Ignatian Conversations For A More Conscious Catholic Culture

Here is Tom Coffin, from my high school class of 1963 at the Jesuit Highschool of St. Louis Missouri called St. Louis U. High, responding to a NYT essay in support of the edge of history work regarding LGBT issues, of Father James Martin, S.J.. Here’s the essay:

Here’s Tom’s response to my sharing the essay with about 130 alumni from our class of 1963.


Bible Not A Scientific Treatise, Faith Not Served By Ignorance

The Church developed its views on sexuality long before biology developed to the point of shedding light on the subject. We now know that orientation is formed in the womb and is not a conscious choice by the person. Yet I am aware of no theological commissions that have been tasked with re-examining the biblical underpinnings casting same-sex relations as immoral in the light of today’s scientific revelations. As Galileo aptly demonstrated (at great personal cost) the Bible is not a scientific treatise and Faith is not served by Ignorance. Tom

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Visiting the President of Ireland


Myself and the 10 contributors to the book Laudato Si’ An Irish Response were invited to visit the President of Ireland, Michael C. Higgins at Aras An Uachtarain, today, January 18th 2018.

For one hour we discussed many of theme on justice, ecology and spirituality which feature some prominently in the papal document Laudato Si’. The President was thoroughly familiar with the encyclical and highlighted the place it should have in challenging the economic, social and ecological policies which are doing such damage both to planet earth and human well-being.

He felt that every teacher in Ireland should be given a copy of the book Laudato Si’ An Irish Response.

Kind regards,
Sean McDonagh, SSC,
St. Columban’s, Dalgan Park, Navan, Co. Meath.
tel 00353872367612
visit my blog at http://earthcaremission.wordpress.com

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An American Tragedy To Resist

From Brother Tom Coffin, to spark an Ignatian conversation.

The Enemy Within

Tom— I wrote this essay for the sake of my children and grandchildren, because I want them to remember that there are those of us who did not remain silent while the principles that made this country what it is were under attack. Tom

Godsil—And I am sharing this statement to continue a conversation worthy of conceiving as An Ignatian Response to The Ferguson Tragedy.

Tom is concerned that Trump is heading up a path to An American Tragedy. So am I.

Our nation was founded on principles that our Founders determined to be sacrosanct and immutable:

“We hold these Truths to be self-evident, that all Men
are created equal, that they are endowed by their
Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among
these are Life,Liberty,and the pursuit of Happiness—
that to secure these Rights, Governments are instituted
among Men, deriving their just Powers from the Consent
of the Governed…” The Declaration of Independence July 4, 1776

We must never forget that the Founders of this nation were intimately familiar with a monarchical, or autocratic, form of government and the resulting tyranny that accompanies such a model of government—e.g., imprisonment without jury trial, punishment for “seditious” speech, judges who lacked independence and who served only at the pleasure of the king, denial of a representative voice in government, and other violations of basic human rights.

After overthrowing the yoke of a foreign king, they drafted a Constitution that was designed to ensure a representative form of government with formidable obstacles to the reincarnation of a tyrannical autocracy. Hence the checks and balances of co-equal branches of government, each with the ability to counter excessive exercises of power by the other branches.

The Constitution, with the first 10 Amendments (the Bill of Rights) was ratified in 1789. The Bill of Rights, authored by James Madison with input from Thomas Jefferson,expressly incorporated fundamental individual liberties, rights, and values deemed to be cornerstones of our framework of government.

That government—our government—has endured as a beacon of democracy for the world for over 228 years. Now, however, it is being assailed by the greatest enemy it has ever encountered. This is not an enemy from outside our borders, an invading army or axis of foreign powers. It is an enemy from within, an enemy that strikes at the heart of our nation by questioning and repudiating our foundational principles that gave birth to our very existence and have been our sustaining life breath to this very day.

I speak of an administration that has described the Constitution as an archaic document and an obstacle to effective government, encouraged law enforcement officials to use excessive force in arresting suspects, heaped praise on Philippines president Rodrigo Duterte for his utilization of vigilante death squads to murder suspected lawbreakers and drug users, and applauded and pardoned a renegade sheriff in Arizona for contemptuously and systematically violating a federal court order by continuing to illegally profile and detain Hispanics on the discriminatory basis of their race.

The president’s distaste for the Constitution extends to the 1st Amendment, particularly the part that states “Congress shall make no law…abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press…” As Madison emphasized at the time of its passage…”we cannot be subject to rules and laws that prohibit us from speaking our minds. Our press can print and circulate the news without fear of reprisal, even if that news is less than favorable regarding our country or government.”

The president’s hostility to the freedoms of speech and the press is well documented. His former Chief of Staff confirmed in an interview that the White House has considered amending or even abolishing the 1st Amendment because of critical press coverage of the president. Most recently, he has demanded that the publisher of a book which is critical of his administration cease and desist from distributing the book into the public domain. Yet such freedom to publish it is the very essence of the 1st Amendment. Moreover, the president has repeatedly maligned peaceful political protests, such as kneeling during the anthem, as a form of disrespect for the flag that should be punished by fines or other economic sanctions.

This latter issue begs the question—what, exactly, does the flag represent if not the Constitution of the United States, which is the soul of this nation? I suspect that this president equates the flag with—well—himself. Nothing could be further from reality. The flag stands for the country, whose existence is defined by the Constitution, defended by the the sacrifices and blood of the people for over two centuries. Without the Constitution, the nation is a lifeless corpse and it has no president. It is such an irony to witness the president exhorting law enforcement officers to violate the Constitution, railing against rights and liberties enshrined in the Bill of Rights, condoning and even pardoning violations of the freedoms and rights cherished by our Founders, all the while sporting a flag lapel pin as he flouts and rejects what the flag truly represents.

In this hypocrisy, he mirrors the mythical Humpty Dumpty, who famously said:

“When I use a word, it means just what I choose it to mean, nothing more nor less.”

No, Mr. President, the Constitution does not mean just what you choose it to mean, nothing more nor less. Its meaning has been clear for over two centuries. It means what the Founders articulated, and what the Congress, Courts, and former Presidents who have served this nation have always understood and accepted it to mean. You took an oath to uphold and protect this Constitution. You have no right, no power, no authority whatsoever to discard it or define it by your whim and caprice.

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New School Amaranth Gathering of Heroes.

Dan Velasquez, art teacher hero renewing the teacher led New School for Student Empowerment, i.e.The New School, will be meeting with artist ecopreneur Muneer Bahauddeen 12;30 today, at David Boucher’s Amaranth Bakery, 34th and Lisbon. Hoping some of my FB friends win New School “Desks” as nanosecond “Partners,” by providing a one hour workshop at the New School during 2018–19 school year, or perhaps a one hour tour of their workplace. The New School to be located at 35th and Lisbon, the NW corner of the Amaranth Village neighborhood. Brian Sales and Dave Laack are hoping to weave Green Veterans Growing Power 2.0 in with this venture, August Marie Ball the Cream City Conservation Corps, Jesse Blom and I the Sweet Water Academy, Francis Graf and Matt Rudman Groundworks, Todd Leech the Riverwest Co-op and Cafe, Alexander Montezon and Nick Montezon trades training, Ryan Schone UW Extension’s Seed Garden, Pat Wilborn Port Fish, Brad Pruitt, film making, for starters. Join the conversation por favor!

Riverwest Coop New School Meeting

Dan Velasquez Anthony Deutsch Todd Leech Brian Sales Dave Laack Matt Rudman Pat Wilborn. “Partners” for The New School. Join us tomorrow 12:30 at The Amaranth w. David Boucher, Muneer Bahauddeen, and other Heroes Saving The New School

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From Brian Sales FB Post

MKE Urban Farm School, Trauma Resolution and Small Farmers Co-op Center coming soon to an inner city MKE neighborhood near you! (MUFS, TRC, and SFC) A Green Veterans Group Milwaukee Project & Initiative. ;) #greenvets #urbanfarmers #traumaresolution #IUAN #groundworksMKE #CVI #growingpower2.0

This is amazing news!

MKE Urban Farm School, Trauma Resolution Center and Small Farmers Co-op Center coming soon to an inner city MKE neighborhood near you!

(MUFS, TRC, and SFC)

Green Veterans Growing Power w. MUFS TRC SFC


Visions of New Schools for Student Empowerment and Amaranth Urban Village, SWF, UWE SEED Gardens, Milwaukee Coops, and more in this

Emerging Milwaukee Grand Alliance for A New Milwaukee

Where the waters gather toward the Sweet Water Seas

In the Great Lakes Heartland of the USA

New schools for new work we really want to do

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New school for student empowerment Clan Networks

These are our New School for Student Empowerment Yacht Club Grounds… another bequeathment of the Old Milwaukee Sewer Socialists… Citizen Commons! Would any of our Facebook friends like to bring their Clan into conversations advancing the creation of a new MPS school for student empowerment?

From co-founder Dan Velasquez

We are currently enrolling for 9th and 10th grade and want to promote the school to youth who want to be heard and have a voice in their education, community, and future. I will attach a link to our open house informational night to get a quick glimpse into what our school is about.

Link: https://docs.google.com/presentation/d/e/2PACX-1vTYX1XhYSV7Mm-9u15K2SVM37COkrJrriz9Gi4bB3nB5QwdtR4KbCG-nMetJ50tuidJuKMF1EZv-SoN/pub?start=true&loop=true&delayms=30000

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PPC Experiment W. “Awakening” of 1.2 Billion Baptized Catholics via Pope Francies & Sean McDonagh Synodal Process for Laudato Si

Finally! I intuit that you all may become​ as inspired by the possibilities Fr. Sean offers your PPC​ work as I am by my urban ag partners’ work. I am co-founder and Board president of the Sweet Water Foundation, which is now working with the Obama Foundation team re the Presidential Library’s community engagement aspect. I also aspire to weave our collaboration into a wiki web platform called “Where the Sweet Waters Gather”, i.e. the Objibwe name for Milwaukee, which has been “going global as the city’s name if used as a metaphor.

We must make our inland waters sweet again!

Our ocean waters healing!

Weave Laudato Si Synodal Process Into Collaboration With PPC?

Here is Fr. Sean’s vision.


​Here he is with the Sweet Water Team, including our practical, pragmatic, and charismatic co-founder and director, Emmanuel Pratt.

In August, 2016, a Sweet Water Foundation team had the amazing good fortune to participate in an eco/art exhibition at the Irish Museum of Modern Art last February. While there we were were given a tour by the creators of a rooftop garden(including aquaponics) at the Jesuit H.S. Belvedere College; and we also were blessed with Fr. McDonagh’s presence at one of our presentations(with our director Emmanuel Pratt’s arm around him front and center).

​In the way that I pray, I pray for mighty collaborations with you and your teams up through my 100th birthday party!

Clean sailing,


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Community Guild Network Building Possibilities

So Josh has given me a 600 square foot space in this 19,000 square foot Community Guild Network building(pending final appraisal)

aside the Milwaukee River at North Ave. and UWM dorms

to experiment with enterprises like yours, for some kind of Milwaukee Renaissance.


