Episode | #045

Promoting Peace, Not Youth Violence Prevention

This episode originally aired as Episode 33.

When we first aired this story Fidel Verdin had a vision for a park, on MLK Dr. and Ring St. One that promotes peace. Since then, the park called the Martin Luther King Jr. Peace Place had its dedication ceremony unveiling new murals celebrating Milwaukee’s civil rights and fair housing movement. He hopes the park will foster intergenerational connections, one of the keys to preventing youth violence.  But, Fidel Verdin will quickly correct you if you attempt to categorize his work as youth violence prevention.

“Hip-hop is the art of creating something out of nothing...the first summer of peace was straight out of my pocket.”

Amidst the various organizations, discussion panels and anti-gun summits to, “end the violence” in Milwaukee, Fidel Verdin is trying something different. He says that language focused on guns and violence promotes bad behavior rather than prevents it. That’s why he co-founded Summer of Peace, a city-wide youth rally to promote positive things that young people do in the city like music, dance, poetry and art. But to promote the positive people have to see it, and Fidel knows the perfect venues: vacant lots.


Learn more about the Martin Luther King Jr. Peace Place:

Civil rights murals mark entry to new Harambee park by Karen Slattery on the Neighborhood News Service

Turning vacant spaces into meaningful places by Margaret Rozga on the Neighborhood News Service

Additional Precious Lives content can be found on our media partner pages: Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, WUWM, WisconsinWatch.