MILWAUKEE — Fires, viruses, racial injustice, murder hornets, a crazy election and so much more have contributed to a chaotic 2020. With all that being said, sometimes you just need to talk or sound off about something without anyone being judgmental or trying to argue with you. A Milwaukee woman has stepped up to the plate to lend a kind ear to all that need it.
"Being out here is just providing space and folks an opportunity to be heard to share what’s real and alive for them in this moment and to reflect back what I heard them say without advice or trying to change them or anything like that. Just hearing what’s real for them," Jules Maloney, a communications specialist, said.
- 'My anxiety was sky high': Waukesha, Cedarburg and Milwaukee residents sound off about election night
She has set up pop-up 'Empathy Booths' before, but hasn't in 2020 due to the pandemic. However, after the election, she said that people needed an outlet to talk in a safe space.
"Just hearing the pain people have been experiencing. Hearing some of the language that folks are choosing and just recognizing that it's driving them apart and they feel it," she said.
On Wednesday she set up her booth at Locust and Bremen Street in Milwaukee at around 3 p.m. She said seven people stopped to talk to her before it got dark. She set up at the same place on Thursday at noon. That's when Kevin Glowicki approached her. They chatted for a few minutes before Maloney invited Glowicki to sit down. They talked for about 20 minutes about all sorts of things.
At the end Glowicki said, "A weight that came off the shoulders."
It's simple interactions like these that Maloney said can have a huge impact on people.
"This is an opportunity to connect and help people come together sort of find the common ground."
While she was inspired to do this because of the election, no one has actually talked to her about that. Instead, she said people talk about their families, jobs, and the pandemic.
"I don’t know what that means. I don’t need to figure it out. I'm just here to listen to what’s true for them at this moment," she said.
People can talk about whatever they want for however long they want and Maloney will be there for them.