From The Urban Underground to County Supervisor

By Khalil Coleman
August 2012

As a young man growing up in the city streets of Milwaukee, I have experienced injustices related to being a young black male. My first encounter with Urban Underground was in 2004 as a high school student. Police shootings and brutality were extreme among black male victims. U2 had implemented a program called “Cop Watch” which video-recorded the police carrying out their duties. The success of this program became known across the community and I definitely was interested in finding out more about this organization.

When conducting background research for my GCP micro-doc on Urban Underground, I learned that U2 was founded in 2000 and has become “a nationally recognized model for engaging youth in bold and life changing opportunities to address the most pressing problems facing them and their communities.”

In addition to the founders, executive director, staff, and members, I interviewed a young man who was a former student, staff, and organizer of U2. His name is David Bowen, and he has recently won a county supervisor position in Milwaukee County. His success is, in part, due to the leadership skills he learned at U2. David’s goals and values for this position doesn’t differ from what he learned and experienced coming up through the program of Urban Underground. His aim is to give back to younger people who also want to make a difference. David expresses his passions towards correcting the wrongs of the system and injustices affecting young boys and girls alike. Urban Underground is Milwaukee’s cultural cornerstone for youth engagement.

To me, U2 is another underground jewel that so many more of our young people need to uncover.  It’s organizations such as this one that gives our children a chance in society to stand up and speak out. Everyone likes to put numbers on young people’s lives without actually allowing them to tell their own story and create their own solution. U2 gives these young people just that, a voice, a stance, pride & dignity to help them find their own path to become a thriving member in society!

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