NEWaukeean of the Week

Sam Woods

"People will fight for you here in ways I haven’t seen in other places."

By - Jul 29th, 2019 04:38 pm
Sam Woods. Photo by Alisha Balistreri.

Sam Woods. Photo by Alisha Balistreri.

Where do you work and what makes your role awesome?

I wear a few different hats, but most of my time is spent as a Public Ally at Ex Fabula and Producer with Bridge the City.

Ex Fabula is a storytelling organization that connects Milwaukeeans through sharing personal stories. I coordinate our volunteer base and do data analysis that helps us connect with more Milwaukeeans.

Bridge the City is a podcast that connects people, resources, and ideas to inspire Milwaukee to action. We highlight key issues and cool people affecting Milwaukee, and provide action steps for you to get more involved in the city.

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

I’ve been in Milwaukee for about two years now. Believe it or not, I came here mostly in search of adventure. I grew up in Seattle and went to school in DC, but wanted to see what else was out there and thought Milwaukee was what I needed at the time. I arrived here in summer and luckily fell in love before winter hit.

What do you love most about Milwaukee?

The sense of community here is interesting. People will fight for you here in ways I haven’t seen in other places. I feel like from day one I’ve had people in my corner ready to back me up in anything. Whereas in other places I’ve lived it’s common to have many passive friendships, here it’s either I know you and I’ll fight for you, or you’re a stranger to me and I already forgot your name. It’s not always a good thing, but I’ve been challenged and loved here in a very unique way, which is what I love the most but is so hard to explain to outsiders.

What is one word that you would use to describe Milwaukee?


What local restaurant is at the top of your list?

Tricklebee Cafe. It’s the perfect blend of great locally-sourced food, voluntary culture, and mission. Honorable mentions include Blue Star Cafe, Taqueria Arandas, Jake’s Deli on North, and that taco truck on 27th just off Forest Home.

What is your biggest hope for this city?

As Milwaukee gains recognition through the Bucks and DNC and whatever else in the next few years, I hope that we’re more willing to invest outside the box. Not only by investing resources outside of the Riverfront and downtown, but also by taking chances on things like libraries, communal or mixed-income housing complexes, and childcare cooperatives. These kinds of social investments might be more commercially uncertain than a new bar or market-rate apartments, but are far more capable of breaking down the social barriers we all agree are holding the city back.

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

You’re never more than one person away from who you need to connect with here. This is Smallwaukee, chances are you already know someone working in the spaces you want to be in, so get them a coffee and make your pitch.

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