Here are some links that suggest some order in the chaos of my life.



Dee Hock’s chaordic organizing is my recipe.


Here’s a Harvard Business Review study of Josh’s and my experiment with hybrid and networked enterprise experiments.


And web page of the Sweetwater Foundation we helped launch, along with future MacArthur genius winner Emmanuel Pratt.


Sunvest Solar and USGBC Green Veterans Growing Power Collaboration?

I have cc’d Brian Soles, who is leading this Green Veterans project, and his partner David Laack.


Let The Old City bloom,


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Journal Sentinel photo

Leiser, Laacke,Sales, Allen, & Godsil Discussing Growing Power 2.0 Transition

Parkside School for the Arts, Medical College of Wisconsin, Brookfield School(s), & Sweet Water Foundation Collaboration Experiments

Dear All,

Here is Parkside School for the Art’s Erin Dentice’s Power Point on their path finding experiment blending art with edible playground/aquaponics science/ecology projects.

The document ​​to me is a clear exposition of what has already been achieved in one school that can help in the designing and modeling for the next school venture. The Milwaukee Sweet Water Foundation Director, Jesse Blom, now also director of the Johns Hopkins Food System Lab of the Bloomberg School of Public Health.​​ was the designer and consultant to the wonderful aquaponics demo at the school. Jesse is poised to bring his knowledge base and institutional resources to a Brookfield School Experiment that would be supported by the Medical College of Wisconsin, Parkside School for the Arts, the Sweet Water Foundation, and perhaps Johns Hopkins.

Erin, her students, and their families offer tours of their work. I would very much enjoy helping catalyze as much.

There are many senior and MA theses in our work, on up through doctoral dissertation.

We moved the main Sweetwater aquaponic commercial-size experiment to the south side of Chicago at Chicago State University. You might be able to get a tour of that, although it’s best to call before going. The Sweet Water Foundation web page inspires!


Power model these days focuses on networks of aquaponic demos in schools and larger systems as much destinations and training sites as growing places. While growing food in urban places is a vital response to the needs of our time, growing information, STEAM skills, ecological, emotional, and social intelligence, i.e. growing our souls!, is equally important in this multi-dimensional, multi-generational networked experiments.

Commercial Size Destination/Training Lab


Pat Wilborn

Classroom Model Integrating Art, Aquaponics, and Intergenerational Life Long Learning Models

And Erin dentise in her students offer tours at the trailblazing Parkside School for the Arts edible classroom and aquaponics demonstration project


UW Urban Ag Extension Into Soil Based Community Gardening and “Agora”


I have been deeply involved in these matters since 2005, and no one has done any better than the leaders of these three models anywhere in the nation.

Clear sailing,


Here is a link to a Harvard Business School essay on the work of the Sweet Water Foundation, supported at the outset by the fine teams of Sweet Water Organics.

There are many garden growers and engineers in Brookfield poised to advance the vision of a replication of the Parkside/Medical College edible classroom project with new waves of partnering co-creators.

Why not?


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Edible Classrooms Growing VIRTU

You and yours are cultivating a new generation of high virtu.


“Virtu” chez Erica Benner’s “Be Like The Fox: Machiavelli In His World”


  • Can mean-spiritedness, especially in battle. But the highest quality virtu includes

  • an aptitude for organization,

  • industry,

  • and far-sighted prudence.

It further includes

  • an unclouded knowledge of one’s own limits,

  • the wisdom and self-discipline not to over reach them,

  • and the Ingenuity to use whatever opportunities and resources one has, however scarce they might be.

Virtu doesn’t need good luck, are even much freedom, to work wonders. On the contrary,

it is most admirable, even most effective,

  • where there are obstacles to overcome.

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Nation Building Is A Multigenerational Process With Regressions Along The Way

Momentary Body Guard For Dr. King

This image of Dr. King’s stoning in Marquette Park during SCLC’s Freedom Summer Open Housing Marches finds me directly behind Dr. King and near Andy Young, to my right. The Nazi Party incited a murderous crowd to torch our cars. I lost a 1957 Chevy the engine of which my father had completely overhauled. Were it not for Chicago Irish police walking in great numbers between us and the stone and bottle throwing mob, we would literally have been lynched or beaten. This summer I was on a green line bus with a group of Whitefish Bay students shouting build the wall build the wall Trump Trump trump and then to an immigrant family f*** you go home f*** you go home. In the way that I pray I pray that the level of hatred I witnessed at 21, 50 years ago, is kept at bay by the vast majority of patriotic and compassionate citizens. As much as we we’re disappointed buy mirror Richard Daley, he never did try to incite the European Americans to heightened levels of enmity and possible violence. It’s bizarre to have a president so Brazen in his contempt for the best of Americas heritage.

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Community Roofing and Restoration is elevating the status and competency of the artisanal trades.

Community is now the nucleus of an emerging Guild network of restoration artisans.

If you have had work done by Community please go to this link and let us know what you think about our efforts.


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FIELDTRIP: Monday’s WI Urban Farming Legislation!

This Monday at 10AM Senator Johnson and Representative Goyke are unveiling proposed legislation titled Wisconsin Urban Farming Futures which holds tremendous potential for bringing a new level of support and credibility to urban and sustainable farming in Milwaukee and across our great State. To support this critical piece of legislation, amplify the media’s attention, and witness a perhaps historic moment, we’d like to gather a band of like-minds to attend the grand unveiling at Kaleidoscope Gardens!

Sandy Syburg has graciously offered the SoilMobile (a bio-diesel bus) to transport our band to the event – offering a pickup stop out west near Oconomowoc (attn. Madison folks) and a second stop in Milwaukee.

Here are the tentative pickup times and locations:

1. Summit Park & Ride (leaving @ 8:50 AM)

36337 Delafield Rd, Summit, WI

2. Walmart on Miller Parkway (leaving @ 9:20 AM)

4140 W Greenfield Ave, West Milwaukee, WI

Please email me directly if you would like to join the group at either location (Ryan.Schone@ces.uwex.edu). Also let me know if you wish to join the caravan by following in your own vehicle.

More details for those who sign-up will be sent Sunday.

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City’s 1st Timber-Frame Barn Since Chicago Fire Going Up In Washington Park

WASHINGTON PARK — As buildings are being torn down in Washington Park, a barn is being raised.

The Sweet Water Foundation has erected likely the only barn of its kind in the city on a lot where Moseley Elementary School once stood and that is now a farm. The barn appears to be the first since the Chicago Fire in 1871.

“This is the first timber-frame barn in the city of Chicago since the fire that we know of,” said Emmanuel Pratt, founder of the Sweet Water Foundation, which is running the Perry Avenue Community Farm at 57th Street and Perry Avenue.



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Catholics by Culture Discover Catholics For Choice


My daughter Megan Godsil Jeyifo has inspired me to look more closely at the issue of choice and abortion, given her emerging leadership role.

However, as Daniel Maguire, a leading Catholic moral theologian, has noted, there has been a diversity of views on when human life begins and the morality of abortion throughout the history of the church.

As a result, says Maguire: “There is no one Catholic view” on abortion.

In the early centuries of the church, St. Augustine held that early abortion was wrong not because it involved the taking of life, but because it separated procreation from sex, which he believed was the only justification for intercourse—even between married couples.

In the 11th century, St. Thomas Aquinas postulated that there was no life present in an early fetus and that ensoulment occurred only after “quickening” in the fifth or sixth month when the mother first felt signs of fetal life, so early abortion was not murder.

The view that the early fetus was not a person and that a fetus gained human value as a pregnancy progressed was widely held in science and law throughout history. Most opposition to abortion centered on the fact that it was a way for people to cover up illicit sex, not the belief that it was murder.

In the 17th century, believing that early magnifying instruments had detected the human form in fetal tissue, the church moved toward the belief that life begins at conception. It wasn’t until late in the 19th century, however, that the church actually banned abortion and until the 20th century that it became a cornerstone of church teaching based on the belief that life begins at conception.

Not only has church teaching on when human life begins varied, but the bishops have worked very hard to suppress the primacy that Catholic teaching gives the well-formed conscience when it comes to individual decision-making regarding weighty moral issues. From listening to their rhetoric, you would think that all Catholics are obligated to follow the Vatican’s pronouncements in lockstep. But nothing could be further from the truth. Catholic thinkers from St. Paul through St. Thomas Aquinas to the Vatican’s own 1965 Declaration on Religious Freedom have consistently held that Catholics have a duty to follow their conscience and that no one should be forced to act contrary to their conscience.

In his widely respected book Catholicism, theologian Father Richard P. McBrien sums it up: “If…after appropriate study, reflection, and prayer, a person is convinced that his or her conscience is correct, in spite of a conflict with the moral teachings of the church, the person not only may but must follow the dictates of conscience rather than the teachings of the church.”

For the most part, Catholics do follow their consciences when the teachings of the church conflict with the lived reality of their lives and their own senses of wisdom and compassion. As is well known, in the United States, 97 percent of Catholic women over the age of 18 have used a method of contraception banned by the Catholic hierarchy. Use of modern contraceptive methods is high in many predominantly Catholic countries: 67 percent of married women of reproductive age in Spain use modern contraceptive methods, as do 69 percent of married women in France, and 60 percent of married women in Mexico and 70 percent of married women in Brazil. Clearly these women are following their consciences, which tell them that modern birth control methods are moral and contribute to their health and the health of their families.

Similarly, Catholics are more than willing to disagree with church teaching on abortion. Less than one-quarter (22%) of Catholics in the US agree with the bishops’ position that abortion should be illegal (Belden Russonello & Stewart poll, 2004). And 58% of Catholics believe you can be a good Catholic without following the bishops’ teaching on abortion (National Catholic Reporter poll, September 2005). In the US, Catholic women have abortions at the same rate as women in the population as a whole (Perspectives on Sexual and Reproductive Health, 2002), so clearly they have decided to follow the dictates of their consciences rather than the pronouncements of the church.

It is also important to note that while the Catholic bishops often try to give the impression that Vatican teachings on abortion are infallible, they are not. It is a popular misconception that whatever the pope says on a serious topic is infallible and must be followed—it is not. Infallible statements are only made in very limited and narrow circumstances. The teaching on abortion has never been proclaimed infallible and no serious theologian claims it is. Even Pope John Paul II, who was renowned for his opposition to abortion, tried to find ways to pronounce his teaching on abortion infallible and was unable to do so.

While Catholics the world over clearly follow their consciences on the matter of abortion, the bishops do have an impact on women’s ability to access abortion and other reproductive health services. Especially in the United States, the Catholic hierarchy works through the political process to try and get their minority views enshrined into law. This is clearly a violation of the consciences of Catholics and non-Catholics alike who hold opposing views and not in keeping with Catholic church tradition or teaching. Catholic tradition demands that Catholics respect the views of other faith groups and that the church accept the principle of church-state separation. According to one pastoral letter, “Catholics should recognize the legitimacy of differing points of view about the organization of worldly affairs and show respect for their fellow citizens.” Vatican II clearly recognized that the political community and the church are independent of each other.

