I call Chis “Swa” Wade a local “personality” for a reason. A friend for 30 plus years, being allied with Swa is always an interesting proposition. He speaks his mind, he is a very passionate individual, he makes no claims to perfection and most importantly, he loves our city. When all hell broke loose last week, you knew Swa was going to take to social media to provide some perspective and some video. As we all witnessed, live, or on a tablet, all hell did indeed break loose and we all lived through one of the most stressful times that any of us have ever experienced. And as the city smoldered, and as lives were uprooted and buildings were destroyed, people like Swa showed the people of America what KTown is all about.
Said Wade of his efforts to help board-up and beautify the areas of Kenosha that were hit the hardest, “Doing what I did was a lesson taught to me and my brothers by our parents and grandparents. When people are in need you step in and do whatever possible to help”. Swa was everywhere in this city, helping get buildings secure and encouraging folks with artistic abilities to come out and help spread a message of unity and hope and peace. “I love my city and the people who live here”, Swa added, “It was amazing to see the 1000’s of people out trying to do whatever they could to help in this tragedy. Didn’t matter what race or political beliefs, we were working side by side, having great conversations about how to fix our nation.”
And Swa will be the first to tell you, he was not alone. “I was amazed by how people would just stop and ask if help was needed, where they could go to help, what was needed, and where things could be donated.” This entire community showed up and showed out for all the right reasons. And when I asked the one simple question that was the only question that needed to be asked…and that was the question of WHY, the answer was very direct. “Our city stood strong in the face of disaster and we will be better in the end…it was important to me to be a part of that”.
I asked Swa to relate a story to chronicle the events of what took place: “While I was out priming plywood for people to paint, I stopped at one business and a lady came out and asked why I painted over her BLM and No Justice No Peace? I told her I was just making her a canvass to paint whatever she feels. I sprayed her BLM and No Justice No Peace back up for her. Later when I drove by that place again, she was out there with a group of kids putting up their handprints and letting the children spread love and also their message for racial equality. I honked and she turned, waved, smiled, and said thank you to me”.
So if you haven’t already, throw out a shout-out to Chris Wade and the countless volunteers like him who literally rebuilt our city with plywood and paint in about 72 hours. And folks like Swa worked their asses off for most or all of those hours to put a fractured city back together and their efforts cannot become yesterday’s news cycle. As for Swa, it was able to be summed up pretty clearly, “I feel for all who have been affected by the violence and riots brought on by this horrible event. I pray it never happens again. If it does, I will once again, like so many others, step up and do my part for my city. It’s what Dons do”.