Youth Rise MKE seeks to promote youth voices to expand perspectives in Milwaukee.

Youth Rise MKE is a youth-led, community-based digital publication where young people ages 14-19 in the central city of Milwaukee originate, report, create and produce all content. In the summer of 2016, it piloted and operated as part of the Urban Underground Earn and Learn summer employment program. It continued into the spring and summer of 2017 as part of Urban Underground’s programming in partnership with the Marquette University Diederich College of Communication and the Marquette University Social Innovation Initiative. Passing the Torch: Activism in Milwaukee Then and Now is our second edition. Our first edition, Views from the Youth can be viewed here.



Youth Rise MKE’s manifesto, as crafted by our founding students:

  1. We are storytellers, elevating voices in our city as well as within ourselves, sharing both news and personal stories, always upholding the values of honesty and credibility. We seek to tell stories that confront issues while also looking toward solutions with hope.
  2. We are students, learning as we go and open to growth. Every element of our publication is led and developed by youth.
  3. We are collaborators, knowing we are better together and stronger when we embrace community.
  4. We are changemakers, expanding the conversation and shifting the paradigm of what the media looks like in our city while challenging perceptions and stereotypes.
  5. We are activists, pursuing equality and equity because we believe every single human being is deserving of dignity. We are passionate about social justice issues in our city, especially those related to health, education, public safety and juvenile justice.
  6. We are creatives, communicating our content in innovative and relevant ways, providing spaces for our contributors to be expressive and artistic.
  7. We are Milwaukee, valuing our connection to our community and impacting it positively by representing those who are often underrepresented or misrepresented as well as people and groups doing good work. We are from Milwaukee and for Milwaukee.
  8. We are leaders, committing to both the personal and professional growth and development of each participating contributor.
  9. We are dreamers, hoping to foster inspiration and passion among our contributors as well as our readers.
  10. We are the youth rising, taking back the narratives that form about us, ensuring that our voices and views are heard, loud and clear.
Youthrise MKE students on the 16th street viaduct.

Who made Passing the Torch?

The following Urban Underground students contributed to this edition of Youth Rise MKE in the form of researching, reporting, interviewing, recording, filming, photographing or writing: Ananias Smith, Ciera Watkins, Da’Quan Ware-Gordon, Damon Taylor, Daryl Fields, David McGraw, Fabian Sanditer, Hakeem Hoskins, Mercedes Hayward, Pilar Sharp, Sean De La Rosa, Simone Lewis-Turner, Vondell Moore and William Mallett.

Urban Underground staff members Enrique Violetti, Savannha Pyatt and Thomas Leonard and Marquette students Abby Ng and Lauren Brown provided essential support to the process of creating Passing the Torch. Some of the photos on the James E. Groppi Unity Bridge were shot by Marquette students Dan Barrett and Catherine Bell. Allison Dikanovic, a Marquette student and long time volunteer at Urban Underground, served as executive editor guiding the project.

Passing the Torch would not have been possible without the generosity and support of Kelsey Otero of the Marquette University Social Innovation Initiative, Kimo Ah Yun of the Marquette University Diederich College of Communication, Sharon McGowan of the Milwaukee Neighborhood News Service and Sharlen Moore of Urban Underground.

Student placing a digital camera on a tripod.