Causes of Convenience & The M.I. A. Leader
Brandon Johnson, Darrius Simmons and other cases “Leaders” seem to forget.
Funny when we needed support for the Derek Williams family it was not hard to find. Press releases, marches, weekly protests, tweets and FaceBook pages were found everywhere. Now the Brandon Johnson family is awaiting justice but little community activism has been done on their behalf.
So I ask you family where are those same “leaders” and groups that claimed to fight every injustice in this city and march and protest until this city complied with the people’s rights? Well that didn’t last long did it?
Brandon Johnson was the young man at the Milwaukee County Mental Health Complex who died in their care. Supposedly he died of complications of a broken neck he sustained in an injury. However he complained for some time and gave ample warnings. A simple blood thinner and he would be here today. His trial has been ongoing with no public outcry, no leader standing by with the family to give updates, no nothing. Why is this? Is he not worthy of the same love and support? Certainly this case has the same stink of foul injustice as in the Derek Williams case. Where are our leaders and was all that just talk? One must wonder!
Asking around the community many reasons about “why” were shared with me. “There ain’t no money to be made!” “They can’t get no fame, they don’t care!” and “It’s over they heads!” Whatever the reasons may be, the community activists and groups that we have come to depend on were next to silent on this case and have been missing in action on a few other cases. Again Why? Does Brandon Johnson not deserve the same amount of fury that this community poured out for Derek Williams? Do we not owe it to ourselves to see that the Milwaukee County Health Complex is a safe place for all of us? After all it is widely used by this community for a variety of reasons and one never knows in what crisis we will find ourselves in the care of this facility.
Our Milwaukee County Board who usually has something to say about these matters was brief in this case, a county case. Supervisor Bowen did release one statement that I know of regarding this matter and it was quite brief. I know of no follow up and I am sure he will correct me if I missed something.
County Supervisor’s Press Release:
“First and foremost, my heart goes out to the family of Brandon Johnson. Mere words cannot express the magnitude of the pain the family is assuredly feeling right now.
“I want Brandon’s family and all of Milwaukee County to know that I pledge to do my part to ask the right questions and to seek information in this case.
“Additionally, I will do everything I can as an official elected by the people of Milwaukee County to ensure that all residents of all Milwaukee County facilities are treated with dignity and respect and are granted the medical care and attention they deserve.”
So family I guess I still have hope that one day we will find leadership that will be consistent and will understand you cannot pick up the sword and carry it sometimes. High profile or low, they all matter. We all matter. If you take the name of leader, king, organizer, etc. You have put yourself in the seat of that which is called to a different journey and that means you are called to take on injustices, not just the easy to organize ones, but the ones that require work and sacrifice. This family needed you and you dropped the ball. Our elected, if you pick one case, then you must remain consistent as well; otherwise you too look like you are rolling with the tides. Let us unite behind every injustice that affects our community or do not sign yourself up for that position if you are not ready for the responsibilities that come with it.
Edward Anthony Green, a prominent local historian, artist and architectural designer whose work helped shape the City of Milwaukee, has been unanimously selected by the Frank P. Zeidler Public Service Award selection committee as the 2012 recipient of the award, which honors the life and work of former Mayor Frank P. Zeidler.
The Milwaukee Common Council will honor Mr. Green on Tuesday, September 25 prior to the start of its regular meeting at 9 a.m. in the third floor Council Chamber at City Hall, 200 E. Wells St. Media coverage is invited.
The committee chose Mr. Green, the former art director of the Milwaukee Public Museum who retired in 1984 after 33 years of service, primarily because of the lasting impact his volunteerism and vision have had on the City of Milwaukee. Projects in which he was the driving creative force or played a significant role include the Streets of Old Milwaukee exhibit at MPM, the Henry W. Maier Festival Park and the airport’s Mitchell Gallery of Flight exhibit.
