The Milwaukee Press Club celebrated unity and growth at the city’s 171st birthday party Thursday night at The Grain Exchange. Members nominated superheroes who work nonstop to help Milwaukee remain a healthy and thriving city.
Aggie Purcell and Debbie Crivello, owner and manager of Aggie’s Bakery and Cake shop, stole the room with their tall cake of the Milwaukee sky line. Guests gathered around to watch superman fly around the heroic cake while taking note of the comic centerpieces.
Crivello said this is their fifth time providing the cake for the annual birthday party. When asked what their favorite part of the event was, Purcell said, “Being a part of the city’s birthday and making the cake for everyone; I mean how cool is that?”
A nominated hero Father Tim Kitke, a priest for 26 years, feels “Two things, absolutely humbled and absolutely fun. We are wonderfully together, and I think our city needs that sense of unity.” Father Tim who serves at four Milwaukee parishes says, “Because of our diversity we can work together.”
The Precious Lives Team also wanted unity within the city of Milwaukee. They too were nominated and attended the annual birthday party. The two-year project was an in depth and raw coverage on gun violence which dominated the charts in print and broadcast media.
Ashley Luthern, reporter for the Journal Sentinel, and the rest of the Precious Lives Team gave Milwaukee a chance to be vulnerable about the devastation gun violence can bring.
Luthern said, “I learned a lot about what aspects go into a radio story which is very different from what I do because I am a print reporter.”
After all the nominees were commemorated, Mayor Tom Barrett took the stage to address the recent activity from President Donald Trump. He stressed how the local police should be doing their duty and not spending time doing the jobs of the federal government.
The mayor said he wanted to ensure public safety. He felt splitting up a family by deportation when a boy, whose parents are the ones who brought him to the United States, is being pulled over for a broken headlight, would be unjust. Barrett described that it is not the fault of this hypothetical boy but instead the fault of the federal government.
Applause broke out for the mayor’s words to defend not only the Milwaukee residents but also the local police. Guests said they felt protected that the Mayor took time away from celebration and towards an issue that needed to be discussed and brought to attention.
Father Tim kicked off the rest of the night by singing happy birthday to Milwaukee. The rest of the guests joined in the celebration. It was a moment of unity and gratitude for the city.
The guests all have different stories about how they shed their light on the city individually but the night was about the community. Everyone was impacted by the stories and achievements made by Milwaukee superheroes.
That includes Father Tim, who is striving to bring positivity to those around him and to those in his parishes. He encourages others to look past differences and to agree to work together for a common purpose.
Father Tim said he is “trying to bring people together in relationship and realize that despite our differences we are really not that different.”