching her friends play at the park. The three of us were sitting when a surprising incident broke out. A man high on drugs decided to expose himself and masturbate on the grass right next to the playground and right behind us! Many of the adults started to freak out, grab their children, and call the police. One African-American young man, a friend of the girl’s, ran into the situation and started to beat the man.
The African-American young man beat the man who did drugs then let him loose to run off. The young man stated he wanted to kill the man but he was learning to control his anger so he let him go. This young man was at the playground with his daughter to play. When he saw a situation arise, he handled it to protect the safety of his daughter. He also knew the reality of the South Side – this was going to be low on the police’s priority list. This young man stayed at the playground for two hours after everyone else left while we waited on the police and sat talking with my friend and I. We had the privilege of meeting his daughter, mother, and brother.
We learned the story of a young man striving to raise a daughter on his own. A man trying to overcome the bad influences of his childhood. One who was trying to overcome a history of violence and was working third shift so he could show his daughter the value of hard work. We watched when the police showed up two hours later and he respectfully approached them and explained what happened. He shook their hands and told them they could call him with any questions. This young man was an example of working hard to be the best in your current environment.
So many times we hear the story of “bad” young black men and bad instances with cops. It is important to recognize that you need to judge EACH person on an individual basis. For every story of a young black man being shot by the police or hurting others, there is a story of a young black man who sits waiting in the park to talk to the police so they can work together to make a safer place. For every cop that shoots a young black man, there is a cop who shakes that young man’s hand and thanks him for helping in a situation. Needless to say, my friend and I were very blessed to get to know this young man, his friend, and family.