NEWaukeean of the Week

Dani Breen

"There’s so much potential in Milwaukee."

By - Jul 18th, 2016 12:54 pm
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Dani Breen. Photo courtesy of NEWaukee.

Dani Breen. Photo courtesy of NEWaukee.

Where do you work and what makes your role awesomesauce?

I work at the Northwest Side Community Development Corporation. My role is awesomesauce because I get to work directly with community members to implement changes in their neighborhoods. I work with a wide range of people, including, community residents, police, other nonprofits and governmental affiliates to really get some cohesive work done.

How long have you lived in Milwaukee and what brought you here?

I’ve lived here for about a year since my job at NWSCDC brought me here. After getting my master’s degree in international development and urban organizing, I was looking for a place for poverty alleviation and racial reconciliation work. I just wanted to be part of a transformation.

What is something that is missing from our community that you would love to see implemented?

There are a lot of people who have their hearts in the right place to revitalize Milwaukee neighborhoods, but often don’t have the connections or planning to get things done. They’re gaining momentum for this desired cohesion but there’s still progress to be made. I think people need to look more toward the north side because a lot of focus is downtown or other suburbs. We’re on the edge of a catalyst on the northwest side. The potential is there, but we need to increase the momentum for investing all-in.

What local restaurant is at the top of your list?

It’s a tie between Coffee Makes You Black (they have amazing chicken and waffles!) and BelAir Cantina (for the tacos, of course!)

What is your biggest hope for this city?

There’s so much potential in Milwaukee; there are so many big plans and dreams. My biggest hope is that they’ll come true and we can make Milwaukee a viable and safe community where everyone can get a job if they want and we see collaboration between community groups. I hope people will look at Milwaukee as an example of how a city can transform. I want us to be that example. There’s a lot of work to do, but that means that there is a lot of potential.

What is your favorite Milwaukee tradition?

The festivals. I love other cultures and there are so many cultures that are celebrated in this city at the same time.

What does your ideal Milwaukee weekend look like?

Good friends, good food / drinks and nature; I always love an adventure in the city with my friends!

What neighborhood do you live in and why do you love it?

I live in Washington Heights. I love it because it’s about 12 minutes from everywhere. I love that it’s safe, but also in the heart of the city within a really diverse group of people.

What’s your favorite hidden gem or secret fact about the city?

I love baseball. Milwaukee definitely has a rich baseball history, which is so fun. My favorite secret fact about the city is that at one point, Milwaukee had an all-female baseball team called the Milwaukee Chicks, and a Negro League team called the Milwaukee Bears. The traditions and history surrounding baseball in this city are so cool!

What do you think is going to be a game changer for the city in the year of 2016?

I want to see people get more and more involved. The catalysts in Milwaukee are working, and people are seeing that now is the time for change. Now is the time for Milwaukee to be what Milwaukee can be. People are realizing they can stand up and be part of the change in their neighborhood – that’s going to be a big game changer. We have good bones as a city. We have all the potential to come back and be that city that people come back to for a healthy and full life.

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