It was never just about Dontre.
After the killing for Dontre Hamilton in the shadows of city hall, a movement emerged. The Coaltion for Justice led matches in the streets. The governor feared the people and activated the national guard. The sheriff got to shuck and jive for Fox News. At times there have been arrests. Nate Hamilton, Dontre’s brother, cried out “Activate the power of the people” and Maria Hamilton, mother of Dontre, has become a force on a national level.
We’ve rallied around “I can’t sleep.” We demanded the name of the officer be released. We got that. We demanded better training for crisis intervention and mental health training. We got that. When the local DA failed to prosecute, we demanded a federal investigation. We got that.
2 years after the fateful moment in Red Arrow Park, the citizens have seen progress in our struggle for justice.
But this was never just about Dontre.
If it was only focused on Dontre Hamilton, folks could say the movement failed. Chris Manney lost his job, but the PTSD from killing an innocent man allows him to collect disability checks. The local DA didn’t press charges. The DOJ didn’t press charges. We still don’t have a patterns and practice investigation of MPD. Chief Flynn still has his job.
Dontre in life promoted One Love. Dontre in death demands justice.
If I have learned anything from the amazing leaders locally and nationally it is that Black Lives Matter is not about surviving. It is about Black Lives Thriving.
This is why the stories of Derek Williams, Tony Robinson, Brandon Johnson, the treatment of Darius Simmons’ mother, and Corey Stingley are repeated. This isn’t one situation. It is systematic.
This is not just about Dontre because the need to not just “reform.” It is not a case of a “few bad apples.” The need to overhaul the Milwaukee Police stems from the days of Frank Jude. And longer.
This is not just about Dontre, because cutting funding for mental health services hurts our whole city.
Black Lives can’t thrive without economic justice so the Coaltion for Justice aligns with the fight for 15.
The inhuman treatment of migrants through ICE raids and Milwaukee Sheriff’s actions reveal the fault of putting police at odds with whole groups of citizens.
This is not just about seeing Christopher Manney in jail. That is one objective, but it isn’t the end game.
A city where black lives thrive has always been the goal. Policing, economics, education, mental health services, environmental justice, leadership that serves the citizens: all of these are issues tied up in the struggle for Milwaukee’s liberation.
Dontre inspires this work. Dontre demands this work. The Hamilton family activates this. The city of Milwaukee deserves this.
TURN UP, WONT TURN DOWN! WE’RE DOING THIS FOR DONTRE NOW!