Letter from Publisher
Autumn is here. It’s bittersweet to bid adieu to picnics in the park, summer days at the pool or the pleasure of sipping a cold, local craft beer at an outdoor festival, but fall brings stunning colors as leaves change and the Earth, in our region, prepares to go dormant for a few months. Farmers harvest the last of their crops, graciously providing us with the nourishment we need to get through winter. Whatever your favorite season might be, see each transition as a gift reminding us that change is often healthy.
“Game Changers,” one of Natural Awakenings’ themes for October, focuses on the youth of our nation taking the reins to make a difference in social and environmental areas. Milwaukee is fortunate to have dedicated young game changers such as NEWaukee, which comprises young professionals focused on “leaving a lasting mark on the place they call home.” This includes transforming vacant lots into public art projects and advocating for new public policies. The group also founded the successful summer event NEWaukee Night Market, which has restored a vibrant sense of community to an underutilized stretch of downtown Milwaukee. Victory Garden Initiative, Teens Grow Greens and Walnut Way are a few of the many organizations offering youth and internship programs that empower teens through urban agriculture, which promotes education, good health, job skills and leadership.
This month’s feature article, “Youth Steps Up to the Global Challenge,” includes Wisconsinite Angie Jiang, a 2018 graduate of Madison West High School. Now in her first year at Columbia University, in New York, Jiang has been trained through the UN Foundation’s Girl Up initiative and is lobbying in Washington, D.C., for policy changes on sustainability, immigration and gender issues. Read more about how Jiang and others from younger generations are working to change our world for the better.
October is also Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and even here we see the opportunity for change. As the deluge of feel-good pink promotional merchandise hits the store shelves, it’s important to note that there’s controversy over “pink-washing” and what percentage of proceeds from the sales of those pink items goes toward actual breast cancer research and causes. Instead, donating directly to trusted organizations, or giving the gift of time through volunteer work, can often prove to be better options.
Milwaukee has local chapters of nationally respected breast cancer awareness organizations, as well as the homegrown After Breast Cancer Diagnosis (ABCD), which is featured as this month’s Community Spotlight feature. ABCD, founded by the late Melodie Wilson Oldenburg, a longtime respected local news anchorperson, has a deep pool of strong, courageous women that have survived and even thrived after breast cancer treatment and have volunteered to pay it forward. These dedicated mentors offer emotional support to those recently diagnosed with breast cancer, as well as their families, proving that we’re all in this together and empowering us to fight and overcome this disease.
Wishing everyone a blessed autumn season filled with healthy transitions.
Gabriella Buchnik, Publisher