At a cramped gym on the upper floor of Golda Meir School near Downtown Milwaukee, Allazia Blockton smoothly moves across the basketball court dressed in a jersey with black and white vertical stripes, dark sweatpants and dark shoes and a whistle draped around her neck, all standard gear for her role as a referee.

Blockton keeps a close eye on the action on the court, blowing her whistle from time to time and then making hand signals to indicate the various rules violations she witnessed during a series of boys’ basketball games on a recent Sunday afternoon.