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Chronicling Connected Learning AQUAPON and Ecopreneir Junior Apprentice Badge Earners Sky Schultz and James Godsil

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Emmanuel Pratt and Teen Creative Agency/Sweet Water Foundation Aquaponics As Art Installation at the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago

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The Googoal

Sole focus= Healing The Planet

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Clair Sprenger and Sky Schultz at Heart Haus Friday Potluck Brunch

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Walnut Way Founders Cuba Story Beginning Soon

Larry and Sharon Adams said “We’re going to Cuba this year!”

To be continued

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Vamanos A Cuba


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Sharing The Sacred Fire of St Patrick’s Brigid’s Timbuktu Celebration

to be continued

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Boomer Younge Connected Learning

To be continued

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The Tomb of the Unknown Poet

by Jeff Poniewaz

Why no Tomb of the Unknown Poet?
Wasn’t he killed as sure as the Unknown

Didn’t he die running wild after
the wildest beauty the same
as Wilfred Owen?

Didn’t he step on the toes of landmine

Wasn’t he mowed down by machine-guns
of mechanization?

Didn’t he throw himself on the grenade
of scorn lobbed at Poetry?

Drape a green flag of living grass
over his casket.

Blow his taps on panpipes:
phoenix syrinx!

Unknown Poet launched into the Unknown
like a poem in a manila envelope
addressed to Immortality

Care of the worms who edit scrupulously
but send no rejection slips.

May the Father of the Milwaukee Earth Poets be remembered beyond the 7th generation!

The Earth Poets & Musicians in July 2010.
from left: Harvey Taylor, Louisa Loveridge Gallas, Jahmes Tony Finlayson, Suzanne Rosenblatt, Jeff Poniewaz and Holly Haebig.
(photo by Jeffers Larson)

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Milwaukee and Chicago Public School Students To Lead TupperWare Aquaponics Workshops, Summer 2015?

Sky Schultz and James Godsil will be attending an Emmanuel Pratt TupperWare Aquaponics( Pratt Demos) tutorial tomorrow, at the Sweet Water Foundation Perry Avenue Community Farm and Think Do Lab House. We will quite possibly be sharing this technology to some of Jesse Blom’s Milwaukee Public School Aquaponics Teacher Cadre and their students at Heart Haus workshops this Spring, with hopes that, by the Summer of 2015, there will be a Milwaukee public high school student earning some summer money teaching the Pratt Demo system to people at the Heart Haus Aquaponics Lab. Here are some pictures of the Pratt Demo.
Hoping collaboration involving MSOE, MATC, and Shorewood’s New Horizon High School.

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Godsil Koller Wiki Experiment

We are experimenting in the petrie dish of peer to peer, optimally open sourced, laterally scaling, globalizing, social learning and production networks.Koller

We aspire to harvest miracle cascades. Godsil

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Panoramic Of Sweet Water Foundation ASM Roosevelt University Demo.

The preceeding picture is a panoramic taken by asm participant Damian Alvarez of other Aquaponics STEAM participants engaging in conversation about the basics of Aquaponics. Turning the traditional classroom into an elevated living learning coworking dynamic environment!

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Godsil Sen Wiki Experiment

We collect stories that humans and buildings tell us. Sen.

We connect resourced boomers with young genius. Godsil.

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A Milwaukee Farming Jubilee!

Farmers and Friends –

Let’s celebrate Farming as a profession and lifestyle on Wednesday December 17th 5:30 pm at Braise Restaurant! I want to recognize all the hard work that Milwaukee farmers put in this season, and the fact that, as a society, we oftentimes take farmers for granted. Let’s rejoice with tasty food from Braise, cheering holiday spirits, and live jazz from the fantastic Walker’s Point Trio! Bring yourself, your family, a farming friend – there’s no charge! Just don’t forget to wear your best farming attire – and PLEASE invite all Milwaukee area farmers to join!


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Introducing #MacArthurGeniusProspect Emmanuel Pratt To Nation’s Top Geography Professors

I have been blessed with time spent with some of the nation’s leading lights, none whose impact for the good cause will be any greater than Emmanuel Pratt’s, accelerating a South Side Chicago Renaissance.

These include MacArthur Geniuses Will Allen and Joel Rogers, presidential candidate Eugene McCarthy, Pulitzer Prize winner WH Auden, “Servant of God” Dorithy Day, Nobel winner Saul Bellow, Pacem in Terris awadee Saul Bellow, Oscar winner Forest Whitaker, JFK Advjsor Roger Hilsman, and actor activist Danny Glover

I hope the AAG Chicago Conference winds up spending time with Emmanuel and team at the Think-Do Lab House and Perry Avenue Community Farm!

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Bits Atoms Cells

The Sweet Water Foundation’s There Grows the Neighborhood initiative brings resources from a global social learning and production network. These networked “partners” include Boomer Millennial Partnerships experimenting ways of harvesting multiple values from mindful configurations of Bits Atoms Cells.

Integral Urban Homes, Agroecology Work Learn Tours, and Community Farms are three initiatives that will be explored at a Sweet Water/Chicago Museum of Science and Industry Hacking Hunger conference in Spring/Summer 2015 at the Perry Avenue Community Farm and Think Do House.

Since its 2010 incorporation, the Sweet Water Foundation has advanced in collaboration with Earth Renaissance”partners” across the waters, as well as some major institutions we are proud to be working with.

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There Grows The Neighborhood

The Sweet Water Foundation will be updating our social learning and production networks “partners” at this wiki equipped web platform.

My first offering is a Heart Haus brainstorm potluck on Faith Communities
Hacking Hunger through There Grow The
Neighborhood Experiments, with a focus
on boomer milennial local economies
experiments in integral urban homes
and agroecology work learn tours.

What’s yours?

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Introducing Ben Koller’s Heart Haus

The pages of the Milwaukee Renaissance have chronicled the people and the projects advancing some kind of renaissance in the venerable city where the waters gather, our Milwaukee. It is my honor and pleasure to share the story and the visions of a heavy lifter of this renaissance, Ben Koller, who while yet new to his 30s, has built layer upon layer of small accomplishments 20,000 leagues deep.

The Mecca Project

Here are some media links regarding Ben’s work to bless Milwaukee with a proper place for
Robert Indiana’s MECCA Floor.

