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the sanctuary

August 20 1996
June 26 1999


The Utilities and Licensing Committee of the Milwaukee Common Council votes to table the Sanctuary license petition for one month. We are caught off guard by the decision, as well as by the hostile attitude of the neighbors of the proposed new location toward us.

The U&L committee again votes to table the license petition, this time for two months, amid a barrage of vicious attacks on us by neighborhod residents, local business owners, the Police, the city attorney, the local alderman, and even the State Representative from the district. We are crushed, and desperately try to reorganize for when we are finally allowed to present our position. Up until now only the opposition has been allowed to speak.

After finally hearing our side of the argument for opening the Sanctuary the U&L committee is moved by our presentation to recommend granting the license to open the Sanctuary. The petition is set to go to the full Common Council in two weeks. We are overjoyed, and blinded by our newfound optimism we fail to see the storm clouds gathering on the horizon...

Disaster... The full Common Council, at the recommendation of Alderman Witkowiak, votes 10 to 6 against granting the license to open Sanctuary. I don't have words enough to express how bitterly disappointed we all are. Fear and hatred of us, based in the main on bizarre rumors and misconceptions about the gothic subculture, has won out over truth and common sense. A black day for freedom of expression to be sure, not to mention for the gothic community of Milwaukee and Southeast Wisconsin.

For those of you who don't know how your alderman voted, here is how the vote broke down:

Voted Yes: Voted No:
Mike D'Amato
Dan Schramm
Fred Gordon
Don Richards
George Butler
Willie Hines
James Witkowiak
Marvin Pratt
Paul Henningsen
Marlene Johnson-Odom
Annette Scherbert
Jeff Pawlinski
Sue Brier
Tom Nardelli
Michael Murphy
John Kalwitz
Alderman Wayne Frank did not vote.

The Present Day:
The Sanctuary ownership intends to appeal the Council's decision, a process that takes 6 to 9 months. During that time they are going to try to find some way to raise money and keep the fight alive.

The Sanctuary may be dead, but the Sanctuary Family lives on. They can take our club, they can hate us, insult us and persecute us based soley on our appearance, but what they can never do is kill our spirit, or the sense of family and community that we feel toward each other.

Check in at: The Sanctuary.Net for updates on the fight to reopen the Sanctuary at a new location.

Please check out the Gothic Milwaukee section of my site or e-mail me for more information about what's going on in the Milwaukee gothic scene.