371 Productions

Precious Lives Creator / Producer

Brad Lichtenstein - Executive Producer

Brad is the president of 371 Productions, a company that makes media for the common good. He has been making documentaries for PBS, Al Jazeera America, Discovery Channel, the BBC and other broadcasters for over 20 years. His PBS Independent Lens feature documentary, As Goes Janesville, was nominated for a national Emmy. 371 builds impact campaigns for its projects, from ongoing workshops about aging with Almost Home, to mobile apps like BizVizz, a corporate accountability tool that grew from As Goes Janesville. Brad is a huge fan of radio. Precious Lives is his first adventure in that realm.

Emily Forman - Senior Producer

Emily comes to Milwaukee from KCAW in Sitka, Alaska where she reported on a range of stories, including Native American fishing traditions, scientific discoveries about ice age goats and the unlikely path of Alaska’s newest Orthodox bishop. Her work has also aired on NPR and Alaska Public Radio Network. Emily is a graduate of the prestigious Salt Institute for Documentary Studies in Portland, Maine.

Eric Von - Host/Producer

For twenty five years, through three successful stints in both morning and evening drive, Eric Von was behind the microphone as host of one of Milwaukee’s most popular talk shows, the original Morning Magazine and The Eric Von Show, for radio station 1290 WMCS-AM.

Von has received many awards and commendations for his on-air and community service work. His deft handling of national and local issues is widely acknowledged as the primary reason 1290 WMCS has been nominated twice for the radio industry’s coveted Marconi Award.

Aisha Turner - Producer

Aisha Turner is a writer and producer from Baltimore, Maryland. She cut her teeth in broadcasting while based in Washington, DC as a reporter-producer at the PBS NewsHour, originally the MacNeil/Lehrer Report. She’s also done brief stints at Al Jazeera America and local news.

Aisha has covered a range of national and international affairs stories and has a special interest in social justice issues. To that end, she has worked and studied in various countries throughout Europe and Africa. Aisha has a joint-MA in Global Studies from the Universities of Leipzig and Vienna and a BA in Public Policy and Sociology from Duke University.

Paul Kjelland - Engagement Director

As a member of the Justseeds Artists’ Cooperative, an international decentralized network of visual artists, Paul produces work with and for social and environmental justice movements. He is a co-founder of the Riverwest24, an annual 24 hour bicycle race and community project in Milwaukee entering it’s eighth year. Other projects include co-curating a lecture series called Night School that combines academics, activism and the arts to explore cohesive understanding and strategies to issues facing Milwaukee and beyond. Paul is also a co-founder of a mobile experimental cultural and independent media center called ReciproCITY.

Courtesy of the Marshall Family

Laura Richard Marshall and Greg Marshall moved from the Village of Cheneque in Waukesha County to raise their family in Milwaukee’s Sherman Park neighborhood nine years ago. This dismayed some of their acquaintances, who couldn't get beyond the neighborhood’s crime statistics.

From the outside, it is easy to paint Sherman Park neighborhood with a broad brush. In the first five months the Marshalls lived in their new neighborhood, there were five shootings within an eight block radius of their home.

Rick Wood | Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

When a nine-year-old girl gets shot in the head while watching TV, where do we look for answers?

Do we expect the city government to offer solutions? Some people might not know that the City of Milwaukee has an Office of Violence Prevention ­or that they’re filling two new positions focused on engaging youth.

Reggie Moore is the new director of this Office. He says, “We don't need any more wake up calls. We need answers.”

But that the answers lie within the community, and it’s his job to help make them visible.

Aisha Turner | Precious Lives

At the COA Goldin Center, there's now a portal that takes Milwaukeeans to Newark, New Jersey.

The portal is a gold shipping container equipped with high-speed, life-sized video conferencing. It uses technology to encourage intimate conversations with people across space.

Leaders here and in Newark are sharing experiences of, and trading solutions, to gun violence. An issue that weighs on both cities.