Milwaukee Journal Front Page (Print & Online):

NY Times Article Front Sports/Business Page (Print & Online):

ESPN 30 for 30 “The Floor that Made Milwaukee Famous.”:

Work 2 Do Music Video/PSA:

More to come!


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Within Our Lifetime Network Twitter Town Hall

Thursday November 20th at 8pm ET

Featuring Rachel Godsil
Co-founder and Director of Research; The Perception Institute
#GotBias? Join an online conversation with national expert on implicit bias Rachel Godsil and the Within Our Lifetime Network.

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Emmanuel Pratt Notions

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Core El Centro Menu For Milwaukee AgroEcology Healthy Living Tours

CORE/El Centro is located in a beautiful, radically green, accessible building. Tour elements could include:

  • tour of rooftop production garden, with honeybees, grey water systems and delicious fruits/vegetables/herbs

  • tour of Wisconsin ‘ s first urban Creamery - delicious cheese curds, goat cheese specialties and more

  • cooking class/lunch. We could discuss specific menu if you’d like to help prepare a meal, otherwise we can recommend local caterers/cafes from the neigborhood.

  • yoga

  • Tai Chi

  • Seated exercise/dance

  • chair massage

  • acupuncture

Depending on what kind of tour/activities you are interested in, we could negotiate a price, but typically we ask $30–50/hr. We have both indoor and outdoor options, but considering a late spring/early summer visit would increase the chances for some delicious products from the roof.

I welcome other thoughts/additions to the tour visit

Stephanie Callaway

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The Story Of a Song Inspired By Grace Lee Boggs’ “The Next American Revolution”

Shared With India and Tibet

quiet rEVOLution – a song by Jess Vega Gonzalez with KT Rusch, inspired by Grace Lee Boggs’ book, The Next American Revolution: Sustainable Activism for the Twenty-first Century.

Jessica’s Story of the Song

I came to this book on my first visit to Detroit for the ReImagine Work conference in 2011. It was the first, but not the last time, I would meet Grace. Not that Grace remembers who I am, but that is no matter. Grace Lee Boggs is connected to quite a few friends important to me, and that’s really good enough for me.

The book sat unread for a couple more years on my shelf until winter 2013, when I found myself taking the bus to my problematic jobs and wanting something to read. The ReImagine Work conference had changed the way I understood the jobs system and its uselessness, and I thought it was about time to read the book. Good thinking, finally. And like all good thinking, I figured writing a song would help the message spread.

So the song manifested itself, and I passed the song and the book along to my friend and musician-partner-in-crime KT. She added a second ukulele part and encouraged that we play it out at Universal Love Band shows. So we did – January 2014 was the song’s debut, and we’ve played it around the world since.

Yes, literally around the world. In March, KT and I traveled to India to visit Venerable Kungchok Chopel, an elder Tibetan Buddhist monk and friend of KT’s for many years at Drepung Loseling Monastery in exile in Mudgod, Karnataka, India.

Deep history here. Definitely a place where people are devoted to growing their souls, a seat of the quiet revolution. Drepung Loseling Monestary is dedicated to the study of preservation of the Tibetan Buddhist tradition of wisdom and compassion. A center for the cultivation of both heart and intellect, it provides a sanctuary for the nurturance of inner peace and kindness, community understanding, and global healing. And we found ourselves there, without words, to visit our friend.

Venerable Kungchok is in his late 80’s. He escaped Tibet during the 1959 uprisings. The Chinese army pursued him with dogs and bullets. He suffered four bullet wounds, still clearly visible, through each forearm and each buttock, but managed to survive and cross the Himalayas into Buxa, India. He recovered for five years in a Christian missionary hospital. India donated land in Karnataka state to the budding Tibetan refugee community and Ven. Kungchok was one of the founders of Drepung Monastery in exile. He was the only member of his Gyapa of Tibetan monks to survive. He cooked for everyone for years and was known for his happiness and great food. He was able to re-establish his home chapel, Gyapa Kangsten, at Drepung. He is currently one of the oldest living monks and still teaches. We have heard other lamas call him the Buddha.

This version of quiet rEVOLution was recorded in Ven Kungcok’s room on the first day we reunited with him in March 2014, on the first rain of the season. It was joyous and emotional. We laughed, we cried, we drank butter tea!

If I could speak to the beauty of that moment, I would dare not say a word. But that is the depth of music – it does much more. I hope you will find in it some happiness.

To the quiet revolution. To growing our souls.

The Song Sung!

The Lyrics

Having a quiet revolution over here

Growing my soul

The have-nots are not trying to get what the have’s have got [x4]

We don’t want your privilege, your suburbs, your schools

Not your whiteness, not your straightness, not your patriarchal rules

Not your chemicals in your vegetables, or even your Whole Foods

We are building, we are building something new.

My bridges are gardens, my streets lined with fruit trees

My food is your prayers, the soft sound of bees

Clean water form great lakes and rivers and streams

Reminded of my Mother in all that I see


Young people and elders come back to the center

Remind us how to play and tell stories together

Forgive me my sins against the ancestors

Commodifying everything, less meaning and surrender

Listen to the womyn, the queers, the dark-skinned ones

Give the gift back its joy, and its freedom to love

I tell the time by the sunshine, the month by the moon

More music, better life. Now, not a moment too soon


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Pink House Benefit

Lil Rev has had to cancel, yet other special surprise guests are stepping to the fore.
A great time will be had by all!

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Sharing Images Inspired By Grace Lee Boggs

Hoping to draw upon our own work and ask others to provide some images manifesting Grace’s visions and concepts.

Here are some of my favorite from Grace’s and Scott’s “The Next American Revolution”
chapters on “A Paradigm Shift in Our Concept of Education” and “We Are the Leaders We’ve Been Looking For.”

I would very much appreciate learning of some of your favorite Grace vision concepts
and permission to share them at

  • We are the leaders we’ve been waiting for

  • Freedom schooling America

  • Grass roots transformative energies

  • Ground up change we can believe in

  • Faith in human possibilities

  • Healing and redeeming from shameful legacies

  • Energies from renewed hope and a commitment to a just cause

  • Steps to a more responsible and self-governing community

  • Project notion of a “more human” human being

  • Replace command and control factory education model

  • Address outrage of prison industrial complex

  • The Young are the creators of knowledge and social change

  • John Dewey’s notion of education through active work in the process

of living, manifesting “the social spirit,” beyond mere cognitive training,
harnessing human impulse to make, active listening, and schools
embed in life

  • Gandhi’s intellectual development through socially useful labor, which

handles all of the little things of village life

  • Gandhi’s insistence of learning through the Heart Hand and Head,

drawing upon the resources of community, nature, and the world

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Earth Dance Farms and An Ignatian Response To The Ferguson Tragedies

For all who are hearing about EarthDance for the first time, we are an organic farm school, operating our programming on Missouri’s oldest organic farm, located in Ferguson, MO.