Timber Framed Barn Raising at Sweet Water Chicago

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Dear All,

I can remember reading CW Mills’ “Power Elite” in 1966 and feeling utterly powerless to make a difference re the Vietnam War and civil rights. A professor raged at me that we had many resources to push back, especially, for students, the power to demonstrate.

Reading the essay on Brazil’s junk food intrusion can evoke the same feeling of despair in the face of the global junk food juggernaut.


No one said the good food ®Evolution would be easy, nor quick victoried. And those who will be steadfast and mindful, know that our work is not a lifetime’s challenge. It will be a challenge up through the 7th generation and beyond.

Obama and Sweet Water Foundations Help to Connect Teachers, Urban Ag Activist Farmers, and Artisinal Mentors Across National Boundaries

The multidimensional aspect of our struggle methinks could profit from integrating artisinal training and urban ag training, with programs connecting schools with community groups.

This is what Emmanuel Pratt’s Sweet Water Foundation teams have been doing in Chicago, and Jesse Blom’s in Milwaukee. The Obama Foundation has highlighted one inspiring example of this approach with a 60 second video of
Big Mike Reynolds, a retired union/master carpenter who has been providing artisinal training at the Sweet Water Foundation Urban Farm and Perry Ave Commons, on the South Side of Chicago.


And it’s not just us and alliances with Obama Foundation and other progressive, secular institutions. The faith communities of the world have many groups within and between advancing the good fight. Pope Francis’ encyclical, Laudato Si, has brilliantly married social with ecological justice for the next generation of Catholic educators.

When I began promoting Big Will Allen’s urban ag vision back in 2005, my most progressive friends were extremely unimpressed. Since then, urban ag has mainstreamed and the Mayor of Milwaukee considers his teaming up with our movement one of his most important acts as mayor.

We shall overcome!

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Grant Concept For Saint-Gobain & Certainteed Foundations

Goal: Green Workforce Development, Lifelong STEM Learning, Public Health Pilot Experiment: Beginning With Healthy Snacks

Re-imagining green workforce development with an “integral” focus on existing artisinal crews and networks, sparking healthier diets, starting with workplace snacks, and healthier life-styles enhanced with life-long STEM training, starting with off season urban agriculture and aquaponics experimentation.

Roberto Alba Of Superior Roofing Solutions With Community Guild Network Healthy Snack #2

Roberto Alba Of Superior Roofing Solutions With
Community Guild Network Healthy Snack #2

Means: Providing building crews with tasty, healthy snacks as alternatives to fast food, Red Bull, and cigarettes throughout the workday, with low keyed conversations and reading materials in support.

Arthur Camberon and Armon Of Juice Kitchen Preparing Snack #3

Arthur Camberon and Armon Of Juice Kitchen Preparing Snack #3

In the off season, introducing crews to STEM skills development via partnerships with local schools with edible classroom and aquaponics projects underway.

Healthy Snack #1.  Apples & Almonds

Healthy Snack #1. Apples & Almonds

Proposed Pilot Project Partners: Community Roofing & Restoration, Sweet Water Foundation, University of Wisconsin Urban Agriculture Extension, Parkside School for the Arts, UW-Madison School of Medicine and Public Health, Milwaukee School of Engineers, Green Schools Alliance, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health Food Systems Lab, Artist Muneer Bahauddeen

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Inseparable Cities by the Love of Comrades

“I will plant companionship thick as trees along all the rivers of America,/and along the shores of the great lakes, and all over the prairies,/I will make inseparable cities with their arms about each other’s necks,/By the love of comrades.”

Whitman text

Let us wrap Milwaukee Chicago Arms
Around each other’s necks…

From Milwaukee

With help from UW Extension, UW Madison Young Doctors TRIUMPH Project, Wisconsin Organic Valley Wormfarm Institute, Purple Cow Sweet Water VGI Heart Haus SEED Garden Agora UEC Community Guild Network and Milwaukee’s Urban Ag Grand Alliance Milwaukee Renaissance from the Sister City Where the Sweet Waters gather.


SWF Perru Ave Commons

Emmanuel and Jia?

St. Louis

Miss Betty’s Boys

Norm and Paulette?

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Sweetwater Community Aquaponics Network

Dear Stacy and All,

Stacy… I am so happy that you and yours are interested in an aquaponics encounter!

I have included Aquapons who may have the time and be moved by the spirit to begin a conversation with you, leading up to a tour, and, from my point of view, a loose collaborative knowledge sharing, to bring forth the day when 5% of the schools of the world are graced with aquaponic models and edible classrooms.

Allow me to introduce you to people who are quite literally among the worlds most competent aquaponic experimenters, growing fish, plants, knowledge, and, to me, mysteriously, Polymath Rainbow Greening Souls…And sharing networked conversations, encounters, experiments, and projects, probably forshadowing some kind of Aquaponics Guilds, with a variety of expressions.

One World Aquaponics

Of, by, and for the healing of the people and the planet, with all of God’s children, in Milwaukee, Chicago, Organic Valley Wisconsin, St Louis, and a number of cities in Europe, Central and South America, and Africa.

Every city should grow aquaponics innovation centers and greening hubs in our integral schools!

In the way that I pray, I pray that 5% of the world’s schools will have small to large aquaponic Innovation centers by the year 2040

I hope this conversation will lead to mighty or modest collaborations with you and yours, toward that goal.


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Obama Foundation 60 Second Film Features Micheal Reynolds of Sweet Water Foundation

Centers & Hubs for Growing, Making, Fixing, and Sharing at Obama Presidential Library

It’s beginning to look like Emmanuel Pratt and teams are winning a place for the marriage of urban agriculture, restoration artisanship, and the blending of art, architecture, city planning, and science with the community engagement wing of the Obama Presidential Library.

And Milwaukee Region grew 10,000 community garden plots and a Community Greenhouse in every neighborhood!. And young Milwaukee Chicago videographers made a documentary featured in the opening week of the Obama Presidential Library. Our movement has a relationship with the folks designing community engagement of what will be a South Side Chicago wonder. https://twitter.com/Oba…/status/898678019165790208/video/1

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Godsil and Fraundorf Community Guild School Experiments

Community Roofing and Restoration is considering the purchase of the Robert Koch “complex” on Fratney and Auer, aspiring to transform the property into a Community Guild School and perhaps Residencies.

Community Roofing’s Guild Network Healthy Food Experiments

The Koch complex would be an ideal innovation center for the Guild’s health food experiments. Here’s a conversation fleshing out this concept.

Godsil. While taking pictures and interviewing members of the Community Network I imagined showing up at the job site with some almonds, peanuts, broccoli and really good dip, and experimenting with different mixes of good and healthy food as an alternative to potato chips candy bars and fast food stuff.

I think this would be appreciated by our Artisans and would make a great story for social media and the history books.

What say?

Fraundorf. I think it would be amazing to get them off of the red bull and garbage food. Chicken salads, water, wraps, fruit, vegetables, etc…happy to put $500 a month into a trial base or more if needed.

G: Let’s team up with the UW Extension nutritionist and the MATC Culinary Arts students to make this brilliance

F: I think it’s a brilliant idea for the artisans of Community’s networks.

G: Good Food and Beauty at the community Guild Houses in every community might change the world.

Every city deserves a community Guild House with good food and Beauty to elevate the spirits, nourish and heal the body, and enhances our artisans’ quest for excellence, at the job, with the family, in the community.

G: May I share this thread at the Milwaukee Renaissance and on my Facebook page?


F: Sure

Community Sweet Water Regenerative Placemaking

Since 1975 Community has demonstrated the merit of developing networks of custom artisinal shops for roof system restoration, with some key members of the network happy, even eager, to develop workshops on copper smithing, restoration carpentry and masonry, paining, roofing, plumbing, and more. Self reliance through the trades!

From 2005 on up through today, Community has advanced visions of harvesting the urban agriculture movement of Milwaukee in service to a new “biophilic” and STEAM pedagogy(“A” for art and architecture). If our kids grow it, they’ll eat it! The most important manifestation of this is the Sweet Water Foundation, directed by Emmanuel Pratt, who has been a global trailblazer in the theory and the practice of regenerative placemaking.

And from 1975 to our times, Community has supported neighborhood economic development experiments in Riverwest. Local, shared economics “as if people mattered.”

The Koch Complex would be a perfect place to pull these strands together!

But we are hesitant to enter into this story without an understanding of the challenges of water and soil remediation at this site. We can imagine pulling together a series of engineering, architecture, and landscape design teams to use the Koch Complex transformation into a Community Guild School and Residence as a case study of what “green grand alliances” can accomplish.

We would be working with people in the Community Sweet Water Foundation and Harvard GSD networks if we can enter into a collaboration with state of the art understanding of the challenges of the Koch Complex regarding soil and water “healing.”

I am hoping such a venture might advance the personal and commonwealth work of many good people, as well as the good cause of healing people and planet.

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Co-Create Mind Sharing Conversation Circles Among Progressive Catholics by Culture

Like this note to one of my classmates from St. Louis University High(SLUH).

Dear Michael,

I have enjoyed and been “struck by” the intensity and clarity of your expression regarding the great issues of our time, and the embarrassing debasement of the Office of the Presidency, United States of America of late. I am in friendly competition with Big Apple Jewish intellectuals of the 20th century and West Coast Pragmatic Mystics around “culture.”

I want to help co-create a progressive wing of “Catholics by Culture” in my remaining years, with a focus on Jesuit trained boomers from across the globe.​ Connecting progressive “Catholics by Culture” is one of my chores, and I hope you might join in! Below are links to the dawn of TomCoffin and [DavidGrant essays “Where The Sweet Waters Waters Meet.,” i.e. Milwaukee’s(metaphorically conceived) Renaissance, followed by a letter by Jesuit schooled polymath elder, Merlin Donald, to an Irish missionary turned Pope Francis’ ecological advisor.

I would be profoundly grateful if you would spend the time and make the effort to craft a Michael Britt Essay, either a response to the ideas of this note, or about whatever issue inspires you to share your thoughts.

​​Professor Merlin Donale Letter to Father Sean McDonagh re Catholics by Culture

Dear Fr. McDonagh,

I am a big fan of Laudato Si, which I understand you co-authored. Thank you for that enormous contribution to humanity. The text strikes the right balance between scientifically rigorous fact and that special tone, so crucial to Christianity at its best, of altruism and community and selflessness, of giving over to something much bigger than yourself. In an age such as ours, where selfishness has run rampant and greed and narcissism are actively held up as ideals, it is refreshing to read a major world document couched in truly human terms, and not wasted due to Legalese and bureaucratic pomp. Having written a few things myself, I know how tough it is to craft and maintain such a tone.

I am what I prefer to call a “cultural Catholic” — that is, someone who respects and largely adheres to the best ideas the Church can offer, without being able to say I “believe” in such things as papal infallibility. Having studied with the Jesuits for eight years, I find the public stance of Pope Francis both reassuringly tolerant, and familiar — my Jesuit teachers were like that — open-minded, wise, and tolerant.

