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.
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.
Editor’s note: This story has been updated to remove an erroneous reference to the Liberating Expressions to Grow writing workshop.