As you can imagine, the recent notoriety of our home base has come as a shock. Though you may be seeing images Ferguson on the news, trust me, they do not capture the diversity and true character of our town. We invite you to learn more about how EarthDance is working with partners all over St. Louis to develop our farm as an oasis of peace, a thriving ecosystem, a hub for agricultural education, and a space for community celebration. As Program Director at EarthDance, I would love to be in touch with you if have advice to offer us, or would like to collaborate.

If you are local, please join us for a free event coming up Sunday, October 5th, 2–4pm, at the farm.

Rachel Levi
Program Director, EarthDance

office 314.521.1006
cell 773–398–6515

Our Mission:
EarthDance sustainably grows food, farmers, and community, one small farm at a time, through hands-on education and delicious experiences.

Become a fan of EarthDance on facebook!

See what we’re all about here:

Make a donation here:

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Emmanuel Pratt’s Think-Do Aquapaonics Lab Demo for the HIVE

​Chicago Learning Network
​Mozilla Foundation Festival Maker Party competition at the Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum.

Winner goes to The Maker Party in London!

Here are the contestants:


  • AQUAPONS - A Think-Do Lab Demo by SweetWater Foundation
  • Mini Mass Action Day by Mikva Challenge + Free Spirit Media
  • Vinyl Cutter Extravaganza! by YOUmedia @ CPL
  • Cardboard Moving Challenge by CodeCreate
  • Yesterday I Was, Today I Am: Narrative GIF Workshop by NVAM
  • Get Into Art! by The Art Institute
  • Birds of Hope by Intuit: Center for Outsider Art

​Here’s a note regarding last year’s event.

​This year, Mozilla Festival hosted a Maker Party on Oct. 26 in London, England. The party was modeled as a mini-MozFest, featuring hands-on activities for young creators. Visitors joined makers and educators from across the globe to code LED displays, animate stories, design games, build robots, remix videos and much more. Here are all the stations that were present for the event. They represent many organiztations from NYC, Chicago USA, Toronto CA, Indonesia, San Fransisco USA, India. Many participants produced a “Teaching Kit” via Webmaker Thimble, which share the “how-tos” of each maker station (linked to below). Upon creating a teaching kit participants were awarded this Maker Party Teaching Kit Badge:​

to be continued…


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Boomer Millennial Old House Transformation Experiment

I call 325 E. Euclid The House With a Thousand Names, inspired by Joseph Campbell’s “Hero With A Thousand Names.” Millennial heavy lifters Ben Koller and Miguel Castro call it the Heart Haus.

At the beginning of summer 2014

Ben Koller’s team transformed the inside floors of what was a homely house

Heart Haus located in a “Euro American” hamlet that is gracefully receiving Ben’s “Northside Friends” in a city needing racial healing

In Boomer Millennial IntegralUrban Home transformations the families of the “partners” chip in. Ben’s Mom Judie and sister Anne helped with the planting and the painting, which includes a white board for the breaking bread/brainstorm room

Olde boomers get new lease on life and make new friends!

Miguel’s “Green Room” sprouts tour

Sweet Water Aquaponics Demo Room

The start of front yard food garden as art aspiration

Backyard micro farm August 4, 2014

Costa Rica Earth U. Prof, Sweet Water Foundation Milwaukee Director, Wisconsin’s top soil producer with Ben & Miguel at brainstorm/bread braking room

Eco Tourism destination, with ex-Milwaukee Bucs Rich Neiman and friend John O’Brien

Anne Koller giving first digital conference presentation

With Ryan Scaife of Project Hope in Tanzania

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From Sweet Water To Earth Nation Eco Tours: Centering In Milwaukee Chicago

I am beginning coordinate Sweet Water/Sweet Soil Eco Tours with a number of Milwaukee Chicago, regional, national, and global trailblazers. Some kind of emerging “Earth Nation!”

Might you share some of your story so I can provide you with the most appropriate menu of tours? I will be developing this service over the seasons and years, with new partners representing different kinds of adaptation genius. You can follow this elevating menu of Earth Nation Eco Tours at

Earth Nation Eco Tours

They can range from commercial scale aquaponics and composting, to school and family digitally enhanced and connected aquaponics demos, linking up with Shanhai and Mumbai, to Chicago repurposed factories or the 2 acre Perry Avenue Farm of the Sweet Water Foundation, the Victory Garden Concordia Gardens or one of their hundreds of family victory gardens, and many more, in Chicago, Reedsberg’s Worm Farm Institute and Fermentation Fest partners, and on and on and on.

Here’s a bit of my story:—B5---James-God/an/313064-PDF-ENG

If the latter document interests you let me know.


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Introducing Grass Roots American and Chinese Collaboration To Marry Urban Agriculture With Thinker Makers Agile Manufacturing

Yesterday Shanghai’s David Li introduced me to China’s Eric Pan to accelerate our shared commitment to “ecopreneur” collaborations across the waters, with a start up focus on urban agriculture and agile manufacturing. At the time I was with three of America’s top matchmakers of this union, Emmanuel Pratt, Franklyn Berry, and Jia Li Lok Pratt, who were delighted, as this picture suggests, by the prospect of teaming up with David and Eric. I asked David to send me some digital links to essays that would inform our work and share the good news. Here is the first article he sent, followed by some of my favorite quotes therein.

From “Made in China” to “Made With China”

As China’s DIY makers are coming together with manufacturers, they are spurring a shift in industrial production, from “made in China” to “made with China.”

Chinese and American Robin Hoods And Virtual Sherwood Forests

David Li, co-founder of XinCheJian, Shanghai’s first “maker space” (essentially, an open-access workshop), says the Robin Hood spirit is inspiring legitimate and often quite innovative products, as the socially progressive maker movement teams up with hard-nosed manufacturers.