Here is a question that has bugged me for years: what does the Church not do what the Jews do so well — retain the identity and loyalty of “cultural Catholics,” instead of casting them aside on doctrinal picky points, or insistence on a crushing subservience to symbols of priestly authority? The same might be said on so many issues — and especially, on why are there no women priests, given the crisis in replacing the aging priesthood, etc. The argument from a literal reading of scripture holds no water at all, given the history of how the New Testament was edited and assembled. But the slide of the priesthood, and the stubbornness of the Curia, continues.

The Church has so many who admire it, especially at this moment, with a such a progressive and articulate Pope. But the conservatives and literalists among the Curia are destroying the Western Church, in my view. Especially in the USA and Canada, I am often amazed that our bishops sound more like fundamentalist preachers than like the highly educated Jesuit teachers I was taught by, so many years ago.

I have been working on a theoretical level on the nature of deep cognitive and technological changes the world is experiencing at the moment. i think human nature itself is on the table. The church is exactly the kind of institution the world needs as we become inexorably wired closer and closer together, if only it can put some of those ultra-conservative values behind it and focus on coping with the world as it is now (and as it once did, on an heroic scale, back in Counter- Reformation times). We human beings are in very deep trouble and in need of moral leadership. But it won’t come if the Curia keeps sailing on a course of blatant retrograde self-interest.

Pope Francis obviously understands this, but I understand he is running into some pretty vicious resistance. I sincerely hope he can prevail, and implement reform.

Meanwhile, I am trying to fight the pessimistic mood that currently prevails in the English-speaking world, as we see all our empires fade. Our minds need to be clear, above all, to cope with climate change. Unfortunately, technological change is causing a major shift in the way we think and remember — to the point where I am now convinced there is a fourth “cognitive transition” underway. We will increasingly find ourselves at the mercy of forces we have not managed to control, and this time those forces are acting directly on the mind — that is, on the very heart of human nature.

The problem is, our minds are not clear at the moment, because we are hurtling into a new cognitive ecology without any guidance. Just as we are fighting ecological wars on a physical level, we are confronted with the need to battle a changing cognitive ecology as well. Our history suggests that this is a dangerous situation, and possibly a fatal one.

In any case, I am going on too long, and I know you are a very busy person. But do we all have work to do!

My very best regards, in appreciation for your contribution,

Professor Emeritus,
Department of Psychology,
Queen’s University,
Kingston, Ontario,
Canada K7L 3N6​

​So there you have it!

What say?

Why not?


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letter from Ald. Hamilton to Mayor Barrett responding to Barret letter to Common Council about McManus appointment (Barrett letter attached)

February 16, 2018

Dear Mayor Barrett,
No member of this Common Council and no resident of this City is pleased by the scandal that has poured out of the Milwaukee Health Department for the better part of a month. No one who cares for this City would want an agency to be as inert and incapable as the health department apparently was on an issue as important as blood lead levels in children. And no one aware of the fiscal challenges confronting this community would be any less than horrified by the prospect of precious grant funds being taken away because of mismanagement.

This, however, is the crisis to which we have all been brought. As elected officials, we all have a take in seeing this problem resolved to the mutual benefit of all our residents. As this is true, both the content and tone of your February 15, 2018, letter to the Common Council are in no way constructive and border on inappropriate.

Click here for the full statement
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Sat. 2/17/18: Kept Out: Banks Across U.S. Caught Systematically Rejecting People of Color for Home Loans

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WI Department of Health Services Informational meeting regarding a new veteran peer run respite in Milwaukee

The Wisconsin Department of Health Services (DHS) is working on a new program to support veterans and former service members living with mental health and substance use challenges. Known as peer-run respite, this service offers a 24-hour supportive, home-like environment during times of increased stress or symptoms. Overnight stays are short-term, typically no longer than one week. Guests self-refer or choose this service freely. They are empowered to identify the supports they need and develop solutions to help them live their best life. All services are provided at no cost by people trained to listen and provide support who lived through similar life challenges.

The 2017–2019 biennial budget authorizes DHS to offer a grant to one organization to operate a peer-run respite in the Milwaukee area for veterans and former service members, regardless of discharge status.

DHS is hosting a meeting in Milwaukee to provide more information about this service and to learn more about specific needs of veterans and former service members as they might relate to a peer-run respite program in southeastern Wisconsin. We invite you or a representative from your organization to attend.

Informational Meeting: Peer-Run Respite for Veterans
Thursday, March 1, 2018, 10 a.m.−12 p.m.
Room 40, Milwaukee State Office Building
819 North 6th Street, Milwaukee, WI 53203

RSVP to Stacy Ewert at stacy.ewert@dhs.wisconsin.gov or 608–266–0040 by February 26, 2018.

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February 20th is the Spring Primary Election

Mental Health Task Force/ Make It Work Milwaukee Update

February 20th is the Spring Primary Election - don’t forget to vote! Voter participation among people with disabilities has declined over the past two presidential elections – let’s get out the word in the disability community and have a strong turnout.

  • A Spring Election Fact Sheet is posted on the MHTF website and Facebook – you can access it at this link: →http://www.milwaukeemhtf.org/2018/02/15/february-20th-spring-primary-election/ Check it out and please share on social media with others in the mental health/ disability community.

  • What’s on the Ballot?
    • Wisconsin Supreme Court Justice
    • Court of Appeals Judge Districts I and IV, and
    • Circuit Court Judge.
    • Constitutional Amendment to Eliminate Office of State Treasurer
    • Milwaukee County Board of Supervisors
    • Other local races such as, school board, etc.

  • Wanted - Outreach Opportunities: DRW is interested in hearing from you about opportunities where we can provide people with disabilities with voter education, a resource table, or voter registration. Please email me if you have a suggestion.

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Disability Rights Wisconsin (DRW) Informational Session and DRW Board Listening Session Milwaukee

Disability Rights Wisconsin (DRW) is Wisconsin’s protection and advocacy agency for people with developmental, physical, or sensory disabilities and people with mental illness. The DRW Board is holding a listening session in Milwaukee on Friday March 2nd, 2018 at 4:30 PM at the Wisconsin African American Women’s Center, and would like to hear from you.

Come and share your ideas for the future of disability advocacy and the issues that need to be addressed in the areas of mental health, developmental disability, special education, physical disability services, and disability rights. See below and attached for additional information and please spread the word! Everyone is also invited to attend a 4:00 PM informational session about Disability Rights Wisconsin, prior to the listening session.

Accommodations: Sign Language Interpreters will be present. If you need an accommodation or other language interpretation contact Mary Sykes by February 19: mary.sykes@drwi.org or 608–267–0214
Much Appreciation to the Wisconsin African American Women’s Center and Parent University for hosting us and to Delores Sallis—Founder, Parent University—for making this possible.

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Have A Heart for DREAMERS Rally

Valentine’s Day

In front of Paul Ryan’s Office
Wednesday, Feb. 14, 10:00 a.m.

212–6th Street, Racine, WI 53403

Help us deliver Valentines made at the RIC’s Love & Justice Breakfast.


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State Assembly Voting on Welfare Reform Bills February 15th

Mental Health Task Force/ Make It Work Milwaukee Update

As we shared with you previously, Governor Walker called a Special Session on Welfare Reform Legislation. The Governor and members of the Wisconsin legislature have introduced ten bills that will change requirements for people using FoodShare, public housing, Medicaid, and other benefits.

These bills are quickly advancing through the Legislature. The State Assembly plans to vote on the 10-bill package on February 15. See a description of the bills below.

Action Needed
Call your State Legislators to share how people with disabilities and their families will be affected by these bills.

Things to talk about:

  • These bills are moving fast. We should slow down the process to include input from people with disabilities.

  • The bills use different language and definitions to exempt some people with disabilities but not others. People with disabilities may use several different programs and having different definitions will be confusing for people with disabilities and people who work in these programs.

  • These bills also should not apply to people who are caregivers for people with disabilities.

  • These bills will cost millions to administer. This money could be used for other programs to help people get to work.

Here is a link to all of the bills.
You can find your State legislators here.

The 10-bill package includes:

Click here for more information
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Democracy Crumbles Before Our Eyes: Vote!

Sat. 2/10/18: Democracy Crumbles: A Scholar Is Fired For Telling the Truth About White Supremacy and Gun Violence

Sun. 2/4/18: Kimberly-Clark Uses GOP Tax Break to Sucker Punch Wisconsin Workers

Sun. 12/31/17: A Return to Debtors’ Prisons: Jeff Sessions’ War on the Poor

Sun. 12/17/17: https://www.washingtonpost.com/national/health-science/words-banned-at-multiple-hhs-agencies-include-diversity-and-vulnerable/2017/12/16/9fa09250-e29d-11e7-8679-a9728984779c_story.html

Click here for more
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Upcoming MICAH and Partner Events

All are welcome
Mon Feb 12 5:30 Socializing 6:00–7:30 MICAH Board Meeting. Reformation Lutheran 3806 W Lisbon
Wed Feb 14 5:00–6:30 pm MICAH ROC WI (criminal justice) Task Force Meeting. Project RETURN 2821 N. 4th St. Suite 223
Thurs Feb 15 6:30–8:00 pm MICAH Education Task Force. Reformation Lutheran 3806 W Lisbon
Sat Feb 17 8:30–10:30 am MICAH Black History Month Prayer Breakfast (click here for flyer)
Sat Feb 17 6:00 pm 13th: From Slave to Criminal with On Amendment
Sun Feb 18 10:30 am or Tues Feb 21 6:00 pm Building Resiliance for Racial Justice
Tues Feb 20 Spring Primary Election VOTE!
Tues Feb 20 10:30 am Immigration Task Force, Conference Room at Cross Lutheran Church
Thurs Feb 22 5:30–8:00 pm MICAH Issues Night Mt Zion Baptist, 2207 N 2nd St, Potluck 5:30 Meeting 6:00. Find out about MICAH Issue groups! Break out into issue groups and return to report: Criminal Justice Reform, Jobs and Economic Development, Education and Multicultural and Immigration
Wed Feb 28 noon-1:30 Religious Leaders Caucus, location to be announced, NOTE: RLC will begin meeting on the 4th Wed instead of the 1st Wed each month

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Meet the MPD Acting/ Interim Chief Candidates Forum

Mental Health Task Force/ Make It Work Milwaukee Update

Meet and ask questions of the final MPD Acting/Interim Chief Candidates at today’s forum, 5 – 7:30 PM at Mexican Fiesta/Flores Hall 2997 S. 20th. See below for details. Note Assistant Chief Harpole has withdrawn.

