One Place. Two Years. 100 Stories.

One Place. Two Years. 100 Stories.

June 7, 2016

Gun Violence is a crisis in Milwaukee which is why United Way is partnering with 371 Productions, WUWM 89.7 – Milwaukee Public Radio, WNOV 860 AM – The Voice and an array of other community organizations to help give a voice this issues and amplify efforts to solve it.

On June 15th Precious Lives, a weekly radio podcast series about young people and gun violence is putting on a live performance at the Pabst Theater.

The President of 371 Productions, Brad Lichtenstein, shares the moment he was impacted by gun violence, one of his favorite stories from the radio series and why the live show is an experience you won’t want to miss.

Q. What is the moment you knew gun violence was an issue in the city of Milwaukee and why did you decide to get involved in the Precious Lives project?

While we were putting Precious Lives together and getting the series started, my friend, Claude, was shot by a young boy during a carjacking. Seeing the impact on his family and mine, up close, firmed my resolve. We can't tolerate the gun violence that pervades our community.

Q. What kind of impact are you hoping the LIVE show makes?

Giving voice to the people directly impacted by the violence. Illuminating solutions and the great people in our community pushing them forward. Expanding the community of care so that everyone, no matter who they are, owns the problem of gun violence and will work to end it. And, finally, action -- I want people to use our Give Help/Get Help App, make a donation, become a mentor or just wrap your arms around a teenager and tell him that he is loved.

Q.  What will the audience gain from seeing the LIVE Show?

The Precious Lives LIVE show is a chance to really showcase the humanity and experiences of people directly impacted and put their talents on display. It's about moving us from seeing people as victims to seeing people as powerful and wonderfully human. It's also meant to be fun and entertaining too -- a way to showcase the issue for people who might not listen to the stories or even want to hear them. It’s a way for us to get in front of new audiences and bring them into the community of care.

Q. Which story has touched you or impacted your life the most?

I love them all and I'm so proud of Aisha and Emily's storytelling. If I had to pick one, I'd say Lisa Etienne's story of her son, Marcus, killed on a playground 20 years ago, always plays in the recesses of my mind. Maybe it resonates with me because I'm a parent and I can identify with her anguish and her perspective.

Buy Tickets to Precious Lives: The Live Show


Brad Lichtenstein
June 08 2016 at  2:08:59 PM

Thank you so much for your response Brian. You are right, of course, guns must be fired by someone to do damage. "Gun violence" is a term, however, that is used effectively outside of the gun control debate rhetoric. Gun violence is distinguished from other forms of violence, a term the FBI uses when it collects data as do other law enforcement agencies. I think more to your point, Precious Lives is focused on community first. While only a handful of our stories have specifically been about guns, the greater portion are about how we come together to keep each other safe. We've profiled families, mentors, agencies and every day people who are addressing the immediate and structural issues that produce violence, from education to poverty to education. If anything, we are trying to escape the narrow debate over gun regulation and bring more people into a humane discussion about how we make Milwaukee safe. I welcome you into this discussion.

Brian Hayes
June 07 2016 at  12:53:58 PM

Brad has it wrong, but he has adopted the rhetoric. There is no such thing as Gun Violence. Guns do not have a conscience, nor a decision making capacity. The true description about what is going on is "People Violence". Stop blaming guns !!!

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