From watches, bags and shoes to touchscreen tablets, fast food and electric cars — you can find thousands of knockoff brands in China. Large, highly coordinated networks of innovative companies take the products and services we love in the U.S., alter them relentlessly and make them … better. Then they speed them to one of the world’s largest consumer markets and sell them at devastatingly low margins.

Core Tenets of Shanzhai Business Model Worthy of American Attention

The problem with U.S. innovation? Our broken business models. American companies were built to be predictable, not adaptable. Trends like mobile, social and the cloud are major disruptive forces and businesses are struggling to keep up. Instead of fearing the Shanzhai, we can look at their 4 core tenets to reorganize the way we do business:

-Build nothing from scratch
-Innovate process at small scales
-Share as much as you can
-Act responsibly in the network

By adopting the philosophy of the Shanzhai “copycat culture,” companies can innovate faster and remain competitive.

But China’s rapid growth in open source hardware and maker communities challenges our assumptions. They show an alternative version of innovation, built on a home-grown version of open source that has developed in China’s small-scale factories over the last 20 years. Makers in China show that this history of open manufacturing will change not only what we understand by making, but also where we locate innovation.

San Francisco Chinese American CEO Highway 1 Accelerator Program

PCH a major manufacture based in Shenzhen has recently launch an accelerator program Highway1 in San Francisco and here is how the CEO’s take on Shanzhai:

WSJ: Why is Shenzhen still attractive for PCH?

Casey: The “shanzhai” culture is really important (Shanzhai literally means “mountain fortress.” Once a term used to suggest something cheap or inferior, shanzhai now suggests to many a certain Chinese cleverness and ingenuity.) It has this disruptive culture of wanting to be different, of wanting to be fast, wanting to show what’s possible.

The Economist Covering This Development

The Economist has also published several articles on how Shanzhai will be relevant to the innovation in China and the potential to change now new hardware are created.

What gives these young Chinese firms a potential edge is their close connections with the so-called shanzhai production networks centred on Shenzhen, China’s high-tech manufacturing hub. The term shanzhai is often used pejoratively to refer to Chinese copycat producers of mobile phones and other electronic devices, based on copied designs and knock-off brand names. But its literal meaning is “mountain village”, and it refers to bandits who opposed corrupt rulers and hid in the countryside—much like Robin Hood in English folklore. David Li, co-founder of XinCheJian, Shanghai’s first “maker space” (essentially, an open-access workshop), says the Robin Hood spirit is inspiring legitimate and often quite innovative products, as the socially progressive maker movement teams up with hard-nosed manufacturers.

Silvia Lindtner of U. of Cal. Irvine Shanghai Partnership

Silvia Lindtner of the University of California, Irvine, and Fudan University in Shanghai, who follows the startup scene in China, is not surprised. The two sides complement each other, she says. The founders of hardware start ups, often steeped in the open-source culture, partner with factories rooted in the Chinese culture of shanzhai, which translates as “mountain stronghold”. It used to mean pirated electronic goods but now stands for open-source manufacturing.

Much more to come!


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Ald. Tony Zielinski shows vision in vote against downtown streetcar

What could north side alderpersons learn from this south side pol?
by, January 27, 2015

A recent city wide survey conducted by Urban Milwaukee titled, “Streetcar Responses Shows Wide Support”, which surveys whether people are in favor or against the Milwaukee downtown streetcar proposal by aldermanic district. Some of the districts had surveyed as low as 10 people in some districts (#1-Hamilton and #7-Wade), and the highest number of participants in one district was 567 (#3-Kovac).

Click here for the full article
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3 hours, all 132 legislators, 1 powerful message

by Jeri Bonavia, Executive Director, WAVE - Wisconsin Anti-Violence Effort

“If last year’s streak of gun incidents was any indication, the time is now for the Legislature to pursue common-sense solutions to diminish the threat of gun violence. There are sensible alternatives to our current gun laws that can keep firearms out of the hands of criminals while still maintaining the freedom of law-abiding citizens to participate in our rich Wisconsin traditions.”

-State Rep. Mandela Barnes, Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel
That’s what one of our allies in Madison said in an op-ed that he wrote to coincide with our day of action in Madison.

Click here for the full statement
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MICAH’s Annual Prayer Breakfast and Black History Celebration

Theme: “Living Black History Moment to Moment”

Please join us for our Annual Prayer Breakfest and Black History Celebration on Saturday, February 21, 2015
Providence Baptist Church, 3865 N. 82nd St., Milwaukee, WI 53222

KEYNOTE Speaker: Pastor Walter Lanier

Tickets are $10.00 in advance. Doors open at 7:30 a.m.

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The Fast Track to Hell

Florida Rep. Alan Grayson Explains Why TPP Is Bad for America

“Trade promotion authority” is something that’s about to be proposed again in Congress, and I was on TV recently explaining:

(a) What the heck that is, and
(b) Why it’s really bad.


Thom Hartmann: In “Screwed” news, some lawmakers in Washington want to give the Obama Administration so-called “fast-track” trade authority to approve so-called “free-trade” deals, like the Trans-Pacific Partnership or TPP. That’s a terrible decision. A new report from the Public Citizens Global Trade Watch shows just how devastating fast-track trade deals have been for the American people, and the economy. According to the report, thanks to fast-track trade deals, over the past twenty years, trade deficits have ballooned, millions of American jobs have been shipped overseas, wages have stagnated, and inequality has exploded. So, given all of the destruction to our economy and our middle class over the last two decades, how can Washington be considering approving fast-track trade authority and signing on to yet another so-called “free trade” deal? Let’s ask Congressman Alan Grayson, representing Florida’s 9th Congressional District, the Congressman with Guts. Congressman, welcome back!

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Lost opportunity for Black community

By Robert Miranda

Wisconsin Spanish Journal

The article published in Urban Milwaukee entitled, “Streetcar Responses Shows Wide Support,” illustrates clearly the lost opportunity being ignored by Black elected officials to show the power they have as representatives of their community.

The number of responses that black alderpersons received in a survey published in this article about the streetcar, clearly shows that if these black elected officials were truly dedicated to standing against the current conditions of hypersegregation, poverty and incarceration of Black people that exist in Milwaukee, now would be the time to make that statement.

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Highlights from 2015 so far: The Good News and Pivotal Facts

Thurs. 1/22/15: Women Win — But Stay Vigilant

Wed. 1/21/15: Turning bad into good:

Sun. 1/18/15: Simply the best news since FDR!