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The Bad ADA Bill H.R. 620 - WI Call to Action

Mental Health Task Force/ Make It Work Milwaukee Update

Congress is currently considering a bill, H.R. 620, that would weaken the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), a critical source of rights for people with disabilities to architectural access in public accommodations—that is, businesses such as stores, restaurants, hotels, etc. See below for more information and Wisconsin call to action from the Survival Coalition of Disability Organizations. This bill is moving quickly – action is needed now:

More information on HR 620 is available at this link: https://dredf.org/hr620/

H.R. 620:

  • Removes any incentive for voluntary compliance.

  • Rewards non-compliance by allowing businesses generous additional timelines, even though the ADA’s very reasonable requirements are already over 25 years old! The ADA is already carefully crafted to take the needs of business into account.

  • Pretends that money damages requested from businesses are part of the ADA. Actually, this part of the ADA doesn’t even allow money damages, so changing the federal ADA will not affect any state law money damage provisions;

  • Ignores the extensive, free educational resources already available today to any business on how to comply with the ADA.

  • Ignores the effective & extensive methods already available to courts and state bar associations to deal with a very few frivolous lawsuits or unscrupulous attorneys. We should use those existing legal mechanisms when needed, rather than deny the civil rights established by the ADA that aid people with disabilities every day.

  • Look behind the media myths: The vast majority of ADA attorneys and plaintiffs are seeking solutions to fix real denials of access. But the business community has pushed the media to portray “a few bad apples” as a landslide.

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Parent University Resource Fair February 10th - spread the word!

Mental Health Task Force/ Make It Work Milwaukee

February 10th Resource Fair for Milwaukee Families Who Have a Child or Family Member with a Disability

Parent University is hosting a Resource Fair on Saturday, February 10th from 10 – 5 PM for parents of children and youth with disabilities. In addition to resource tables, the event includes some great speakers, a soul food buffet luncheon, and will also honor Black History Month.

The resource Fair Location is 3020 W. Vliet St, Wisconsin African American Women’s Center
Call or Text 414–208–9410 . parentuniversity41@gmail.com

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Highlights from 2017 so far: The Good News and Pivotal Facts

Tues. 2/6/18: Yes! https://www.theatlantic.com/entertainment/archive/2018/02/looking-beyond-chief-wahoo/552386

Tues. 1/2/18: Orrin Hatch to Retire From Senate, Opening Path for Mitt Romney

Fri:12/29/17 Obama just went mega viral with an important year-end tweet

Thurs. 11/23/17: “Imagining being completely safe from physical harm had done what no experiment had done before — it had turned conservatives into liberals.”

Click here for more good news
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Free Upcoming Advocacy Training in Pewaukee

NAMI Smarts for Advocacy

Never thought of yourself as an advocate?
Want to make a positive change in mental health services?
Want to learn how to best communicate concerning mental health issues to local, state and national politicians and leaders who determine legislation and financial decisions?

Grassroots advocacy is simple; you don’t have to know about policies or politics. It’s about using your voice to influence policy makers and make a difference. Turn your passion and your lived experience into a positive voice for mental health with the NAMI Smarts for Advocacy grassroots advocacy training.

Make a difference. Advocate. Make your voice heard. NAMI Smarts for Advocacy
will enhance your advocacy skills and help you shape a powerful and personal story that will move policymakers.

The NAMI Smarts Difference
NAMI Smarts for Advocacy engages you in hands-on learning to build and strengthen skills.
Whether you are new to advocacy or have years of experience you will leave the training with messages, step-by-step tools and the practice you need to feel informed, confident and ready to make a difference. NAMI Smarts for Advocacy is taught in a day-long training. NAMI WI will be hosting a training March 3 from 9:30 am to 3:30 pm in Pewaukee, WI at the Country Springs Hotel. This is a free training (lunch included) and we encourage you to send NAMI members and those who you believe would be interested in learning how to advocate for Mental Health.

Please sign up and lets be SMART about making a difference. All NAMI Wisconsin members are encouraged to apply. If you’re not already a NAMI member, no worries. We’d be happy to connect you with your local affiliate and though it’s not required we will have membership forms available at the training if you choose to join.

Registration link: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/N9HTQPT
Deadline for signing up is Feb 21st.

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Response to Welfare Reform Bills

Mental Health Task Force / Make It Work Milwaukee Update

Yesterday, the Wisconsin Legislature held a special session to pass Wisconsin Works for Everyone welfare reform legislation authored by Speaker Robin Vos (R – Rochester) and Senator Chris Kapenga (R – Delafield). The Milwaukee Mental Health Task Force worked in coalition with over 60 Wisconsin organizations to review the proposals and identify concerns regarding the impact of some of these proposals on low income people, including people with mental illness and other disabilities and their families.

Because of these concerns, the MHTF Steering Committee agreed to sign on the Milwaukee Mental Health Task Force to a joint letter to Governor Walker and legislators sharing our concerns and our interest in working with legislators to craft alternative proposals that will truly address barriers to work and lead to stable employment and paths out of poverty. See below for a link to the statement and it is also attached. Several disability organizations, including DRW, testified at the hearing. It is our understanding that the bill authors indicated they are looking to clear up the disability exemption language in the bills. The bills use different terms - some use able-bodied with definitions and some without definitions (like the public housing bill), others use “elderly, blind, or disabled.” The bills may be headed to executive session as soon as today.,

Link to Joint Statement on Special Session Bills: http://www.milwaukeemhtf.org/2018/01/31/joint-statement-special-session-bills/

Here is a link to the Governor’s posting regarding these proposals: https://walker.wi.gov/press-releases/wisconsin-works-everyone-governor-walker-calls-special-session-welfare-reform

Several organizations issues Action Alerts regarding these bills. Some links are provided below:

If you want to contact your legislators regarding these proposals, here’s how to find their contact information – go to this link and enter your address in the right hand corner: https://maps.legis.wisconsin.gov/

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Wed. 1/31/18: US Rule of Law Threatened: FBI Warns Of ‘Grave Concerns’ About ‘Accuracy’ Of GOP Snooping Memo

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Survival Coalition Special Education Quality Survey

Mental Health Task Force/ Make It Work Milwaukee Update

Special Education Quality Survey – please share with families

The Survival Coalition of Wisconsin Disability Organizations is conducting a survey about delivery of special education services across Wisconsin. Parents of children with disabilities have important information to share about the quality of their child’s education and preparation for college/career. Wisconsin public schools have not seen an increase in special education funding in more than a decade, yet costs to educate students continue to rise. Disability advocates are working on policy strategies that can better equip public schools to prepare children with disabilities for adult life. The Survival Coalition will be using this information to educate policy makers about the needs of children with disabilities in our public schools.

If you have one or more children with disabilities attending public school in Wisconsin, please participate in this short survey and share widely with other families and organizations. Please complete this survey by March 1, 2018.

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Tues. 1/30/18: Vote Against Tyranny: https://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/post-partisan/wp/2018/01/30/i-dont-know-what-the-hell-happened-michael-steele-on-the-gop-under-trump/?utm_term=.6516294030c9&wpisrc=nl_popns&wpmm=1

Raise your voice against tyranny: http://www.truth-out.org/opinion/item/43379-trump-officials-are-exploring-mass-arrests-of-us-mayors


Vote Against Tyranny: https://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/right-turn/wp/2018/01/30/trump-is-tearing-down-the-fbi-and-the-justice-department-wont-the-gop-stop-him/?utm_term=.caf1bea72904&wpisrc=nl_popns&wpmm=1

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Come to MICAH Prayer Breakfast Feb 17

Saturday Februray 17 ♦ 8:30–10:30 am (Doors open 8)
St Martin de Porres, 128 W Burleigh (rear entrance)
Wheelchair accessible/Off street parking lot available

Speaker: Reggie Jackson
Head Griot, America’s Black Holocaust Museum

Welcoming to MICAH Unitarian Church West Adults $15, Children $10 (ages 5–10 yrs)
Tickets available through congregational reps or MICAH office, 414–264–0805
Download Flyer

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Join the Race to Justice!!!

The Leadership of the Restore Our Communities (ROC Wisconsin) Campaign feels that 2018 is the year when we will make some significant progress in the effort to reform Wisconsin’s Criminal Justice system! We know that work for racial and economic justice is a marathon, but inside that big race the ROC Wisconsin team believes it is time for a sprint! And so we announce the Race to Justice Campaign to raise many voices calling for serious reform and demanding that our broken “corrections” system be addressed by all who want our votes in November.

The first step in the Race to Justice is a series of local training and organizing gatherings. For four hours on a Saturday, we will bring together current ROC leaders, allies, friends and people who want to get involved. We will get clear about some of the many issues; we’ll practice telling our stories and hearing the stories of the people who have been most impacted; we’ll get ourselves organized; and we’ll make plans for the next six months.

After the trainings, we will be doing outreach, and we will have candidate forums for people running for Governor and for the state legislature. We will make presentations and we’ll go door-to door. And, we will join efforts to get everyone in Wisconsin to vote this fall.

The conversation about needed reforms to the justice system is starting to happen on every level. We need to be sure our officials and those who want to represent us understand that significant change is urgently needed regarding Crimeless Revocations, the Parole system, Solitary Confinement, Treatment Alternatives and Diversions, MSDF, and more.

Please plan to attend the Race to Justice training in your area. More details will follow.

Race to Justice Training Events:
The events will be held from 9 am to 1 pm. In some places, there will be an afternoon public event.

  • Wausau area - March 24
  • Southeast Wisconsin - April 7
  • Madison area - April 14
  • Green Bay and the Fox Cities - April 28
  • Eau Claire area - May 5
  • Superior - May 4 (a briefer, evening event)

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National call-in and social media days for community living (fund Money Follows the Person)

The Money Follows the Person (MFP) program is a Medicaid program that has helped more than 75 thousand people with disabilities and seniors move from nursing homes and other institutions to the community. The MFP program has expired, and we need your advocacy to get Congress to pass the EMPOWER Care Act to continue it. Join in our national call-in day (Thursday Feb. 1) and social media day (Friday Feb. 2) to #FundMFP. Everyone deserves the opportunity to live in the community!

Background materials on MFP, the EMPOWER Care Act, and our call-in day are all available at the links above (and from https://medicaid.publicrep.org/feature/money-follows-the-person/). Please spread the word widely to your grassroots and join in our #FundMFP advocacy next week.

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Thurs. 1/25/18: Is this you? Neoliberalism Is Taking a Steep Toll on an Entire Generation’s Mental Health: Study

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Mental Health In the News

Mental Health Task Force / Make It Work Milwaukee Update

We are passing on links to several recent items in the news that relate to concerns for the Mental Health Task Force and many of you may want to communicate to policy makers regarding these concerns.

Aurora Sinai suspends employees after homeless patient is left on sidewalk in Milwaukee

How should Milwaukee provide care when mental illness becomes an emergency?

Family of man who died at the Milwaukee County Mental Health Complex will receive $1.4 million

10 apply to become acting chief of the Milwaukee Police Department

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Another Body Blow to Democracy and Transparency in Wisconsin in the State Senate Today

Today, for the first time in state history (according to the Senate Chief Clerk), appointments subject to confirmation for positions in state government, were rejected without a public hearing. Behind closed and locked doors, talking only among themselves, Wisconsin State Senate Republicans, led by Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald (R-Juneau), voted to reject the appointments of Michael Haas as the Wisconsin Elections Commission Administrator and Brian Bell as the Wisconsin Ethics Commission Administrator.

