June 24, 2016
By Michele Fiore
MILWAUKEE - It looks like a shipping container, but it's so much more. This gold painted portal is allowing people in Milwaukee to connect with portals in 29 countries. On Friday, thoughts on crime prevention were exchanged. Conversations in the Milwaukee portal are being recorded. The dialogue will be shared with researchers at Yale University, who are trying to better understand the public perception of police.
Uniformed officers, community leaders, and kids on Milwaukee's North side are hoping to learn a thing or two from people just like them in Newark, NJ.
"They're literally like us, going through the same struggles, the same problems, but still have vibrant individuals in those communities," said Divad Sanders of Newark.
Vibrant individuals, both old and young are trying to prevent the violence.
"We tell them we don't be having killings and stuff, like for three weeks and stuff," said Tyrone Skinner, 13 year old from Milwaukee.
The former shipping container is equipped with high speed internet, a projector, and sound system.
"It's like a modern day pen pal, that's a perfect way to describe it," said Lewis Lee, Milwaukee portal curator.
Since its April arrival, the portal has connected adults and children with 29 countries, including Rwanda where the topic was all about fun.
"And they wanted the input of American skaters. So low and behold, I went and found a bunch of skaters in the Milwaukee skating scene," said Lee.
Lee's hoping the portal can make a difference for the children of zip code 53206.
"But it's gonna take all of us in the community to keep the community safe," said Sister Patricia Rogers of Dominican Center.
It's presently set up near 24th and Burleigh Streets. There's also a new water park there.
"I don't think they can ever stop crime in the neighborhood," said Linda Wilson, a Milwaukee grandmother.
Wilson's watching her grandchildren play at the park, with the portal closeby.
"Actually the community has got kind of closer since this machine has been here," said Lee.