Click here for more good news
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Fight Big Business Takeover

by Rick Claypool, Public Citizen’s Online Action Team

“With each new campaign season, this dark money floods our airwaves with more and more political ads that pull our politics into the gutter,” President Barack Obama said in his state of the union speech.

He’s right: Five years after the U.S. Supreme Court’s appalling Citizens United ruling, political ads chock full of lies and distortions — and paid for by corporate dark money — just helped elect what could be the most Big Business-beholden Congress in history.

And while the Boehner-McConnell Congress is unlikely to pass disclosure legislation, the president can and should take executive action to shine light on corrupting dark money.

Tell President Obama: Use your executive authority to require government contractors to disclose their political spending.

Click here for more information
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Streetcar Proponents Point to Koch Boogieman

By Robert Miranda, Editor, Wisconsin Spanish Journal

The supporters of the Milwaukee streetcar are pointing to a recent Bruce Murphy authored article in Urban Milwaukee in which he exposes organizers of the petition drive calling for a referendum on the streetcar being funded by conservative groups outside the city.

Murphy writes that Chris Kliesmet and his Citizens for Responsible Government Network, which is organizing the petition drive, is linked to Republican operative Craig Peterson and David Fladeboe, state director of the Koch brothers-funded Americans for Prosperity.

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There is an excellent article in Sunday’s Milwaukee Journal Sentinel (front page) about the issue of Revocations. Here is a link to it:
Jan 18 Milw. Journal Sentinel re. Revocations

​This is a good article to share widely. It is exactly on point with a big emphasis of our 11×15 Campaign. Gina Barton, the author, learned about Hector and Charlotte’s story from our August 20 Action at the Milwaukee Secure Detention Center. They are highlighted in our Blueprint for Ending Mass Incarceration in Wisconsin, which you can find on our website,

Wednesday, April 29, 2015
Plan to participate in our Madison Action Day with People of Faith United for Justice. Two years ago over 1000 of us gathered at the State Capitol. Let’s top it this year! Watch for details. You can sign up with any of our affiliate organizations.

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Veteran Opportunity - Legal Clinic for Veterans And Their Families

Click here for their webpage

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Waving in the first Row (Reflections on the recent Paris Massacre and Zionism)

By Uri Avnery, January 17, 2015

THE THREE Islamic terrorists could have been very proud of themselves, if they had lived to see it.

By committing two attacks (quite ordinary ones by Israeli standards) they spread panic throughout France, brought millions of people onto the streets, gathered more than 40 heads of states in Paris. They changed the landscape of the French capital and other French cities by mobilizing thousands of soldiers and police officers to guard Jewish and other potential targets. For several days they dominated the news throughout the world.

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Mayor Barrett’s streetcar proposal hits education budgets the hardest *UPDATED*

A vote for the streetcar is a vote against education in Milwaukee

In a City of Milwaukee Legislative Reference Bureau (LRB) memorandum dated January 5, 2015, the department listed the financial impact that the two proposed streetcar Tax Incremental Districts (TID) would have on the taxing entities over the life of the proposed TID financing period. Those taxing entities include the City of Milwaukee, Milwaukee Public Schools (MPS), Milwaukee County, Milwaukee Area Technical College (MATC), Milwaukee Metropolitan Sewerage District (MMSD) and State Forestry.

An alternative proposal has been put forth: click through to see it

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Announcement of New BadgerCare Effort - webinar/conference call/video

When: Tuesday, January 20 at 3:00pm
What: webinar/conference call - RSVP for details

Join Citizen Action as we debut a new alternative means of accepting the federal Medicaid funds for BadgerCare that actually has a chance of passing in this Legislative climate. Be the first to hear how a major breakthrough could be on the horizon.

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Human Trafficking Awareness Day 1.29.15

Click Here and Here for more information

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Community mental health seminars starting the evening of January 20th at Medical College of Wisconsin

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Esperanza Unida

Dear Milwaukee Community:

Many people have asked me in recent days what was my plan to save Esperanza Unida when I first took the position as executive director in 2006. Now that the City of Milwaukee is foreclosing on one of the agency’s buildings, because of property tax delinquency, some of you asked if I had a plan.

Yes, I had a plan. My plan had the support of Aldermen, the mayor of the City of Milwaukee and various CEOs of international businesses like Bucyrus International, and presidents of area community colleges. My plan had the support of Don Sykes of the Workforce Development Investment Board, in addition, over 30 community based organizations who were partnered with MATC. My plan even had the support of the president of the country of Turkey and his Secretary of International Trade. My plan had the support of business CEOs of various countries.

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Depression in America: A Forum With SAMHSA and NBC Washington

Saturday, January 10, 2015 | 12–12:45 p.m. Eastern Time

Depression: what is it, who is affected, and what can we do about it? This Saturday, SAMHSA’s Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Elinore McCance-Katz, will explore these questions and more during an NBC4 Health and Fitness Expo forum called “Depression in America.”

Join the discussion virtually by watching the live stream and tweeting your questions to @SAMHSAgov using the hashtags #DepressionChat and #NBC4HealthExpo.

We look forward to a great conversation.

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Hilltop closing is Historic Shift

Our coalitions have been supportive of the plans to close the long term care units at the Complex and shift the funding to community based services. This week is a true milestone as the Hilltop facility closes and every resident will have moved to a new home in the community, with services and supports developed to meet their individual needs.

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Special screening of Selma for Faith Communities

Chandra Thomas, whose husband is on the ministerial staff at MICAH member congregation, St. Mark AME Church, is coordinating with the AMC Mayfair Theaters for a multicultural group viewing of the movie Selma with a post-movie discussion.

Sunday afternoon, January 11
2 pm, AMC Mayfair Theaters
Ticket cost: $9.50

If you are interested, please contact Richard Schwalb at or 414–406–7296 to reserve a ticket.

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Democracy Crumbles Before Our Eyes

Wed. 1/7/15: Here’s the tip of what voters have done — most by not voting!

Tues. 12/16/14: How USA Democracy Crumbled — Comments Add Facts & Consequences:

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What’s Really Wrong with the GOP

from Rep. Alan Grayson

For a five-month period that ends this week, every single elected Republican in Congress was a white Christian.

Let me repeat that: every elected GOP Member of the House and Senate was a white Christian.