Their “sin” was that they were employees of the now-dissolved and destroyed, non-partisan Wisconsin Government Accountability Board, which Fitzgerald and Republicans dissolved beginning two years ago because the GAB authorized the completely legal and justified investigation of Governor Scott Walker and others for illegal campaign coordination during the 2011–2012 recall elections. But while they were employees of the GAB, Haas and Bell were not, in any way, involved in the investigation, which was undertaken by five county district attorneys, not by the GAB.

Haas and Bell and the public have not been told why they are being rejected by Fitzgerald and his GOP colleagues other than Fitzgerald said that he and the Republicans are “uncomfortable” with keeping Haas and Bell in their jobs. They have “based” many of their secret reasons for removing Haas and Bell on a wildly inaccurate, hyper-partisan, discredited report released late last year by Wisconsin Attorney General Brad Schimel, the most partisan state attorney general in memory.

No evidence, no charges, no specific examples of misconduct, nothing. Just secret agreement among the members of the majority party in the State Senate to get rid of them both, right before important elections, and replace them, presumably, with sycophants and pawns that the Republicans will dictate what they decide and what the result of their work on elections and ethics will be.

Today’s action is a deliberate attempt to keep Wisconsinites in the dark about what this is really all about.

This is one of the most grotesque abuses of power that has occurred in Wisconsin in its history.

Today will long be remembered as one of the darkest days the Wisconsin Legislature has ever experienced in every sense of that word, dark.

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WISDOM is making a difference!

1) WISDOM held a very successful Forum on Revocations in Madison on January 17. More than 150 WISDOM members over-filled the hall at Grace Episcopal Church, along with eight candidates for Governor and one candidate for Lieutenant Governor.

About 3,000 people are sent to prison each year for Crimeless Revocations, not because they have been convicted of a new crime, but for failure to comply with a rule of supervision. At the Forum, we heard from faith leaders. We heard from experts in public health and sociology. And we heard from the people who have been the victims of the senseless and outdated practice of Crimeless Revocation.

Then, we heard from those who wish to be Governor of Wisconsin. All of them agreed with WISDOM’s position that Wisconsin’s policy and promised serious changes to the system if elected. To read more about the event, click HERE.

2) I also want to remind you to be certain you have added your name to the End Child Poverty Campaign. Already, more than 1,000 Wisconsinites have signed the three-part goal, calling on our state to:

  • Reduce Child Poverty in Wisconsin by half in the next 10 years;
  • Reduce racial disparities in Child Poverty by half in 10 years;
  • Establish a mechanism to do an annual assessment of our progress in reducing Child Poverty.

The End Child Poverty Campaign is something we are doing together with our friends from the Wisconsin Council of Churches, Kids First, and Citizen Action of Wisconsin. It is our belief that before decision-makers will get really serious about poverty, we need as a state to at least agree that it is a priority. Before we start to challenge those in charge, we want to be able to show that there are 10,000 Wisconsinites who want this done.

It is very easy to add your name: just click HERE. And, please ask your friends to do the same.

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Reverend Willie E. Brisco on Navigating Chaos: An Interview

Fall/Winter 2017–18
By Patricia Obletz, Editor

Reverend Willie E. Brisco and I met in 2007. He was the Deputy Superintendent of the Milwaukee County House of Correction and president of the MATC Vocational Scholarship committee I joined. When we reconnected unexpectedly in 2010, Brisco had retired from the county’s prison system, and had become a minister and also president-elect of MICAH, Milwaukee Inner-city Congregations Allied for Hope. This social justice faith-based organization is a satellite of WISDOM, which is the Wisconsin affiliate of Gamaliel, which taught community organizing to Barack Obama. Brisco was elected president of WISDOM after serving two terms at MICAH. He also is President of the African American Leadership Council.

The state of America and, in particular, Wisconsin, dominated the conversation with Reverend Willie E. Brisco, who spoke on the record for Peace Of Mind late fall 2017, commenting on events since in mid-January ‘18.

Without hesitation, Brisco said, “We are in a time of chaos and fighting an undeclared civil war. We are still choosing up sides (and) the issues we’re going to stand behind, and both sides are getting more divided as we go through this negotiation.”

Hate, Capitalism and a King as President

Brisco said that the 45th US president has “unleashed the underbelly of this country” into the public, defying deniability of the fact that this country always has been racially divided, both socially and economically. He said that the president “speaks the language of hate. We are seeing the extremists coming out in all of these mass shootings and killings.”

When asked if hate were a mental illness, Brisco said that “hate is formed in the mind; it has to be cultured and cultivated. Every day you have to wake up and find a reason to oppose somebody and keep that level of anger up there till you really don’t even understand where that hate comes from.”

Asked if hate came from a need to feel superior to someone else to feel ok about one’s life, Brisco said that was a difficult question. “We live in a capitalistic society that’s supposed to be free and democratic. Capitalism maintains America’s power, which breeds ‘we are number one’ thinking. We teach children that in sports, from age one up, you have to be number one. Look at how many billions of taxpayer dollars go to sports facilities — Everyone wants to be number one.

“This thinking goes back to Biblical times when the people worshipped the king and God told them they were going in the wrong direction. The (king) will use you and he will use your products; he will take from your sons and daughters and not give back to them, and you will keep feeding this person forever. We’ve got that now: a king as president.”

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2018 MICAH Visioning Retreat

WHEN: Saturday, January 27, 12:00 to 5:00 PM, starting with lunch

WHERE: Progressive Baptist Church, 84th & Keefe Ave., Rev. Walter Lanier, Pastor

AGENDA: Brief look back over past 30 years of MICAH. Current status, structure, finances, leadership roles. Vision & Goals for the year of 2018. Relationship Building

WHO SHOULD ATTEND: Clergy, Core Team Leaders, Task Force Leaders, MICAH Activists, Representatives of Congregations interested in joining MICAH, People interested in individual membership in MICAH, Two or three representatives from each member congregation.

RSVP: Progressive Baptist Church, 414–462–9050

FOR MORE INFORMATION: Rev. Marilyn Miller, President, 414–617–4907

Rev. Walter Lanier, Religious Leaders Caucus Chair, 414–690–2520
Lee Henderson Tatum, Vice President, 414–873–8704

“These four girls call all of us—black and white alike—to substitute courage for caution in our ongoing struggle for justice,” From Martin Luther King’s sermon at the funeral of three of the four girls killed in the bombing of the 16th St. Baptist Church, Birmingham, Alabama, September 15, 1963

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National Drug and Alcohol Facts Week

Red is the national color for substance abuse awareness - and in the coming week, you’ll be seeing more of it all around Milwaukee County.

The Light & Unite Red Committee, a community-wide prevention committee led by the Milwaukee County Behavioral Health Division (BHD), will present National Drug and Alcohol Facts Week (NDAFW) January 22–28 - with community-wide events coordinated throughout the County. This national health observance week aims to increase awareness about substance use among teens by using facts to shatter the myths about drugs and alcohol that teens learn from the internet, social media, TV, movies, music or from friends.

During NDAFW, schools and youth organizations will encourage their students to wear red, host related activities including haiku and trivia contests, quizzes, bingo games, and encourage use of new SnapChat filters and hashtags for teens to share facts with friends. Locally, the Light & Unite Red Committee will host several free community events.

Here are some ways you can get involved in next week’s events:

  • Tune in live to TMJ4, January 23 from 4–7 p.m. for our phone bank, where we’ll be answering anonymous callers’ questions about substance abuse. Encourage friends, family and colleagues who might have questions to call in!

  • Get your tickets and encourage others to attend the film screening of “Written Off at the Oriental Theater, Thursday, January. 25 at 7 p.m. This award-winning feature film illustrates a Wisconsin man’s struggles with opioid use, cataloged through pages in his journal. A talk-back discussion with behavioral health experts will follow the screening. Secure your FREE tickets at writtenoffmke.eventbrite.com - and encourage your networks to do the same!

  • Participate in Light & Unite Red Day on Friday, January 26. Join us raising awareness about the dangers of substance abuse by encouraging your staff to wear red or light your building red - the national color for substance abuse awareness. You’ll join the Milwaukee Bucks McKinley Health Center, General Mitchell Airport, Schlitz Park, US Bank and others in doing so. Request a red light bulb by emailing nzinga.khalid@milwaukeecountywi.gov.

  • Spread the word about our Parent & Teen Resource Fair, at Southridge Mall on Saturday, January 27, 10 a.m.−3 p.m. Download and print our flyer here or share our Facebook Event link with your networks.

  • Follow and use our hashtag #LightUniteRed all week on social media as you engage in the week’s activities and post pictures at events that you attend.

Together, we can connect more teens and their parents to vital resources related to substance use prevention, treatment and recovery. Thank you for your continued partnership and commitment to our community. I hope to see you at a number of next week’s events. For additional information on National Drug and Alcohol Facts Week and for a full list of events and partners, visit lightunitered.org.

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Women’s March Milwaukee

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Upcoming MICAH Events

MICAH FORWARD! Saturday January 27, Noon – 5:00 p.m. Includes lunch, Progressive Baptist Church, 8324 W Keefe Ave. Join this opportunity to revision and reshape our organization and work as we transition into new leadership. We will share our history, review our structures and responsibilities, and begin planning and strategizing for the future. We need as many as possible to be there. Contact Rev. Lanier at wjlanier@gmail.com by Thursday Jan. 25. with the food count for yourself/others from your congregation, synagogue, or mosque. If you have special dietary needs, please feel free to bring your own lunch as we cannot provide specialized lunches.

MICAH’s Black History Month Breakfast, Saturday February 17, 8:30 – 10:30 a.m. (Doors open 8:00), St. Martin de Porres Catholic Church, 3114 N. 2nd St. Speaker: Mr. Reggie Jackson of America’s Black Holocaust Museum, Head Griot, Full Breakfast, Speaker, Award, Welcoming New MICAH Congregation, Tickets $10 for children 12 and under, $15 for 13 and up.

MICAH Issues Night Thursday February 22, 5:30 – 8:00 p.m. Mt. Zion Baptist Church, 2207 N. 2nd St.Potluck at 5:30 p.m. Bring something to share, Meeting Begins at 6:00 Joint Prayer, Introductions, Purpose, Break out into Issue Groups, Return to Report Next Steps and Actions, Topics/Groups: Criminal Justice Reform, Jobs and Economic Development, Education, Multicultural and Immigration.

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#CLOSEmsdf Campaign Coalition Update

Several members of the #CLOSEmsdf Coalition including Reggie Jackson and Jaime Alvarado of Rid Racism Milwaukee, Rev. Suzelle Lynch of Black Lives Matter to WI Unitarian Universalists, Lisa Jones of UBLAC, and Marilyn Washington have recently joined EXPO Radio. Visit http://www.riverwestradio.com/show/expo-ex-prisoners-organizing/ to listen to these shows.

