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The Story of Us

Written by Jamill “Jimmy” Bradley
    Saturday, 27 June 2015
The Story of Us

A lot has been said about the youth of today, sparking a long-winded conversation regarding the merit of each generation.

Questions of generational inferiority, criminal intentions and crippling apathetic mindsets have all seemed to elicit less than flattering opinions about those of us set to inherit the nation. Conversations like these only rarely involve the subject of the discussion: teenagers. As an 18 year-old high school senior, I am left to wonder about the accuracy of this conclusion.


A note from Jamie Ferschinger, Riverside Park Branch Manger: I met Jimmy in the fall of 2014 when he and his friends started coming to the Urban Ecology Center afterschool. Jimmy shared with me that he was studying writing and that one of his life goals was to see his work in print. We are happy to provide this platform for Jimmy to share his voice with the Urban Ecology Center community. Jimmy graduated from Riverside University High School in 2015. Thank you for writing this article, Jimmy and congratulations on graduation!


The conversation normally begins with a comparison of successor to predecessor; the predecessor being Generation X, the successor being Generation Y. The accepted belief is that Generation X is one prepared to take on the world’s evils in order to fulfill a belief in a social obligation to preserve the world’s beauty. While, on the contrary, Generation Y has been labeled as being socially problematic, inattentive and apathetic in comparison to our predecessor. This notion ignores the systemic social obstacles and restrictions that limit our capabilities for success.

Take Milwaukee for example. In an effort to lessen teenage involvement in criminal activities, the authorities implemented curfews and rules limiting teenage interaction as a whole. Select malls and stores won’t allow patrons under 18 to enter after a certain time without adult supervision. After the arcades, skate parks and record stores start to close, there is nothing left.

The result is a situation that my friends and I found ourselves in two years ago – young, broke and bored. Little did we know our solution was right behind our school, Riverside High School.

The Urban Ecology Center welcomed us with open arms and smiles and gave us a place where we could exist as “just us,” for free. After spending no more than 15 minutes there, we knew it was a welcoming place that would be a cornerstone of our friendship. In addition to giving us a place for our lives to happen, it also gave us an opportunity to be active. It is a place where we create while facilitating conversations among ourselves about our place in the city and our connection to it.

Ultimately, the discussion of my generation’s merit can be decided only with time and opportunities for us to prove that we aren’t apathetic and problematic. The discussion will continue and our story will unfold and just how important the Urban Ecology Center has been as a setting to our lives will become more apparent in the story of us.

Jamill “Jimmy” Bradley

Jamill “Jimmy” Bradley

A note from Jamie Ferschinger, Riverside Park Branch Manger:

I met Jimmy this past fall when he and his friends started coming to the Urban Ecology Center afterschool. Jimmy shared with me that he was studying writing and that one of his life goals was to see his work in print. We are happy to provide this platform for Jimmy to share his voice with the Urban Ecology Center community.

Jimmy graduated from Riverside University High School in 2015. Thank you for writing this article, Jimmy!

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