Eric Cantor is Jewish. He left office on August 1 last year. Since then, the entire elected GOP caucus, in both the House and the Senate, has comprised only white Christians.

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Streetcar named boondoggle

Robert Miranda

A diverse coalition of Milwaukee residents, organizations and community groups is banding together to gather signatures in a petition drive to force direct legislation on The Milwaukee Streetcar.

Those who support the Streetcar will scream and yell that the opposition to the Streetcar is an orchestrated campaign organized by right wing Tea Party nut jobs and their supporters, leading a bunch of blind mice.

The reality is that those who are behind the Streetcar project are the same tired ass lame usual suspects who have held power in this city for over forty years, keeping this city as America’s most segregated city and one of America’s most poorest communities for Black people.

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Just in from Tony Muhammad 12/30/14:

Mayor Barrett and Chief Flynn “Gestapo Police Officer” making late night visits targeting protesters at their homes, mainly unsung Milwaukee community advocate Khalil Coleman… “He (Khalil) recounted recent histories of killings in Milwaukee, from Derek Williams to Dontre Hamilton at the hands of police, to Corey Stingley and Darius Simmons at the hands of vigilantes. Consistent to all the tragic tales is the lack of charges against police or vigilantes who killed young black men, as if their lives don’t really matter. Khalil has been active in every one of these cases, and believes that he is now being targeted because of his fight to hold the police accountable. In fact, he is so visible that Police Chief Flynn referred to him, by name, in a press event, calling him an “opportunist and agitator.”

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Highlights from 2014 so far: The Good News and Pivotal Facts

Tues. 12/23/14: Solution to improve public trust with law enforcement unveiled:

Sat., 11/29/14: Face the Racist In You:

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The Rev. Willie E. Brisco: Clearing the Way for Recovery

By Patricia Obletz

“(D)isparity in justice—when blacks kill whites, justice is swift; when white police officers kill blacks, not so much—that is deeply troubling and highly combustible.”
---Eugene Robinson, 11/27/14, Washington Post column, “Dehumanizing Ferguson”

Not just Ferguson. That’s been the way of Golden Rule pretenders since well-equipped white people first discovered Africa. That’s why hearing from a Golden Rule Practitioner who is a volunteer activist for social justice is a gift to our souls. The Reverend Willie E. Brisco learned to deal with life from his first role models, his mother and grandmother. They were Golden Rule Practitioners, people who respect life in every color, never just paying lip service to Christian creed. They guided him with wisdom, humor, encouragement and unconditional love. Brisco continues their practice, the core of his ongoing work for justice.

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A Lesson From The Heartland You Won’t Read About

By Robert Miranda

Ed. Note: In light of the Wisconsin governor’s Koch-induced need to privatize public education tax dollars throughout the state, and Leon Todd’s attempt to stop that tide in Milwaukee back in the early 1990s, we invited Robert Miranda to write about his experiences in working with Todd back then. Think about all the charter/voucher schools currently teaching creationism et al, or taking tax dollars and disappearing. What do you want the next generations to learn?

Choice School/privatization supporters are prepared for what they think will be a banner few years of expansion for their cause. However, pockets of resistance around the state continue to grow as unbiased studies and reports show that privatized-Choice Schools are not producing the kind of results that would warrant expansion.

Milwaukee could have been the strongest center of resistance today against Choice School/privatization had progressive education activist leaders supported grass roots actions in the early 1990s standing against privatization of Milwaukee Public Schools (MPS) led by former MPS Superintendent Howard Fuller.

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Petition: Stop RTW in Wisconsin

Brothers and Sisters,
There’s a shady new front group in town, gearing up to attack workers and Wisconsin’s middle class. On December 1, a group with ties to the Koch Brothers launched an organization called “Wisconsin Right to Work” to “aggressively promote” anti-worker policies in the state legislature. On December 2, Rep. Chris Kapenga (R-Delafield) publicly promised to introduce an anti-worker Right to Work bill during the 2015–2016 legislative session. On December 4, Sen. Scott Fitzgerald (R-Juneau) said the Senate would lead on Right to Work and take it up in just a matter of weeks.

Sign the petition today: Click here to stand firm against Right to Work in Wisconsin. This bill is a scheme by out-of-state special interests to lower our wages and hurt our entire middle class.

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Milwaukee County Behavioral Health System Report is online

When the Milwaukee County Mental Health Board was established by the State Legislature with Act 203, one of the requirements was for an operational and programmatic audit of the behavioral health division of Milwaukee County with a report of the findings by December 1, 2014. The report became public today. Here is a link to the report on the DHS web site:

You can read it here:

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Blueprint Recap

Below are links to several articles about our 11×15 Blueprint to End Mass Incarceration In Wisconsin event last week. We started in the Senate Hearing Room of the state capitol. There was standing room only as our leadership outlined the Blueprint for legislators, their staff members and members of the press.

Then we moved over to the United Methodist building where we formed ten new issue workgroups to refine strategy for the various sections of the Blueprint. We finished the day by meeting by affiliate groups to firm up next steps. Contact us if you’d like to get involved in one of the workgroups, They meet by conference call.

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Rally Saturday at Red Arrow park - We Won’t Stop: Rally/March For Justice

Please join The Coalition For Justice, NAACP, Urban League, and MICAH as we come together for a rally and march for justice in conjunction with nationwide efforts to eradicate police brutality and the shooting/killing of Black men and women across this country.

This rally and march will take place Saturday, December 13th at 12pm. We will meet at Red Arrow Park, which has become our ground zero in the wake of the Murder of Dontre Hamilton.

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Congressional moves to reduce racism – Urge your elected officials to join Rep. John Conyers, Jr

There is no denying institutionalized racism – 2014 videos of police killing unarmed black boys and men paint today’s portrait, although only one aspect of this Golden Rule Pretenders’ hate or ignorance. The common sense of Rep. Conyers’s proposals are undeniable. Please urge your Congresswomen and men to join Rep. John Conyers to enact:

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Brochures for South Side Access Clinic and Recovery Center/Peer Run Drop In Center

Thanks to Chyra Trost and La Causa for sharing the attached brochures about the new South Side Access Clinic and the new Recovery Center (Peer Run Drop In Center). Please see the attached brochures for details. Just to clarify recovering the Recovery Center, persons can drop in at any time and if they want to join, there is a simple membership form for identifying information and documentation of their needs.