Here is the link to the Facebook page for the meeting. Please share it widely.

WISDOM EXPO FORUM ON REVOCATIONS: Visit https://www.facebook.com/events/412707219145592/ for information.

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Free NAMI Class in Milwaukee for Family Members of Persons with Mental Illness

Free Multi-Week Class Educates Family Members of Persons with Mental Illness. Learn about the different diagnoses and how to advocate for your loved one! Class meets Tuesdays Starting January 16th.

“This course overall was the single most, without a doubt, helpful and informative thing ever offered in all my years searching for answers… It has helped me to understand better and communicate more effectively with my brother.”

12-week classes meet Tuesdays from 6–8:30 p.m. at the NAMI Office, 3200 S. 3rd St. Milwaukee.

Aaron Arteaga
NAMI Greater Milwaukee, 3200 S.3rd Street, Unit 6, Milwaukee, WI 53207

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WPA Presents- Eating Disorders Presentation at Mount Mary University 2/28/18

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A statement from the Community Coalition for Quality Policing on Chief Edward Flynn’s Retirement

Milwaukee, WI: Per today’s announcement of Milwaukee Police Chief Edward Flynn, the Community Coalition for Quality Policing (CC4QP) provides the following statement:

“The coalition members of the Community Coalition for Quality Policing (CC4QP) thank Chief Edward Flynn for his ten years of service to Milwaukee and looks forward to working with the Milwaukee Fire and Police Commission in the evaluation and selection of our city’s next Chief of Police. CC4QP is committed to working with all stakeholders to improve public safety in Milwaukee and to ensuring mutual respect between members of law enforcement and those in the community they serve.”

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On Lincoln Hills

Last week Governor Walker announced a plan for future reforms in our adult and juvenile corrections systems. Essentially, it would be to close down the troubled Lincoln Hills and Copper Lake juvenile facilities, and to convert them into an adult facility that would specialize in AODA treatment. This would help alleviate the backlog of people awaiting AODA treatment in the system, many of whom would become eligible for early release if they get it. It would also relieve some overcrowding in the prisons, meaning we could stop talking abut building a new prison and maybe start talking about closing one. The Governor’s plan also calls for building smaller facilities for youth in several places in the state; a plan about which we have some questions.

The Governor’s plan for converting Lincoln Hills into a treatment center is a good one, and one that is urgently needed. Unfortunately, he doesn’t intend to do it until after the 2019 budget process! Why should the state wait two more years to do something we can and should do now?

The good news is that we don’t have to wait. The plan the Governor announced has already been proposed and is written into legislation that is pending in the State Assembly.

On November 29th, 2017 Rep. Evan Goyke conducted a legislative policy briefing on the Wisconsin prison system at the State Capitol. In that briefing, he proposed the very thing that Governor Walker spoke in favor of last week.

You can find Rep. Goyke’s analysis and plan, called Inmate 501, here. A video of the presentation may be found here.

We should not wait to close Lincoln Hills and convert it into a treatment center. There is bipartisan agreement that it needs to be done, and there is a plan already in place. Instead of waiting two years, we need to call on Representatives Schraa and Hutton, and the Assembly Corrections Committee, to hold hearings on Assembly Bill 791, see it [[hhttp://org2.salsalabs.com/dia/track.jsp?v=2&c=Uas7LzVYCC0Yqo7%2BOJVYUrNycLsE0Nk%2F | here, and move the process forward quickly.

There will be more on this in the future. In the meantime, please don’t forget EXPO/WISDOM’s Hearing on Revocations:

Wednesday, January 17

12:00 - 2:00
Grace Episcopal Church, 112 W. Washington St., Madison.

Seven candidates for Governor and one candidate for Lieutenant Governor have committed to attending and learning about the problem of Crimeless Revocations in Wisconsin, and stating how they would handle it.
Click here to find WISDOM’s extensive report on Crimeless Revocations.
Click here to download the Executive Summary.
Click here to download personal stories by victims of Wisconsin’s unjust revocations policy.

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Converging Crises in Wisconsin Adult and Juvenile Prisons

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Governor Walker Announces Plan to Provide a Long-Term Solution for Wisconsin’s Juvenile Corrections and Treatment Systems

Mental Health Task Force/ Make It Work Milwaukee Update

Earlier today Governor Walker released the statement below regarding plans to close the Lincoln Hills and Copper Lakes juvenile facilities and shift to a model of smaller regional facilities. The Mental Health Task Force has been deeply concerned about these troubled facilities which serve so many youth with mental health needs, including many Milwaukee area youth. We will continue to share more details as they become available.

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January 9th meeting to feature Chief Judge Maxine White

Milwaukee Mental Health Task Force – January 9th meeting Announcement

Please join us for the January 9th meeting of the Milwaukee Mental Health Task Force, Tuesday, January 9th, from 3 – 5 PM at IndependenceFirst, 540 S. 1st St. The meeting will include a special update from Chief Judge Maxine White on the work the Community Justice Council is leading to divert people with mental illness from the criminal justice system.

Note: Please arrive early to allow time for parking so we can start on time. You may need to park on the street.

Our agenda will include the following:

1. A key Milwaukee Mental Health Task Force priority is supporting policies to divert people with mental illness from the criminal justice system, and connect them with services and supports to advance recovery. Our January meeting will feature an update on these efforts from leadership of the Milwaukee Community Justice Council including the MacArthur Foundation Safety and Justice Challenge.

Special guest speakers include Milwaukee Community Justice Council Chair Chief Judge Maxine White and Chief Deputy District Attorney for Milwaukee County Kent Lovern. Other members of the CJC leadership team will also be in attendance and available to answer questions. Don’t miss this opportunity to hear from community leaders. The meeting will include time for a few questions – we will collect these on index cards to maximize the time for addressing questions.

Link to the CJC website: http://milwaukee.gov/cjc

2. Our Diversity Committee “Something to Think About” initiative will feature small group discussion of key questions including the impact racism has on mental health and on access to services, cultural barriers to providing or receiving services, and more – see attached survey and questions for more detail. If you did not complete the survey yet, we would value your input. Use the Survey monkey link or complete the paper copy and submit at the January meeting.

3. Policy updates on county, state and federal issues.

Reminder: There are several openings on the Mental Health Task Force Steering committee. Service on the Steering Committee is a leadership role and requires previous participation in the Milwaukee Mental Health Task Force. The Steering Committee plays a leadership role in helping to support the work of the Task Force including helping to guide and implement advocacy and programmatic priorities. If you are passionate about advancing the quality of mental health and substance use disorder services in our community, please consider applying to participate in this important work. The application form is attached.

Environmental/Chemical Sensitivities: For the safety and comfort of those with chemical sensitivities, IndependenceFirst requests that people visiting our agency, refrain from using any perfumed products and not smoke near the building.

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Sun. 12/31/17: DOJ Confirms Disparity Traffic Stops by MKE police: https://www.wjiinc.org/blog/doj-report-confirms-racial-disparity-in-traffic-stops

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Mon. 12/18/17: Resist: https://www.alternet.org/right-wing/heres-how-trump-pitting-local-police-against-fbi

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ForwardHealth — MA reimbursement rates for outpatient substance use disorder and mental health services

Mental Health Task Force/ Make It Work Milwaukee Update

The Wisconsin Department of Health Services has issued a Forward Health update, regarding the Increased Reimbursement and Changes to Claims Submission Requirements for Outpatient Behavioral Health Services. The Mental Health Task Force has advocated for increased rates for outpatient services so it is encouraging to see this move forward – see the link below for details.


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Expert Tells the Truth About Google

Jeff Chester, a foremost, longtime expert on consumer protection and digital privacy as Director of the Center for Digital Democracy, makes crystal clear the impact that Google is having on AlterNet and progressive media:

“AlterNet is on the frontlines battling new forms of online censorship promoted by Google. To please its most powerful global advertisers, Google has changed its business practices in order to ‘sanitize’ content—creating what it calls a ‘brand-safe’ environment. As a result, independent, diverse and controversial expression is being punished—exiled into a digital twilight world designed not to provoke Google’s key advertisers. Instead of supporting access to more information and alternative views, Google is further aligning itself with deep-pocketed corporations who don’t support robust journalism—let alone political dissent.

Please help AlterNet fight this new digital ‘blacklist’ that further undermines the democratic potential of the internet. We can’t let Google determine—merely to bolster its bottom line—our ability to access the content we need to keep the powerful global elite accountable.”

Ed. Note: Given the loss of net neutrality, Google, Att et al now have a license to bury the truth.

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Let’s Build a Movement to End Child Poverty in Wisconsin!

Today, WISDOM and its partners are calling on people across Wisconsin to sign on to a new Campaign to end child poverty in Wisconsin.

Over 200,000 kids in Wisconsin live in poverty:

  • African American kids are almost 5x more likely to be poor;
  • Latino kids are 3x more likely to be poor;
  • Native American kids are 4x more likely 
to be poor;
  • The poverty rate for our African American kids is 8% above the national average for black child poverty. 

To learn more about this Campaign, and to sign your name as part of the movement to end child poverty in Wisconsin, go to http://www.endchildpovertywi.org/.

You can help us create moral outrage about the disgrace of child poverty in Wisconsin:

  • View a compelling PowerPoint presentation and share it with your friends: http://www.endchildpovertywi.org/our_presentation;

  • Arrange to have a presentation given at your house of worship or to your community group. Contact us: wisdomforjustice@gmail.com.

WISDOM President Rev. Willie Brisco has said, “Childhood should be a time of wonder and possibility. Children raised in poverty are less likely to see the world as an great adventure, and more likely to see it as a grim struggle for survival. As people of faith, we believe every child should have the chance to grow into the great person God created her to be.”

This effort is a joint project of WISDOM, the Wisconsin Council of Churches, Kids Forward (formerly, the Wisconsin Council on Children and Families), and the Citizen Action of Wisconsin Education Fund.

Please go to the website, add your name, and encourage your friends to do the same. Our first goal is to bring a list of 10,000 signers when we approach our elected leaders to demand that ending child poverty be a goal for Wisconsin.

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We’re breaking the internet

We need your help to break the internet.

In just two days, the FCC will vote to repeal Net Neutrality and destroy the fundamental protection of the free and open internet.

The only thing that can stop them is an overwhelming public outcry. So today, we are joining a massive effort alongside major websites like Etsy and Pinterest, to break the internet with a massive show of support for Net Neutrality.

All day today, we’ll be making noise about Net Neutrality on social media and asking you to contact your members of Congress—take action instantly by clicking here.

This is our last chance to show our elected officials that we are against FCC Chairman Ajit Pai’s plan to give corporations massive power over how and what we access online.

Losing Net Neutrality will hurt every single one of us — except the rich corporations like Comcast and Verizon that will make billions.

They want to control which websites we visit, limit access speeds, and charge extra fees for using websites like Facebook or Netflix.

