Track II: Creating Inclusive Communities

November 12-13, 2020

Communities across Wisconsin are changing. New residents, new faces, and new ideas are helping to make our state a vibrant and diverse place to live.  It is important that our communities and neighborhoods are safe and welcoming to all regardless of background or heritage so that all residents can call their community “home.”

Session Schedule


*Date *Time Start *Time End   *Session Title Description  Speakers 
Thursday, November 12 10:30 AM 11:30 AM 13 How Faith Communities Help Us Heal from Acts of Hate, Discrimination and Oppression Individuals across Wisconsin are suffering daily from acts of discrimination, hate, and oppression--tragically, even violence. When families and individuals suffer, we are all losers and our communities suffer from marginalization, trivialization and normalization of such behavior and its consequences. It affects educational attainment, economic stability, mental wellness, and even community reputation. If there is anything we have learned in recent years, prayer alone in the face of tragedy is not sufficient to change bad behavior and policy. This session will address why people get used to suffering via systemic oppression and how to overcome habituation; how faith communities open us up or close us off to experiences and suffering of others and ourselves; and how faith communities help build stronger social fabric to prevent these things in the future. This session will also explore multiple ways that faith communities encourage healing and catalyze action on the front lines of hatred and discrimination. Rev. Tory Topjian, Milwaukee Metropolitan Community Church, Senior Minister; Pardeep Kaleka, Interfaith Conference of Greater Milwaukee, Executive Director;  Rev. Bridget Daniels, Union Congregational United Church of Christ, Senior Minister;  Rev. Rachel Knoke, Trinity Lutheran Green Bay, Senior Minister
Thursday, November 12 10:30 AM 11:30 AM 14 Baraboo Gathers, Baraboo Talks, Baraboo Acts After a photo of Baraboo High School Senior boys appearing to give the Nazi salute went viral in the fall of 2018 community, civic, business and faith members of the community gathered to find ways to heal from this painful event. After an initial series of community discussions to process and heal, it became clear that many residents do not feel welcome and comfortable in Baraboo. Creating a welcoming community where all voices are heard is an ongoing process and Baraboo is just beginning to address these issues. The Baraboo Acts Coalition was formed to ensure that the Baraboo Community will continue to collaborate with current and new partners so that all voices are at the table to inform our next steps. All communities in Wisconsin are dealing with the same issues that have come to the forefront in Baraboo. Don’t wait until something explosive happens in your community. This panel will share insights and actions you can bring to your own community. Alex Paulson, Baraboo Acts Coalition and Baraboo School District, Co-Chair of the Baraboo Acts Coalition; Marcy Huffaker, Baraboo Acts Coalition, Co-Chair of the Baraboo Acts Coalition; Dr. Lori Mueller, Baraboo School District, District Administrator; Alene Bolin, Sauk County, Sauk County Administrator;  Mike Palm, City of Baraboo, Mayor;   Nanci Caflisch, Baraboo Chamber of Commerce, Former President of the Chamber of Commerce; Susana Guerrero Martinez, Baraboo High School, Student
Thursday, November 12 10:30 AM 11:30 AM 15 LEAN ON ME TBA  
Thursday, November 12 1:45 PM 2:45 PM 16 Waking Up White Regional Community Learning Collaborative This Collaborative, which involves hundreds of people, is a multi-year effort to engage the La Crosse region in courageous conversations about race. There are three main components of the Collaborative: the Creating a Healthier Multicultural Community Project, the Regional Read of Debby Irving’s book, “Waking Up White” and holding the White Privilege Symposium that will be coming to La Crosse on December 3-4, 2021. Patrick Lunney, Creating a Healthier Multicultural Community, Co-leader;  Thomas Harris, University of Wisconsin La Crosse, Assistant Director, Office of Multicultural Student Services; Diana Diaz Grandos, Better Together in LaCrosse County, Project Evaluator
Thursday, November 12 1:45 PM 2:45 PM 17 The Voices of ALICE (Asset Limited, Income Constrained, Employed) Individuals in Brown County A flourishing community starts with healthy, secure individuals and families. How different would Wisconsin be if every household earned enough to not just survive, but thrive? What if individuals and families could not only meet their basic needs, but also save for emergencies and their future? For decades, our understanding of what it means to struggle in our communities, both in Wisconsin and throughout the nation, has been limited due to the lack of high-quality research-based information that goes beyond traditional measures like Federal Poverty Level data. The 2016, 2018, and 2020 Wisconsin ALICE Reports shed much needed light on the challenges of working individuals and families. In 2018, Brown County United Way set a community goal: 10,000 individuals on the path to stability in 10 years. This goal is based upon the 2018 ALICE Report for Wisconsin which found that an estimated 1 in 3 households in Brown County live below a basic cost of living. The results of our first Voices of ALICE focus group will be shared. Robyn Davis, Brown County United Day, President and CEO;  Sarah Inman, Brown County United Way, Vice President of Community Investment; Said Hassan, Brown County United Way, Research and Evaluation Manager; Jill Sobieck, Brown County United Way, Impact Initiatives and Outreach Manager
