MILWAUKEE — The Milwaukee 2020 CommUNITY Growth summit is taking place on Tuesday and Wednesday at Northwestern Mutual Tower and Commons.
The summit, hosted by the Milwaukee 2020 Host Committee and Gener8tor, a startup accelerator headquartered in Chicago, is bringing together hundreds of community members and local leaders to have open and honest conversations that explore the growth and culture in Milwaukee's communities.
Through speeches, panel discussions and case studies, the two day event is exploring Milwaukee's strengths and weaknesses as a way to better understand the opportunities that exist because of the upcoming Democratic National Convention.
Topics of conversation include the city's growing tech scene, local talent retention efforts and the connection to the city's arts and culture, while acknowledging the existing cultural barriers that some say have existed for too long.
On Tuesday, John Ridley of No Studios sat down with Tarik Moody of 88Nine Radio to discuss creating identity and Opportunity on the Third Coast.
Ridley discussed the importance of being honest when talking about the city.
"Milwaukee - It's great," said Ridley. " The festivals - you've got to go! The food, the people, even the winters!"
But, he said discussions must go beyond the city's strengths in order to help facilitate growth.
"Once I kind of lure people in, I've got to be real with you," said Ridley while giving a general example of the types of conversations that must happen. "This side of town is doing great and this side of town is struggling and has been struggling for far too long."
Joe Kirgues is the co-founder of Gener8tor, the organization co-hosting the summit. He agrees that these conversations are important.
"Any discussion about where to go has to take account for where we've been and how we've gotten here," said Kirgues. "Every community believes they're going to be stronger tomorrow and our case is to make the case to the next generation that this is the best place to build your career, the best place to build your home and the best place to build your family."
Exploring growth and pushing for community awareness with 153 days until the DNC.
This is the second summit hosted by Milwaukee 2020 Host Committee. The first, titled Ensuring Economic Equity" was held in November of 2019. A third and final summit will focus on volunteering in April.
The DNC will be held Monday, July 13, 2020 through Thursday, July 16, 2020.