ON-Lion Letter

In a column written for the Wisconsin Policy Research Institute (WPRI) and reprinted in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel in August, Bradley Prize recipient Robert L. Woodson, Sr. offered commentary on the protests that took place in Milwaukee following the death of Sylville Smith earlier in the month. 

Noting that the national media's coverage of the events emphasized the violence and destruction that took place in Milwaukee’s Sherman Park neighborhood, Woodson instead urged readers to seek progress by first taking time for introspection.  

Woodson pointed to the example of Sylville Smith's father, Patrick Smith.  In a statement that he made to a local television station, Patrick Smith expressed regret for failing to act as a more positive role model for his family:  "I'd like to apologize to my kids because this is the role model they look up to. When they see the wrong role model, this is what you get." 

Woodson praised Patrick Smith's willingness to engage in self-reflection, and he urged Milwaukeeans to opt for solutions that emphasize self-transformation and rebuilding communities: 

"Sources of support for Patrick Smith and those who resonate with his message exist in communities throughout the nation where neighborhood leaders are not waiting angrily for some systemic change but are empowering others to reclaim their lives, revitalize their families and rebuild their communities, even in the face of oppressive odds."

Woodson's complete article is available online.

Woodson is founder of the Center for Neighborhood Enterprise (CNE) in Washington, D.C., and serves as its president.  He has played an active role in revitalizing Milwaukee's neighborhoods for more than 20 years, and he received the Bradley Prize in recognition of his life's work in 2008.

The Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation substantially supports CNE and WPRI.

Actions: E-mail | Permalink |