WHO: Naomi Elim, 16, already left Milwaukee once, having moved to Evansville, Indiana, as an infant. Her family came back a couple of years ago. When her mom said they might move again, Naomi fought back, saying she wouldn’t leave. Milwaukee remains capital-h Home.
WHERE: North Division High School, 1011 W. Center St.
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I don’t want to leave Milwaukee. I had a hard time moving here. But now that I’m getting to know Milwaukee, getting to know the streets, I don’t want to leave it. I was more anti-social in Indiana. I barely went anywhere. In school, I barely talked to people. I was really down. There’s a lot more energy here in Milwaukee that I needed in the first place.
Now, I’m actually doing things, actually talking to people and having full-blown conversations with people. I even created a club [at North Division High School], an all-girls group called Liberated Expressions. It will help us build our writing skills, our grammar, stuff like that, to help us express ourselves through writing instead of anger and fighting.
If I had to leave North Division, I’d feel schoolsick.
My church [West Side Church of God in Christ] brings a lot of laughter and happiness to me. I could be not smiling at all, not laughing at all, and when I get to the doorway, I start to feel it.
That’s how Milwaukee makes me feel.