MILWAUKEE — Activists in Milwaukee gathered Saturday afternoon to mark 100 days of marches, calling for an end to police overreach and racial injustices.
Many marchers say they will continue to fight for change, especially after what happened in Kenosha.
Gaige Grosskreutz returned to The People's Revolution at Johnson Park on Saturday afternoon, wearing a large cast over his right arm. Friends say he had volunteered as a medic for the marches throughout the summer.
"Y'all are the reason that I've been out here, am out here, and still will be out here," Grosskreutz said to the crowd.
Investigators believe 17-year-old Kyle Rittenhouse shot Grosskreutz in the arm during unrest in Kenosha last week. Grosskreutz was taken to Froedtert Hospital for his injuries.
"Words are difficult right now, it's a lot to process," Grosskreutz said.
Grosskreutz held a moment of silence for Anthony Huber and Joseph Rosenbaum, the two men who were shot and killed that night.
"At no point, regardless of the topic, whether you are for or against the topic that is being protested, nobody should fear for their safety," Grosskreutz said. "Nobody. Regardless of your opinions. Nobody should lose their life over voicing their opinion."
Court documents say Grosskreutz appeared to have a gun the night he was shot.
Rittenhouses's attorneys are claiming self-defense.
Activists in Milwaukee want to make clear that violence is not part of their mission.
State Rep. David Bowen (D-Milwaukee) says the people marching are "some of the nicest, peaceful people."
"It is not to be characterized, demonized as even the President of the United States want us to seem and for folks to believe that we are the enemy, we're not," Bowen said. "We want the future that this country, that this state deserves so that Black people can thrive again."
All summer, dozens and sometimes hundreds of people walked through Milwaukee or Wauwatosa streets. The marches began in response to the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis, and they continued as activists drew attention to local families whose loved ones died at the hands of law enforcement.
Among those marching are the families of Alvin Cole and Jay Anderson, both of whom were killed in police shootings.
They say the shooting of Jacob Blake has been really hard on them.
"It was disturbing because it just brings flashbacks with my son," said Tracy Cole, Alvin's mother. "It hurts."
The Cole family spoke at a separate event called Black and Brown Solidarity March, which was organized by Voces De La Frontera and Youth Empowered in the Struggle. Several dozen people marched from the Mitchell Park Domes to the Milwaukee County Courthouse.
Wauwatosa Police Officer Joseph Mensah has been involved in three deadly shootings on the job. Two shootings were ruled as justified, and one is still under investigation. Cole's family says they expect to hear a decision from Milwaukee County District Attorney John Chisolm soon.
Mensah has been suspended and Wauwatosa police will soon get body cameras. The Cole family believes their marching played a role in those decisions.
In the meantime, the Cole family has a message for the Blake family.
"Stay strong, it's a blessing for him to be alive, how many police victims do you know survive, who's able to tell their story, you don't hear that. And I know they're shocked for him to be alive, but it's a blessing he's alive, but they just got to stay strong because it's going to be a fight as well," Taleavia Cole, Alvin's sister, said. "It's no different from our situation, he's a victim of police violence as well, he's just able to share his story. And so they have our support, we hope to stand with them soon, we hope for them to stand for us soon."