Summer of Peace Preview: Civil Liberties at the Heart of Milwaukee’s ACLU Public Art Student Alliance

20 Jul

ACLU Public Art Student Alliance (PASA) members work on their float.

The American Civil Liberties Union of Wisconsin Foundation will join with Milwaukee community organizations to mark the tenth annual Summer of Peace event on Friday, July 27, 2012.

Rooted in a peace-arts program, the Summer of Peace offers teens workshops on conflict resolution and culminates in a free peace rally.  Read more about this year’s event in the Milwaukee Community Journal. The event has a website and a Facebook page with more information and updates.

The event will have youth exhibitions of their workshop projects including mini-activities on their awareness campaigns. Participating organizations will have information booths and the event will include food, musicians, artists, crafts and other entertainers. The All City Parade (Milwaukee Public Theatre) will join with the Summer of Peace to sponsor a colorful parade from Sherman Park to Washington Park involving community-created giant puppets, dancers, musicians and stilt-walkers. The event begins at 10:00 a.m.

Katie Jesse and Paige Coe (as Violin), are a part of the section “Moving to the Beat of Your Own Drum”

In light of the attention to the tragic shooting of Florida teen Trayvon Martin as well as recent violence experienced by Milwaukee youth, the Summer of Peace offers a timely opportunity to address racism, civil rights and liberties, and the violence experienced by urban youth. As Milwaukee continues to lead the nation in segregation and disproportionate incarceration of people of color, the city needs a call to peace and unity.

Founded in 2002 by Tanya Cromartie and Fidel Verdin, Summer of Peace 365 involves facilitators who work year-round with teens on character and leadership building, conflict resolution and building compassion. Participants are trained as community advocates who are empowered to act as positive agents of change in their communities. Through the work of a diverse coalition of organizations, artists, poets, entertainers, community leaders, civil libertarians, restorative justice facilitators, racial justice experts, anti-bullying trainers and professionals will work together to address youth empowerment.

Organizations involved in “All-City Summer of Peace Coalition” include the ACLU of Wisconsin Foundation,  Boys and Girls Clubs, Children’s Outing Association, COA Youth and Family Center, Medical College of Wisconsin’s Violence Prevention Initiative, Milwaukee Public Theatre, Milwaukee Mask and Puppet Theatre, Peace Action, Running Rebels, Safe and Sound Inc., Sherman Park Neighborhood Association, True Skool, UNCOM, United Neighborhood Centers of Milwaukee, Urban Ecology Center, Washington Park Partners and others.

ACLU Public Art Student Alliance arts interns learn how to craft visual images through paper mache.

Community support is needed to stage the Summer of Peace event. To help with the ACLU of Wisconsin Foundation public arts program, contact Youth and Program Director Emilio De Torre at or (414) 272-4032 x 223. For more information about the event, please contact Tanya Cromartie-Byrd at (414) 326-0507 or to be a sponsor, donate materials, volunteer, register for the rally or participate in the pre-rally activities.

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