Still Standing: Loss, Heartbreak and Hope in the Midst of Milwaukee’s Gun Violence Crisis

Three mothers. A principal. A mother and a stepfather. A pastor. A young optimist. A reformed advocate. Read the stories of these Milwaukee lives touched by violence.

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Milwaukee last year set the kind of record nobody wants to see: 189 homicides, nearly all of them from gunshots. Those bullets tear not only through bodies but also the community, too, leaving young people full of promise in coffins – and in prison.

Their loved ones are left to grieve, seeking meaning from a loss that seems unimaginable while also, to some, inevitable. And advocates and helpers are left searching for answers and solutions. “It’s too easy for people to become numb,” says Debra Gillispie, whose son was killed 18 years ago. “But that’s much less likely when you hear someone’s story and share your own, too.”

Here are some of those stories.


This story is part of Milwaukee Magazine‘s May issue.

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