Hundreds of bows to line the streets of Martin Drive neighborhood in annual Red Bow Project

The bows honor the lives of neighbors lost over the years and began in 1993.
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Posted at 9:10 PM, Nov 23, 2022
and last updated 2022-11-23 22:10:34-05

MILWAUKEE — Drivers passing through Milwaukee’s Martin Drive Neighborhood will see red bows lining the streets until January. It’s a tradition decades in the making called the Red Bow Project.

Residents say it honors their community and the people in it.

Raymond Duncan is on the planning committee for the neighborhood and volunteered to hang bows on his block this year.

Duncan says since the early 90’s, neighbors have put up those bows on all the trees in the area during the holiday season. The original neighbors who began the tradition have passed away, so now, those bows hang in their honor.

“It’s been around for that many years, so it’s in remembrance of those neighbors as well as keeping a tradition like that alive,” said Duncan.

Duncan decided to hang ribbons on his block the Wednesday before Thanksgiving because of the nice weather. He says the tradition is something he looks forward to every year.

“The red bows, it sticks out,” said Duncan, “You know, imagine the streets eventually being snow covered, holidays, people are busy. It makes your drive a little bit enjoyable.”

When asked what he was thankful for this year, Duncan said having a community that cares enough to know each other and work together to improve.

“Our neighborhood is like an extended family. You care about more than what just happens in your house. You care about what happens in your neighborhood, your community,” said Duncan.

“I’m thankful for all the neighbors advocating for a better Milwaukee.”

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