Thursday, November 12 1:45 PM 2:45 PM 18 The Racial Wealth Gap: Historical Roots and Systemic Barriers Wealth is a source of household financial stability that buffers against short-term financial shocks; supports long-term financial security; and provides a foundation for intergenerational social mobility. All families desire and deserve the benefits wealth can provide, but a family’s demographic characteristics are strong predictors of its income and wealth. The Federal Reserve’s Survey of Consumer Finances quantifies wealth disparities and trends along demographic dimensions. It shows that a sizable and persistent wealth gap exists between white families and their Black or Hispanic peers. These gaps are the result of intentional policies of asset exclusion in the past coupled with systemic reinforcement of inequities in the present. Until racial equity in financial outcomes can be achieved, household financial stability is not equally attainable by all families. Attendees will gain a clear understanding of the racial and ethnic disparities in wealth accumulation which highlights populations in need of financial intervention and support. Attendees will also come away from the session with the ability to articulate basic facts and clear arguments about why issues of diversity and inclusion matter for our communities and that support informed policy discussions. Lowell Ricketts, Center for Household Financial Stability, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, Lead Analyst
Friday, November 13 10:45 AM 11:45 AM 19 A Plan for Reducing Mass Incarceration in Wisconsin Despite long competing economic structures and political forces that have encouraged mass incarceration, a prison abolition movement is gaining traction in Wisconsin. This presentation sets a baseline for understanding causes of today’s prison epidemic (incarceration as punishment; discrimination in arrests, convictions and sentencing; dysfunctional probation system; etc.) towards an actionable plan to significantly reduce the prison population. Alternative courts; sentence guideline reforms; work release programs; probation reform; new approaches to policing; and the closing of some existing prisons are part of the solution. A panel of criminal justice professionals and prison exonerees share perspectives and recommendations based on lived experience. Attendees will come away from the presentation will a deeper understanding of the causes and consequences of Wisconsin’s incarceration epidemic. They will also learn basic facts about our criminal justice system and how it prejudices arrests, convictions and incarceration of black men (among others). Attendees will also gain information about the prison abolition movement—its origins, its effects, and how to engage with the movement to effect change. John A. Birdsall, Birdsall Obear & Associates SC, Attorney; Keith Findley, University of Wisconsin Madison Law School, Professor, Co-Director of The Innocence Project; Jarrett Adams, Attorney, Exoneree; Michael O'Hear, Marquette Law School, Professor; Joel Brennan, Wisconsin Department of the Administration, Secretary 
Friday, November 13 10:45 AM 11:45 AM 20 Participatory Philanthropy: Case Study and Model for Inclusive Community Building In this workshop, the NextGen Participatory Philanthropy Model that brings together people of different economic means who often don't see themselves as change agents or philanthropists can be empowered as positive influencers in their communities. The NextGen Participatory Philanthropy Model embodies and furthers IDEA by helping members be aware of their community's issues, offers a method for acting on those issues, and by advancing the conversation between groups that do not often converse with each other. The Giving Circle model offers a first-hand experience of transforming a group's talent, time, and treasure into real change. Attendees will leave this session with a roadmap for how they can replicate this approach in their communities. The model supports diversity, equity, and inclusion practices in the recruitment, selection of participants, and in the philanthropic process itself. Kelvin Alfaro, Campus Compact for Wisconsin, Director
Friday, November 13 10:45 AM 11:45 AM 21 The N!gga(er) Word: Is There a Method in Our Madness? Who is allowed to say the N!igga(er) word? What do we do/say when N!gga(er) is said in our classrooms, playgrounds, practice fields, community centers and resident halls? Ignoring the N!gga(er) word is not an option anymore – You can hear N!gga(er) anywhere at anytime in the 21st century. This workshop looks at the history/impact of the N!gga(er). Participants are challenged to examine their personal and professional histories with N!gga(er), examine when and/or how they first heard N!gga(er) and most importantly, to explore what to do when encountered.  Eddie Moore Jr., PhD, The Privilege Institute; Marguerite W. Penick-Parks, PhD, University of Wisconsin Oshkosh, Professor
Friday, November 13 12:45 PM 1:45 PM 22 Breaking Down Barriers Through Storytelling When a tragic incident of teen violence occurred in Wausau, it triggered a series of events that uncovered serious tensions in the community. The Wausau area has become more diverse, but real cultural and ethnic divisions exist, with deep roots that rarely were acknowledged, much less understood. The Toward One Wausau project was started by people who felt the community could do a better job helping all feel welcome and safe. Telling one’s own story and listening to the stories of others has proved to be a powerful way to begin difficult community conversations and pave the way for action. The mission of the Toward One Wausau project is to bring together community members from all walks of life to talk openly, listen earnestly, and act in unity in order to help make Wausau a safe, welcoming and attractive place for everyone.  Corina Norrbom, WIPPS, Health Policy Fellow; Gwen Taylor, Girl Scouts of the Northwestern Great Lakes, Program and Inclusion Director;  Kayley McColley, One Wausau, Board Member
Friday, November 13 12:45 PM 1:45 PM 23 TBA    
Friday, November 13 12:45 PM 1:45 PM 24 TBA