Aisha Turner

Race & Ethnicity Reporter

Aisha Turner joined WUWM in 2017 as the station’s first Race and Ethnicity Reporter. She previously collaborated with the station on Precious Lives – an award-winning series about how gun violence impacts young people in Milwaukee.

An East Coast transplant, Aisha began her career in Washington, DC. She worked for the PBS NewsHour, starting as a desk assistant and moving up to the ranks of reporter-producer. She’s also done stints at Al Jazeera America and in local news. 

Aisha has covered a range of national and international affairs stories and has a special interest in human rights issues.

Outside of media, Aisha’s been engaged with international education. In the spring of 2017, she was a facilitator with the International Honors Program’s human rights course, during which she traveled with university students to Nepal, Jordan, and Chile. 

Aisha has a joint-MA in Global Studies from the Universities of Leipzig and Vienna. Her Master’s research included comparative approaches to diversity, social exclusion, and urbanization. She has a BA in Public Policy, Sociology, and Media Studies from Duke University.

Aisha Turner

On Saturday, Milwaukeeans rallied in response to the racial violence in Charlottesville, Virginia. A large group spread out at the end of Wisconsin Avenue and chanted “white silence is violence” … “love trumps hate” … and “black lives matter.” 

They stood between the Northwestern Mutual Tower and the orange sunburst sculpture in O’Donnell Park. Some cars passing by honked in support.

Aisha Turner

Milwaukee has said goodbye to one of its prominent -- and outspoken -- faith leaders. For the last 10 years, Steve Jerbi was senior pastor at All Peoples Church on 2nd and Clarke.

He stood out as a white man leading a predominantly black congregation. He also became known for his passionate pursuit of racial and social justice.

This Sunday -- for the first time in a decade -- the congregation will gather without Jerbi, because he's moving to California to take a position with a church there.

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

This is the final episode of Precious Lives. And for this final story, we thought we’d return to the first family we met - the family of Laylah Petersen.

Two years ago, we interviewed Ashley Fogl and Amanda Legler.

Start From The Beginning: #001 Precious Lives: How Do You Measure the Loss of a Five-Year-Old Girl?

yeyen, fotolia

On June 11, 1994, Garland Hampton woke up around 10:30 am. He poured himself a bowl cereal, took a shower and went to a friend’s birthday party. That evening, Garland got into a fight with a fellow gang member. He pointed a 9-millimeter pistol at Donell Storks and shot him in the left side of the head.

Both boys were 15 years old.

Garland was arrested on homicide charges the next day. He wrote in his police report: “I feel very sorry about what happened.”

Angela Peterson | Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

After Sylville Smith was shot and killed by a police officer this summer, his family was left to grieve and figure out how to move forward.

His brother Sedan and cousin Taz have emerged as community leaders.

They’re young black men from the streets who are taking advantage of the spotlight to seek justice for Sylville, and push for a larger change in their community. And Precious Lives discovered how they’re being changed along the way.

Courtesy of the Campbell Family

There’s a lot we know about gun violence. We know it’s concentrated in poorer areas. And we know those areas tend to be heavily black. But how did things get that way -- how did we get to the point where 84% of Milwaukee’s homicide victims are black?

To start understanding some of the historical underpinnings of how we got to where we are, Precious Lives producers Aisha Turner and Emily Forman visited Monk’s Barbershop.

Precious Lives

This is Precious Lives episode 93. We’re almost at our goal of telling 100 stories about gun violence and young people in Milwaukee. We’ve covered the family members who have lost loved ones, the activists fighting to make the city better, and the political leaders overseeing it all. Each week, we ask our interview subjects to be emotionally honest with us as we try to understand the problem of gun violence. This week, the microphones are turned on our reporters.

Courtesy of Mario Drain

Born a few months apart, Mario Drain and his friends wound up with very different fates after committing armed robbery together in high school.

His friends were 17 and sentenced as adults. Mario was still 16. He was sent to the Running Rebels and put into the Intensive Monitoring Program.

Mario's case workers stayed on him -- they made sure he came to meetings, got involved in activities and showed up to school everyday. This alternative to incarceration worked.

Aisha Turner, Precious Lives

In August 2016, 23-year old Sylville Smith was shot by District 7 Officer Dominique Heaggan.

Officer Lawson Murrell was long-interested in improving the relationship between the police and the black community. He’s now the Milwaukee Police Department's District 7 Community Liaison Officer.

And at the memorial for Sylville Smith on 44th and Auer, he’s facing the first major test of his new role. And as a black police officer, he’s stuck in an especially tough position.

Mike De Sisti, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

On August 13th, all eyes turned to Milwaukee’s Sherman Park neighborhood. Protesters jumped on police cars and set buildings on fire, outraged over the police shooting of Sylville Smith.

Michelle Maternowski

On Saturday, August 14th, a Milwaukee police officer shot and killed 23-year old Sylville Smith near the intersection of West Auer Avenue and North 44th Street.

The police department reported that Smith had a gun and refused to drop it. Details are still unfolding.

What we do understand is that in the Sherman Park neighborhood where this took place, tensions had been mounting for weeks.

Sylville’s death sparked peaceful protests, as well as violent unrest. Footage of buildings set aflame brought national attention to the Milwaukee and its struggles.

Michelle Maternowski

After a fatal police shooting near Milwaukee's Sherman Park neighborhood on Saturday, the area erupted into protests and chaos. For two consecutive nights, demonstrators took to the streets. Businesses were burned, people were injured, and Milwaukee's weekend of unrest made national headlines.

READ: WUWM's Complete Coverage of Milwaukee's Unrest

Photo courtesy of Jermaine Reed’s Facebook page

Black youth make up two-thirds of the kids in Milwaukee's foster care system.

This worries Jermaine Reed. He is determined to make foster care a more effective system -- especially for black youth.

He calls foster care an incubator for the criminal justice system.

Jermaine is the executive director of Fresh Start Family Services, Wisconsin’s first private placement agency run by an African American. He also hosts Fresh Start Today, a radio program on WNOV dedicated to educating the black community about child welfare.

John Klein / Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

Destiny Boone remembers her daughter Za'layia as a sassy, creative girl who loved to rap, write and help take care of her younger siblings.

Destiny is still wrapping her head around losing her nine-year-old daughter. Za’layia was the victim of a stray bullet that struck her during a shootout on May 5th, 2016.

As the family copes with the loss of a child, Destiny’s aunt, Ramona, is working to make sure Za’layia is never forgotten.

Photo courtesy of Beverley Moore

Beverley Moore grew up amid gun violence in the inner city. When she became a mom, she made the decision to move to the suburbs because she worried about her son's safety.

For the most part, Beverley has found what she was looking for: a sense of peace and relaxation.

But even now, guns are a fairly ubiquitous part of her life. Her friends have lost loved ones, her ex-husband’s job keeps him in close proximity to violence, and the families she works with in the foster care system are often impacted by gun violence.

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