ON-Lion Letter

Milwaukee and some of its unheralded community groups and violence-fighting programs hold “the key to changing this country,” according to Bradley Prize recipient Robert L. Woodson, Sr., one of America’s most-influential and -outspoken voices on welfare myths and finding new ways to combat poverty. 

“I really believe that Milwaukee holds the key to changing this country because civil order is on everybody’s mind,” Woodson said in a June speech sponsored by the Wisconsin Policy Research Institute (WPRI) in Milwaukee.  “You cannot have economic development, education, unless there’s peace in the streets.  And the peace can only come when predators can be converted to ambassadors of peace.  And that’s what the groups I named do every day.  And collectively, they can be an immune system that can be copied throughout this nation.”

Woodson is founder president of the Center for Neighborhood Enterprise (CNE) in Washington, D.C.  One of the groups he mentioned is Running Rebels -- a successful, life-altering, community organization founded by Victor Barnett.

Woodson also spoke of the success of the Violence-Free Zone (VFZ) initiative -- which reduces youth violence and mentors high-risk students, including in Milwaukee schools.  He believes the VFZ program should become a national model.

The Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation in Milwaukee supports WPRI, CNE, Running Rebels, and the local VFZ effort.

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