New exhibit encourages organ donation among Milwaukee’s Black community

NOW: New exhibit encourages organ donation among Milwaukee’s Black community

MILWAUKEE (CBS 58) -- A new exhibit is spotlighting Milwaukee’s Black community and the dialogue around organ donation. The goal is to encourage Black residents to register and help save lives.

An exhibit at America's black Holocaust Museum features stories of several Black Milwaukeeans who have received or given an organ – or who are awaiting a lifesaving transplant.

"African Americans across the country are in dire need for their second chance at life through organ transplantation," said Colleen McCarthy, Vice President, Versiti Organ and Tissue.

The expansive art exhibit is called "LifeLine: The Ultimate Bond." Its creators, Versiti, say African Americans are the largest ethnic group in need of organ transplant.

In Wisconsin, they say there are more than 2,000 people on the waiting list and 400 are Black. And in Milwaukee, just 25% of Black residents are registered organ, tissue and eye donors.

The exhibit also specifically features the Divine Nine, who local members of Black Greek Letter Organizations impacted by this issue.

"A lot of men in particular we don’t go to the doctor very often. We try to avoid it and a lot of our community tries to do our home remedies and that’s all well and good but we still need to be aware," said Kobena-Marcus J. Collins, who is awaiting a kidney.

“I always ask my friends, do you know somebody on dialysis and everybody knows somebody on dialysis so that tells you that in your family if there were more people signing their driver’s license that person might not be on dialysis," Richard Lewis, two-time kidney recipient.

For now, this will be a virtual experience for the public.

Versiti will officially launch this on Friday, April 30, with a free, online event. For more information, CLICK HERE

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