By Mrinal Gokhale
From being ridiculed for his West African heritage to being called a “Carlton Banks,” Ed Davies learned what it meant to be discriminated against at an early age. That is why he has started the SeeMe4Me campaign.
SeeMe4Me launched on Thursday, Nov. 21 at No Studios, 1037 W. McKinley Ave. The event was one of the many that took place as part of a two-day social justice summit in Milwaukee. The PSA played at about 7 p.m. in the No Studios Theater, followed by a panel discussion.
“I grew up with a mother who is an immigrant from Sierra Leone, West Africa. She moved here in the 60s and has a very thick accent. Growing up in the 70s, that was an issue in our community. People ridiculed her and therefore me,” Davies said.
Davies, who is originally from Washington, D.C., has lived in Milwaukee since 2016. He admitted that even he must challenge his own assumptions of others.
“I made immediate judgements about people I attended boarding school with at age 14,” he recalled. “My campaign is geared to let us express our own truth to share who we are.”
Launched with help from Kane Communication Group, SeeMe4Me’s tagline is “your perception is not my reality.” This nationwide campaign is video based and offers people the opportunity to speak against the misperceptions others make on their behalf.
After the audience watched the PSA video, a panel discussion took place between Davies and James Burnett, Director of Strategic Public Relations at Kane Communication Group. Burnett is a former journalist who has worked at the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. He has covered stories in many communities ranging from education to crime. These experiences motivated him to challenge the assumptions he made of others.
“I may have been compelled to make assumptions about people. There was the naiveté from living in only your space, and not knowing what’s going on in the next block or neighborhood,” he said.
“As a journalist, when I went to people’s homes and talked about what’s happening in their neighborhood, everyone had common denominators. Everyone worked, everybody hustled, everybody loved, and everybody is stressed about the same things.”
Though SeeMe4Me launched in Milwaukee, Davies said that his campaign is nationwide. The campaign’s website offers people the chance to speak their truth via video based submissions.
“We want to use what comes from this campaign as a catalyst for change. There will be community meetings about issues we generate from this campaign,” Davies said.
More information can be found at https://seeme4me.org/.