The MacCanon Brown Homeless Sanctuary hosted a night of acoustic music and spoken word performances on Sunday, Oct. 11. 7 to 9 p.m. It was open to the public and free coffee was available to any student with an ID. The event took place at The Coffee House, 1905 W. Wisconsin Ave., which happens to be across the street from Mashuda Hall.
The event hosted prominent Milwaukee-based performers such as John Steger, Steve Cohen and Professor Pinkerton. John Steger is a roots singer/songwriter who leads two bands, R&B Cadets and Semi-Twang. Steve Cohen is a blues harmonica and guitar performing musician and educator and was a solo performer finalist at the 2010 International Blues Challenge in Memphis. Lastly, Professor Pinkerton specializes in skills from the vaudeville era including sideshow stunts and storytelling.
Volunteers Jill and Steve Haberman chose the music for the event. Both teach middle school at Holy Family Parish School in Whitefish Bay. Steve is a musician who played on Sunday.
The Habermans said they wanted to volunteer because “people who are aching have blessings to give.”
This homeless resource center was formed largely in part by its president Sister MacCanon Brown. She said that this organization is a next step for her. After leaving a previous organization, “a group of people gathered around me and created this new organization so that my work can continue,” said MacCanon Brown.
The Habermans have known MacCanon Brown since 1990.
MacCanon Brown has been working with the homeless for the last 23 years with a majority of her work focused on the Amani neighborhood of Milwaukee, located a five-minute drive north of Marquette.
This neighborhood is considered at risk. It has the highest incarceration rate in the city, and 58 percent of the residents live below the poverty line. While a large portion of its residents have completed high school, only four percent hold a bachelor’s degree or higher. To put this into perspective, 21 percent of the entire Milwaukee area has a bachelor’s degree or more. In the Amani neighborhood, 32 percent of the working-age residents are unemployed. In the past few years the neighborhood has been showing improvements, but there is still much to do. This is where the MacCanon Brown Sanctuary aims to help. The organization plans to provide a meal program that will include fresh produce for homeless people.
The event was placed in the campus area for easy student access and it was a great opportunity for students to be exposed to an organization that helps the community surrounding the campus.