South Side Access Clinic
Recovery Center

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National Black Solidarity

When Will Enough Be ENOUGH????

National Black Solidarity Sunday: People of Faith Standing Together

Sunday, December 14th 2 P.M. Red Arrow Park 920 North Water Street


“We will remember not, words of our enemies but the silence of our friends”
~Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.~

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Mental Health Board Update

The next meeting of the Milwaukee County Mental Health Board is scheduled for December 18th at 8 AM at the Mental Health Complex. The agenda and meeting packet are now available online at:

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Obviously and unfortunately, there are many similarities among the matters involving Michael Brown in Ferguson, MO, Eric Garner in New York and the Dontre Hamilton situation here in Milwaukee. Actually, it is even clearer than in the other two cases that the victim (Mr. Hamilton) was not approached by a police officer based on an alleged reasonable suspicion of criminal activity, as there was no suspicion of crime in Mr. Hamilton’s case, and still the interaction led to the same outcome – his death at the hands of a police officer.

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Action Alert: Right to work (for less) is wrong for Wisconsin

Workers’ rights are under attack again, and Wisconsin may be the next state to face a so-called “Right to Work” law if a new conservative group has its way. The new group is led by none other than a former high-level employee of the Koch-funded extreme right-wing Americans for Prosperity. They are joined by at least one Republican lawmaker who announced his plans this week to introduce their legislation.

Sign United Wisconsin’s petition now to let your representatives know that Right to Work for Less is Wrong for Wisconsin.

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Wednesday, December 10, 2014

  • 7:30am Leave from Parking Lot (pool rides) Milwaukee Enterprise Center, 2821 N. 4th St.

  • 9:30am Gather with statewide 11×15 supporters in Capitol Building, Conference Room 411 South

  • 10:00am Showing of new 11X15 PowerPoint

  • 11:15am Press Conference in Room 411 South

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Next Steps


11×15 Blueprint to End Mass Incarceration
Wednesday, December 10, 10:00 am
State Capitol, Room 411S

Now that we have brought attention to three of the issues of the 11×15 campaign, we are planning another big event on December 10 in Madison. Mark your calendar and watch for details. The idea of that day will be to release the “11×15 Blueprint for Ending Mass Incarceration in Wisconsin.”

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This moment is a wake-up call.

People are marching in the streets in city after city to send a crucial message — our criminal justice system must be reformed now.

The grand jury’s decision in Ferguson does not negate the fact that Michael Brown’s death is part of an alarming national trend of officers using excessive force against people of color, often during routine encounters. We hear about it almost every day — just four days ago, 12-year-old Tamir Rice was shot twice and killed by police in a playground while holding a toy gun.

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There were many questions, and arguably flaws, with the process implemented by the District Attorney that culminated with the grand jury decision in Ferguson. The disappointment of people, not only with result, but with process, is understandable. We saw what happened when that disappointment turned into anger and violence.

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Ferguson: Mistrust in criminal justice system formed by long history of discrimination

Should a state grand jury have indicted Officer Darren Wilson for killing Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, on Aug. 9? What’s publicly known, of course, suggests that there was probable cause to believe that a crime occurred. But we’re in no position to second-guess a group of citizens who have had access to much more information than we have had.

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Georgia Pabst Sloppy Reporting Left Scar on Candidate Laura Manriquez Name

By Robert Miranda

The face-off between Milwaukee County Supervisor Deanna Alexander and Georgia Pabst of the Pulitzer Prize winning for local reporting Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel ignited a couple of weeks ago, when Supervisor Deanna Alexander accused reporter Georgia Pabst of publishing an article with a “misleading title and context”.

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Webinar: Medicare and the Health Insurance Marketplace

Medicare and the Health Insurance Marketplace & Medicare Coverage for Mental Health Services

Tuesday, November 25, 2014 | 3 p.m. Eastern Time

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) and SAMHSA invite you to join us for a webinar on Medicare and coverage through the Health Insurance Marketplace.

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Milwaukee County Adopts 2015 Budget

Yesterday the Milwaukee County Board adopted the 2015 budget – see below for a summary from the Board of the budget that was adopted. A few notes regarding vetoes:

  • $300,000 was restored for homeless shelters on a unanimous vote.

  • The GO pass amendment was approved.

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Our next big thing

will be the release of our Blueprint for 2015. We will start by a presentation to familiarize ourselves with the Blueprint. The Blueprint will give us all the pieces of the 11×15 Campaign. It will be a comprehensive picture of how Wisconsin’s broken criminal justice system can be fixed.

Wednesday, December 10 10:00 am
Room 411S of the State Capitol Building Madison, WI

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Andy Werlein Advocate of the Year Award

You are cordially invited to the 2014 Andy Werlein Advocate of the Year Award Presentation and Open House December 3, 2014

Mental Health America of Wisconsin will recognize the family of Dontre Hamilton for their mental health advocacy at the 2nd Annual Andy Werlein Advocate of the Year award ceremony

Date/Time: Wednesday, December 3, 2014 - 5:30 p.m.
Location: MHA Office, 600 W. Virginia St., Suite 502, Milwaukee WI located in the Tannery Business Center, Atlas Building)

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Urgent: Contact Your County Supervisor Regarding County Budget Vetoes

This afternoon, the County Executive released his veto message for the 2015 Milwaukee County budget. It is available online at

The Milwaukee County Board will meet tomorrow, November 19th at 1:30 and to consider the vetoes and attempt to override them. Two amendments that we supported were vetoed and one was partially vetoed. Please call or email your supervisors now and ask them to support the following amendments and override the vetoes.

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Mental Health Board to meet on 11/19 - will include opportunity for Public Comment

The next meeting of the Milwaukee County Mental Health Board is scheduled for Wednesday, November 19, 2014 at 10:00am at Milwaukee Public Schools Central Services Administration Building, 5225 W. Vliet St. I have attached the agenda and it also available online at

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Visit our solitary confinement cell replica

The solitary confinement cell that we had built for the WISDOM action on the Capitol steps on October 1st has been installed for viewing this week at Madison Christian Community, 7118 Old Sauk Road, Madison.
The church is open weekdays from 8–4.

