It's been a violent start to the week for Milwaukee. There have been five murders across the city since Sunday. However, a simple bike ride is a sign of the good Milwaukee has to offer.
Le Tour De Waukee is a bike ride with children and Milwaukee Police Officers to help familiarize the kids with other areas of the city. The ride is sponsored by a number of different agencies, including PeppNation Sports Leadership Camps. The ride gave the kids a chance to familiarize themselves with the entire city and not just their own neighborhoods.
"You need to know you can go outside of your community and still be fulfilled, Brandon Culpepper, President & CEO of PeppNation Sports Leadership Camps said. "I want them to know their city. I've lived all over the world and Milwaukee is beatufiul. It has tremendous assets and you can touch it. New York, I got things done and can move very swiftly but in Milwaukee, I can touch a CEO and these kids can do the same thing."
There were more than two dozen kids participating in the ride. Many live in the area around Sherman Park where the ride kicked off. Even for the bigger kids, this was an opportunity for them.
"I haven't gone around these full areas of Milwaukee," Stevell Cavalier said. "New stuff is happening every day."
Cavalier is 17 years old and about to be a senior in high school. However, the violence this week isn't lost on him after a boy his exact age was killed Monday night at the Swing Park on the East Side.
"I try not to pay attention to that," Cavalier said. "I stay away from violence. Bad vibes and all, I'm out here having a good time and helping out people who are in need of help. I try to find something active to do."
Cavalier was active today. When on two feet, he was head shoulders taller than most of the other participants. He's clearly over six feet tall but when all of the kids are on their bikes, helmets on, it's hard to discern a difference. They all rode as one with a police escort.
"As we're interacting, we feel safe and we get to ride along with them," Cavalier said. "We're in the good hands of them."
"Anytime the Milwaukee Police Department can get involved with a community event to show positive impacts we can have on children and the community, it's always a plus," Sgt. Juan Lopez with the Milwaukee Police Department said. "I can tell you from personal experience, as a young child growing up in these neighborhoods, every time I had a positive interaction with a police officer, it helped mold me for my future."
Sgt. Lopez acknowledged how hard this week has been for Milwaukee. The number of murders this week has weighed heavy on the city and exactly one week ago, the Police Department laid another officer to rest for the second time in two months. The bike ride was actually rescheduled out of respect for Officer Michalski's funeral last week.
However dark it may seem though, Sgt. Lopez has things like today's ride to remind him of why he got into this business to begin with.
"Milwaukee is more than just the negative," Sgt. Lopez said. "We understand, there are bad things that happen in every major city but a lot of positive things similar to what's happening today."