Milwaukee anti-violence picnic at Johnsons Park

Many people in Milwaukee have set out to stop the city's gun violence, and it's not just local officials working to put an end to it – but some of our neighbors, too. One Milwaukee mom, on Sunday, May 30, brought the community together – and off the streets – on a beautiful afternoon. 

"I wish we could all just get together and put the violence away," said Earma Jordan, event organizer.

At Johnsons Park near 20th and Fond du Lac, smiles on Sunday matched the sunny skies.

"Just giving back to the community," said Jordan.

Jordan was inspired to create a space where families feel safe, urging the community to stop the violence.

"The kids can come out here and play without worrying about getting gunned down, hearing shots. Just letting other parents know that kids out here doing violent stuff, to talk to them because they got to hear it from home first," said Jordan.

The event brought dozens together to enjoy food, music, face-painting and time outdoors.

"It was nice because we had a supportive crowd, and they were cheering us on while we were dancing," said Lauren with the Ladies of Destruction Dance Team.

Two local dance teams performed, giving youth a place to channel their energy into something creative.

"I like the team because it’s like, building a family," said Janiyla, member of the Royal Heat Dance Team. "This is my second family."

Cortez Ross Jr. knows what it's like to lose family. His brother was killed in 2015.

"To me, it's terrible," said Ross. "Personally, it affected me here. I lost a brother to gun violence here in this city."

With events like this, he said he feels a sense of hope for his own children and for the city.

"It’s amazing," he said. "I like seeing the kids get together and finally play and feel safe. It reminds you of when you was a kid because we played outside and we felt safe. We're going to keep it going."

Jordan said she plans to continue hosting the event annually, along with other outreach efforts.

If you or your family has been impacted by gun violence, resources available include City of Milwaukee violence prevention efforts, 414Life, resources from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and Safe and Sound.