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Performance of Pieces on November 23rd

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2015 Milwaukee County Budget Update

We wanted to update you on the 2015 Milwaukee County Budget process. The County Board of Supervisors has approved an amended 2015 budget. This included several amendments on issues that Make It Work Milwaukee supported – please see the attached amendments and be sure to thank your supervisor if they supported these amendments. These include an amendment reducing the $4 per ride paratransit increase for IRIS and Family Care by $.50 (Supervisor Haas was lead), restoring the $300,000 allocation for the homeless shelters (Supervisor Romo West lead) and the Transit Super Amendment which included the Go Pass and expanded routes (Chairwoman Dimitrijevic and Supervisor Bowen leads). We have asked the County Executive to protect (not to veto) these amendments – the Make It Work Milwaukee letter is attached for your reference.

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“Now she’s a real life angel, but it was too soon…”

Little Laylah Petersen was just a five-year-old child, sitting on her grandfather’s lap in their living room, when a bullet pierced through their house and killed her.

I keep returning to her aunt’s cry for justice:

“She was somebody’s granddaughter, she was a niece, she was like an angel and now she’s [a] real life angel, but it was too soon.”

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Bridging Cultures

Cuban filmmaker Gloria Rolando is currently on a US visit, with remaining states to include Wisconsin. She is one of this hemisphere’s leading documentarians of the African diaspora — the community of people of African descent who were forcibly shipped, or migrated, out of Africa to the Americas.

Please join the “Bridging Cultures” conversation with this dynamic filmmaker and others at MATC’s Downtown Campus, Monday, November 17. A flyer and a short bio on Gloria Rolando are attached for your convenience.

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Wisdom, Heart and Theology: “Creative Sexuality: Memoirs of a Catholic Nun”

By Barbaralie Stiefermann, OSF

Excerpt from “Introduction

“I know all who read this book are wondering why a sister, a celibate, would dare write her memoirs in praise of human sexuality when so much of our Jansenistic and Catholic backgrounds have suppressed sexuality for centuries. Throughout Catholic history, the Church’s teaching on sexual morality was summarized in Canon Law: ‘the primary purpose of marriage is the procreation and education of children. The secondary purpose is mutual support and remedy for concupiscence.’

“Thank God for Vatican II, which deliberately rejected this priority of the procreative over the unitive end of marriage. The 1975 Vatican Declaration on sexual ethics went even further by identifying human sexuality in the unmarried as ‘the source of a person’s most fundamental characteristics and as a crucial element leading to personal maturity and integration into society.’ Wholesome human sexuality fosters creative growth toward integration…

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SAVE the DATE: SDC’s Special Event December 6, 2014 (Saturday)*** NAMI’S “PIECES”(adolescent version) play and communuity awareness resource fair

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Says New Bus Stops Will Move People Closer to Mall; Indicates Former Bus Stop at Mall Entrance Stop Was Not Possible

Milwaukee County Supervisor Patricia Jursik said today that a compromise agreement on the location of a new bus stop at Southridge Mall was “the best option that was possible” in resolving the issue.

The Transportation, Public Works and Transit Committee approved the agreement on a 4–3-vote, and the full County Board approved it on a 14–3 vote.

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About 2014 Election

“Nothing in all the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity.” — Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Perfect Illustration of Majority 2014 Voters:

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11×15 Taskforce Meeting

Meeting will be held
Wednesday November 12th

Project RETURN 2821 N. 4th Street Suite 202, Meeting begins @5pm

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8 White Cops, 46 Bullets, 1 Black Man

8 White Cops, 46 Bullets, 1 Black Homeless Man [Video]

During the video, eight officers approached Hall and demanded that he drop the small knife, but he refused. After a span of about 10 seconds, the officers opened fire on Hall.

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Racism and Its Origins

Excerpt from “Stories From the Front Lines of Integration Toledo, Ohio and Milwaukee, Wisconsin 1965–1979” available @ and .

By Lee R. McMurrin, Ph.D.

Abraham Lincoln said many times, in his speeches and debates on slavery, that if slavery is not wrong, nothing in this world is wrong. And I was quoted many times saying that segregation was the worst thing that ever happened to America’s children. Slavery of the “colored people” (the term commonly used in earlier times) in America is the backdrop to segregation in all of its forms. Slavery formed the attitudes upon which segregation was established. Slaveholders viewed the colored people in the same category as animals, which was the way the Supreme Court of the United States viewed them in some of their decisions. Lincoln, in his debates with Steven Douglas, stated that they were human beings and should be granted the rights and privileges that were granted to citizens of the United States in the documents of the founding fathers.

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Special meeting to consider Southridge Proposal: Committee on Transportation, Public Works, and Transit Special Meeting Agenda 11/06/14

The Milwaukee County Board Transportation Committee is holding a special meeting this Thursday at 8:30 AM in room 201B at the Courthouse. The purpose of the meeting is to consider a proposal from Corporation Counsel, requesting authorization to enter into a Bus Service Agreement effective January 1, 2015, for an initial two-year term and for automatically renewing additional two-year terms, regarding transit and shelters at Southridge Shopping Center and to reroute bus routes accordingly. You can click on the link below to view the proposal. You may want to contact supervisors to share your perspective on the proposal.

Transportation, Public Works, and Transit 11/06/14 Agenda

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MHA in Partnership with Penfield Present Free Community Workshops

November 5: Importance of Play for Children
November 19: Managing Your Children’s Challenging Behaviors
December 3: Typical & Atypical Development of Children
December 17: Challenging Behaviors in Children

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Coalition for Justice: gathering today in Red Arrow Park

Mental Health Task Force Update

We are passing on an update from the Coalition for Justice. There will be a gathering today at 6 PM at Red Arrow Park, 1000 N. Water Street to honor the life of Dontre Hamilton and mark the 6th month anniversary of his death - Information is also available on the Coalition for Justice Facebook page.

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Last edited by Tyler Schuster. Based on work by Godsil, patricia obletz, Sen, kt rusch, Micah Leinbach, Bill Sell, godsil, tyler schuster, People's Books Coop, Brian Rothgery, Todd, Anne Steinberg, Philip Philo Kassner, patricia Obletz, patriciaobletz, Vineet, Olde, Worm Mon, Commonwealth Citizen, Theresa Ford, BillSell, marc rassbach, bs, Jacob Hey, TeganDowling, Eddee Daniel, Steve Jerbi, Melanie Hupfer and Peggy Hong.  Page last modified on January 27, 2015, at 07:11 PM

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