BROOKFIELD -- — Over the summer of 2020, Natasha Broxton of Brookfield posted on social media she wanted to address the racial division in her community and the world. More importantly, she posted she wanted to be a bridge-builder.
So, she asked if anyone would be interested in joining a group called "Be the Bridge" where people from different backgrounds can meet and have honest, and sometimes, difficult, conversations about race and inequalities.
"It branched from the George Floyd incident," said Broxton, a mother of five and Milwaukee business owner.
Be the Bridge is a national faith-based movement with a goal of racial reconciliation. Blacks, whites, and whoever has a willing heart for change is welcome.
These days, the group meets virtually once a month for nine months. It's a safe space for anyone to ask anything.
Emotionally unpacking the pain and racial injustice in America takes courage. Broxton has a lot of it.
"There was this us versus them mentality and that's just not who I am as an individual," Broxton said.
Over the summer, Broxton started the first group. She said twelve people signed up. For the fall session, twenty people joined.
With racial unrest hitting so close to home, it was evident to Broxton how important these conversations are.
"You know why are people angry? A lot of people didn't understand what was the anger for?" she explained.
Broxton says the group learns how to be better listeners and how to take action so you can be an ally to people of color.
"A lot of the problem is you have people who don't want confrontation. But we teach people you can speak up without being confrontational," she said.
"Some of the conversations that we tackle is, it just didn't' start with police brutality. This is years worth of inequalities in the Black community," she continued.
"It makes me feel good especially when people come to me and let me know "Thank you, thank you for allowing us to put this group together,"' Broxton said.
"I'm hoping to be a leader and to be a role model to other people in the community so they know they can actually pick up this mantle and keep going," she said.
The next be the bridge group is expected to start in May. Broxton's passion for peace-making is leading her to new paths. She and her friend created a non-profit where they'll educate others about racial inequalities in the cities they live in. It's called Unity in Action.