The Women’s History Milwaukee initiative will highlight seven iconic local figures in history—one each day over the course of a week. During this informational campaign, photos and facts about the women of Milwaukee’s history will be featured on this page, and these same informational vignettes will also run regularly during City Channel programming.
Paula Pérez Monroy
Paula Pérez Monroy arrived in Milwaukee from Mexico on March 21, 2001, married and with two sons. With dreams of one day having their own business, Paula and her husband started working in Mexican restaurants, handling jobs inside the kitchen and in the dining areas. A few years ago they started with a food truck, and later a friend told them about renting a place to start their own restaurant. “Thank God we were given the opportunity,” she said, and together the family opened their first restaurant in 2019, called Restaurante Y Taqueria La Esperanza, 2028 W Mitchell St.
Paula Pérez Monroy llegó a Milwaukee de México el 21 de marzo de 2001, casada y con dos hijos. Con el sueño de algún día tener su propio negocio, Paula y su esposo empezaron a trabajar en restaurantes mexicanos, en trabajos tanto en la cocina como en el área de comedor. Algunos años atrás empezaron con un camión de comida, y luego un amigo les platicó sobre alquiler un lugar para abrir su propio restaurante. “Gracias a Dios que se nos dio la oportunidad,” dijo ella, y juntos la familia abrió su primer restaurante en 2019, que se llama Restaurante Y Taquería La Esperanza, 2028 oeste de la calle Mitchell.
Kelsey Kaufmann is the owner and operator of the Cactus Club, a performance space located at 2496 S. Wentworth Ave. Kelsey purchased the Cactus Club in 2020, after working there for nearly a decade. Since then, Kelsey has steered the business through the COVID-19 pandemic while simultaneously transforming the club from a niche music venue into an inclusive community space welcoming of all people and artistic mediums. In 2022, Kelsey championed efforts to allocate city funds toward making much-needed updates to buildings that predated the Americans with Disabilities Act, making countless Milwaukee locations more accessible to the public. Kelsey embodies the intersection between advocacy and the arts.
Janette Herrera is a lifelong Milwaukee educator, author, activist, and community organizer. She spent 10 years teaching in Milwaukee Public Schools and 28 years at Holy Redeemer Christian Academy where she developed an inclusive curriculum reflecting African American Studies. Janette is a member of several advocacy groups including the NAACP, the Association for the Study of Classical African Civilizations, the National Action Network, Operation PUSH (People United to Serve Humanity), and the National Coalition of Blacks for Reparations in America Now, of which she is the chair. According to Janette, “If we address what’s in front of us, we won’t fail with what God has called us to do.”