Emily Forman

Meet two Wisconsin moms who carry concealed guns. Kelli Petery lives in South Milwaukee with her husband and two kids, and has a Springfield SDX 9mm. Shamara Austin is a single parent in Milwaukee who has three children, and carries a 380 Ruger.

Their main motivation for carrying is the same: protecting their kids.

Michael Sears, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

A bulletin board in a Milwaukee middle school bears the city’s 2015 homicide statistics. 152 murder victims, ­ although a handful of those cases were later considered to be self ­defense homicides. Photos of some of the victims accompany the statistics. They are all black.

One educator has an explanation for this and uses the board to spark conversation with students about how present day gun deaths relate to centuries of oppression.

Corresponding Content:

Aisha Turner

Most homicide victims are African American men and boys. So how are young people supposed to feel entitled to their dreams when the odds are stacked against them?

Khalil Coleman, educator and community activist, teaches writing workshops at several Milwaukee Public Schools. He's brought into schools to help students find their voice.

Emily Forman

At a small, public charter high school in Milwaukee, students practice circle keeping. The restorative justice tool gives students ownership over their own healing process.

A lot of the students at The Alliance School have been affected by gun violence and this tool has been making a difference.

Emily Forman

24-year-old Isiah Johnson survived two shootings in one year. He asked his church, All Peoples Church, for help. Then the parishioners there formed a men’s group to help keep Isiah safe.

Since Precious Lives' first story on Isiah, the group has been meeting regularly. This week, Precious Lives producer Emily Forman checks in with him to see how it’s going.

Brad Lichtenstein | 371 Productions

The City of Milwaukee has a youth council. Young people ages 14 to ­18 are selected to represent each Aldermanic District.

Gun violence is one of the council’s top issues.

Michael Sears | Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

You might remember Nicole Sheldon from a previous Precious Lives episode. She was robbed at gunpoint in front of her home. Then had to leave her dream job as a Milwaukee County homicide prosecutor in order to heal.

Her husband Lance Johnson regularly encounters gun violence through his work as a Milwaukee firefighter. He been doing that for 14 years. And several times in their relationship, their work lives have collided.

COA Youth & Family Centers

One of Precious Lives' first interviews took place at the Holton Youth and Family Center. We set out to explore how gun violence impacts youth in Milwaukee and met many teens during Holton’s after school program who shared stories and insights. And although plenty of these teens have experienced violence firsthand, Holton always provided an alternative - a safe place to have fun.

Michael Sears, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

Homicide prosecutors go to work and face grieving families. Often, before the weight of the loss has sunk in. After former homicide prosecutor Nicole Sheldon got robbed at gunpoint, the details of her cases reminded her of her own trauma.

Corresponding Content

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel - Former prosecutor finding peace after trauma of her own robbery

Emily Forman

A student with a 4.0 grade average does not seem like a student in danger. But we’ve heard countless times ­ about how where you live determines risk.

Many of the teens who attend the United Community Center ­on Milwaukee’s south side live amidst pockets of gang activity.

Former gang member, Jose Vasquez teaches them how to help themselves and others by sharing his life experiences.

Jose Vasquez's Story

Maddy Power

Last week, the 67th Crime Prevention Awards honored many Milwaukeeans. A block watch captain, chaplains, police officers and a barber. Rocksteady Barbershop and Salon owner Aaron Blathers offers youth free haircuts through a program called Barbershop Mondays. This program fosters intergenerational conversation and connections ­- key pieces in preventing youth violence.

At the Holton Youth Center, a group of kids and adults crowd into a room, typically used for arts and crafts. But today it’s a pop­up barbershop. Four barber chairs, and four real barbers.

Emily Forman

Through our Precious Lives reporting, we meet many families mourning a loved one killed by a gun. Often this isn’t the only time they’ve been affected by gun violence. What we hear illuminates what scholars tell us — the vast majority of homicides occur within a very small network of people.

So if you’re in that network, how can you escape? How can you keep your kids safe?

One dad in Milwaukee is trying to shield his son from the kinds of tragedies he experienced when he was young.

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