“Ed has had a hand in many of the gems that make this a great city in which to live today,” committee member and Alderman Robert Bauman said, “and his willingness to donate his time and expertise makes him a great example of civic-minded generosity.”
Colleagues credit Mr. Green with pioneering the diorama in what became known as “the Milwaukee style” of museum, where visitors can walk among culturally significant artifacts and architecture instead of staring at them through the dusty glass of locked exhibit cases. In the decades that followed the opening of Streets of Old Milwaukee in 1965, museums around the world would imitate and expand upon the idea, which now seems commonplace.
Throughout his career, Mr. Green served as a member of the Milwaukee Art Commission, now the Milwaukee Arts Board, and the Milwaukee Landmarks Commission, and he worked tirelessly to win the vote for the city’s lakefront Milwaukee Art Museum. Since his retirement, Mr. Green has remained active as an unpaid consultant for the Betty Brinn Children’s Museum, the Great Lakes Naval Training Center Museum, the Coast Guard Museum in Connecticut, the Circus World Museum, the Allis Art Museum and many others.
Growing up on Milwaukee’s south side, graduating from South Division High School in 1940 and with no formal training, Mr. Green took on an architectural apprenticeship—until his first career was interrupted by the outbreak of World War II. Mr. Green enlisted in the U.S. Coast Guard, and his service took him across the Atlantic Ocean 40 times and the Pacific Ocean 12 times. He remained active with the Coast Guard Auxiliary for 16 years.
In 1951, Mr. Green graduated with honors from the Milwaukee State Teachers College, a predecessor to the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, and began his career at MPM. In addition to the Streets of Old Milwaukee, he also oversaw the construction of other exhibits, including the European Village, the Japanese and Korean Houses, the Hopi Pueblo and the Guatemalan marketplace.
But Mr. Green’s legacy reaches far beyond the museum exhibits he curated. Following a trip to the Tivoli Gardens in Copenhagen, Denmark, he approached then-Mayor Henry Maier with the idea of building a similar entertainment complex in downtown Milwaukee. The pair toured a number of sites before agreeing upon the lakefront location of the current Summerfest grounds, Maier Festival Park, and embarking on a years-long journey to make the vision a reality.
A number of Mr. Green’s other ideas shaped the cityscape as well, incorporated into city planning practices after he and five colleagues won a Ford grant for their proposed Northtown neighborhood redesign in 1962. He spearheaded efforts to design and build the airport’s Mitchell Gallery of Flight and the Milwaukee Beer Museum, taught at UW-Milwaukee and Cardinal Stritch University and served on boards at both.
In 1999, the UW-Milwaukee Alumni Association honored Mr. Green with its Special Life Achievement Award. He was only the fifth alumnus in school history to be so recognized.
Chaired by Milwaukee civil rights attorney Arthur Heitzer, the Frank P. Zeidler Public Service Award selection committee is composed of Alderman Bauman (vice chair), Milwaukee historian John Gurda, and community members Shelley Bruehling and Jack Murtaugh.
“You can hardly go anywhere in the City of Milwaukee without seeing a reminder of the impact that Ed Green has had in shaping it,” Mr. Heitzer said. “It’s only right that after an extended career of public service and volunteerism, and a long, fulfilling and inspiring life, he receives the recognition of this award. We also thought it appropriate to give this recognition to a veteran of World War II.”
The Frank P. Zeidler award acknowledges residents whose efforts most embody the values and vision of former Mayor Zeidler. Elected public officials are not eligible to receive the honor.
Frank Zeidler, the city’s last socialist mayor, died July 7, 2006 at age 93. He served as mayor from 1948 until 1960, and continued to be a voice for social justice and public service until his death.Dustin Weis — Public Relations Supervisor Public Information Division — Milwaukee City Clerk’s Office 200 E. Wells St. Room 301-K Milwaukee, WI 53202-3570 Phone: 414.286.3881 — Cell: 414.708.9151