This move will stifle historically marginalized communities and new grassroots movements empowered through online organizing. And everyone will lose out on a vital component of our 21st century democracy — the free and open internet.

With your help, we won’t let it happen. Take action and help show your support for Net Neutrality right now.

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Mon. 12/11/17: “Department of Corrections that wields incredible powers to detain and oversee the detention process promulgated the rules; not the legislature- an embodiment of the peoples’ will.”

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Be on the Ground Floor of a Movement! December 14

Thursday will be an important day as we launch the “End Child Poverty” Campaign across the state of Wisconsin!

Thursday, December 14: 6:30 - 7:30pm
Marquette University Alumni Memorial Union Ballroom, 1442 W Wisconsin Avenue, Milwaukee

Help us get 10,000 people to sign on to a movement that calls for the state of Wisconsin to adopt a 3-part goal:

  • To reduce child poverty in Wisconsin by half in the next 10 years;
  • To reduce racial disparities in child poverty in that same time;
  • To adopt evidence-based means of measuring our progress, complete with an annual report.

WISDOM and our partners from Wisconsin Citizen Action, the Wisconsin Council of Churches, and Kids Forward (formerly the WI Council on Children and Families), will launch the “End Child Poverty” Campaign with events across the state on December 14.

There will be a LOT more information coming your way on Thursday. Join us at Marquette for this exciting moment, as the people of Wisconsin begin to demand that our state put its priorities where they belong!

Download a flier here to share with your contacts.
View the event here on Facebook.

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Call to Action: Mothers in Chains

For many of us in the Christian tradition, we are in the time of Advent - the time of getting ready for the celebration of Jesus’ birth.

This is an appropriate time to ask you to help out in an effort that is being led by the Religious Leaders’ Caucus of MOSES in Madison. They call the campaign, “Mothers in Chains.” It is an attempt to get Wisconsin to join the growing list of states that outlaw the shackling of pregnant women, women giving birth, and women who have recently given birth. This seems like something that a civilized society should have outlawed long ago.

You can see a lot of good information at this page on the MOSES website: http://mosesmadison.org/mothers-in-chains-wisconsins-shame/

As you will see, there is a bill being considered in the State Senate, which has bipartisan support, and which is expected to be voted on in January. Unfortunately, some Senators want to water down the bill so that it only pertains to women who are actually in labor. While that helps with the most extreme abuse, there is still no reason for women late in a pregnancy, to be chained hand and foot to go for a doctor’s appointment, or for women to be chained soon after giving birth.

We can make a difference on this. What better thing to do for Advent than to call your state representative and senator and ask them to pass this bill without watering it down.

Please take a moment to see all the excellent material on the MOSES site, and please pass this request along to others. To find your legislators: http://legis.wisconsin.gov/.

Thank you.

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Milwaukee Mental Health Task Force – December 12 meeting

Please join us for the December 12 meeting of the Milwaukee Mental Health Task Force:

Meeting Details: Tuesday December 12, 3 – 5 PM
IndependenceFirst, 540 S. 1st st.

Our agenda will include the following:

  • Panel on Mental Health Consumer/Client Rights. Panel members include Sherrie Bailey-Holland, Milwaukee County BHD Client Rights Specialist; Attorney Shirin Cabraal, Disability Rights Wisconsin; and Attorney Milton Childs, State Public Defenders Office. Bring your questions and please share this information with peers – all are welcome to attend.

  • MHTF Diversity Committee update and survey, Terri Ellzey, Chair

  • Learn about Warmline, Inc., a non-crisis, support line for people dealing with mental health or substance abuse challenges

  • Policy updates including the Milwaukee County Mental Health Board and the process for reviewing proposals to contract for inpatient care. A reminder that The Mental Health Board Joint Task Forces on Local Public/Private Partnership and National Entity Partnership is meeting this Thursday, December 7th at 11:30 AM at the Mental Health Complex – see yesterday’s email for details. The agenda and meeting packet can be viewed at at http://county.milwaukee.gov/BehavioralHealthDivi7762/Mental-Health-Board/2017-MHB-Meeting-Info—Documents.htm

  • Steering Committee Openings. We will be circulating an application for open positions for At Large members to serve on the Mental Health Task Force Steering committee.

  • Update from the Mental Health Task Force Advocacy Work Group on next steps with expanding advocacy capacity. All are welcome to attend our meeting this Friday at 2 PM at DRW!

  • Announcements

Save the date for our January 9th meeting which will include an update from the Community Justice Council and the McArthur Safety and Justice Challenge

‘’Environmental/Chemical Sensitivities: For the safety and comfort of those with chemical sensitivities, IndependenceFirst
requests that people visiting our agency, refrain from using any perfumed products and not smoke near the building.’‘

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Table of the Saints Public Discussion

“Don’t Talk at the Dinner Table”

Public Discussion on Mental Health: Panel Discussion and Breakout Panels

Aurora Sinai Medical Center, 915 N. 12th Street, Milwaukee, Wisconsin 53233
Saturday, December 9, 2017 12:00 noon – 4:00 pm.

James Causey, Moderator
Panelist Include:
Kenneth Ginlack MSW
Clem Richardson, MS
Alfonzo Watkins, MS
Dr. Patricia McManus
Mr. John Schmid, Journal Sentinel Reporter

Presented By Milwaukee Journal Sentinel and Table of the Saints, Inc.
Sponsors: Aurora Sinai Medical Center and Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

12:00 –12:30 Snacks
12:30 – 1:20 Introduction of panelist by James Causey/ Panel Discussion begins
1:30 – 1:45 Participants will take ACE study
1:45 – 1:55 ACE Mr. John Schmid, Reporter
2:00 – 2:45 ACE discussion w McManus and Richardson

Childhood Trauma w Watkins and Ginlac

2:45 – 2:55 Break
2:55 – 3:45 Session 2 What is Good Mental Health? Watkins and Ginlac
3:45 – Aurora spokesman/Journal Sentinel Editor George Stanley speaks on 50 year Ache project

The idea stems from the Table of the Saints expanding and improving upon our aftercare of the residents of TOTS Family House and those in the community with whom we mentor and participate in rebuilding the moral compass.

While mentoring, coaching and counseling those we serve we’ve found there to be a deficit when they themselves try to articulate their reason for using drugs or straying from recovery and treatment. A major issue has been them having received certificates of completion for AODA programs and a commitment of going to NA or AODA meetings they didn’t fully understand addiction, recovery and mental Health.

December 25, 2017 we will celebrate two years of our Sober Living House that we fondly call “TOTS House”. We celebrate eight years of the bible study group, we recently celebrated five years as a faith based nonprofit organization here in the city of Milwaukee, WI.

“Let’s Talk About It”
Continuing the conversation on the myths surrounding addition, recovery and mental health.

2nd Wednesday’s of each month
Welford Sanders Enterprise Center, 2821 n. 4th Street, 1st Floor Conference Room Milwaukee, WI. 53212
6:00 pm – 8:00 pm
Light Snacks and Beverage

Table of the Saints, Inc.
2821 N. 4th Street, suite 236 Milwaukee, WI. 53212
Tableofthesaints2009@gmail.com 414–374–8029 Ext. 307

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Driving while black in Milwaukee has real ticket, arrest consequences

MPD’s strategy for high-crime areas results in more tickets for, arrests of black drivers, study shows
Despite bearing the bulk of the burden of traffic stops by police targeting high-crime areas, African-American drivers in Milwaukee were no more likely to be ticketed or arrested than their white counterparts, according to a Department of Justice draft report.

Arrests were made in just 2% of traffic stops of African-American drivers, the same rate as for white and Hispanic drivers, according to the draft report.

Because so many more black drivers were stopped, however, the actual number arrested - 6,247 from 2013 to 2015 - was the highest among the three groups. There were 1,216 Hispanics and 1,920 whites arrested after traffic stops over the same time period. Read more…

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Support is Building for Alternatives to Incarceration: Show YOUR support!

Counties around the state are considering resolutions calling for the state to increase Treatment Alternatives and Diversions (TAD) funding by $15 million per year. TAD is a state program that gives grants to counties so they can implement or expand programs for people with addictions and/or mental health issues. The program has been extensively studied, and has shown that every $1 spent on TAD saves taxpayers $2 in incarceration costs. Not only that, people who participate in TAD programs are less likely to commit another crime than people who spend time in jail or prison.

TAD saves money and keeps us safer: seems like a common sense way to invest money!

That is what County Boards around the state are saying. This week, three County Supervisors in Madison who have worked with MOSES (the WISDOM affiliate there) to craft a resolution calling for the state to increase TAD funding by $15 million. At least six other counties are looking to do the same thing.

As our state looks for ways to invest in the well-being of its people, a maximum investment in TAD makes a lot more sense than planning for new prisons. Before committing hundreds of millions for new prisons, our state should first put $15 million more into TAD. It can help Wisconsin stay in step with other states, both “red” and “blue” (like Texas, Michigan and New Jersey) that are closing prisons every year, and are watching their crime rates drop as they do.

To find out if your County Board is helping to promote a TAD increase, or to get involved in the campaign to reduce Wisconsin’s prison population, contact us at wisdomforjustice@gmail.com.

Thank you.

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Senate vote on tax bill this week: national day to call Senators Wednesday Nov. 29th

U.S. Senators need to hear directly from constituents about how the proposed tax bills will affect people with disabilities and their families.

The Senate could vote on this bill as early as this Thursday (11/30) or Friday (12/1).

A national call-in day for on the Senate tax cut bill has been organized for people with disabilities, families, and advocates around the country on Wednesday, Nov. 29th. You can RSVP and invite friends using the Facebook event.

National Advocates say the bill will hurt people with disabilities because:

  • The bill increases the federal deficit by $1.5 trillion. This means that the federal government is not collecting enough money to pay for existing programs and services (like Medicaid—which funds Family Care, IRIS, BadgerCare, Children’s Long Term Supports, the ForwardHealth Card and other Wisconsin programs).

  • National advocates are very concerned that tax cuts, which reduce the amount of money the government has to spend, will result in cutting Medicaid, Medicare, Social Security and other programs and services that help people with disabilities.

  • It eliminates tax deductions and credits—including the Rare Disease Tax Credit—that help people with disabilities work, access housing, and get medication.

  • It gets rid of Affordable Care Act’s requirement that everyone have health insurance. This will cause premiums for people with disabilities and pre-existing conditions to increase, leaving health insurance unaffordable for millions.

Suggested Action Steps
Call Senators Johnson (202) 224–5323 and Baldwin (202) 224–5653 and:

  • Share your concerns about how the current tax proposals could cut Medicaid and other programs you care about and use.

  • Share your concerns about how repealing the requirement for all people to purchase health insurance may cause premiums to rise, more people to become uninsured, and result in fewer choices of insurers in some areas.

  • If you or your family member has a rare disease, tell your Senators and Representative how this credit has or could impact quality of life for people with rare diseases.

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ALERT: Tax bill talking points and action steps

As families around the country prepare to gather with loved ones for the Thanksgiving holiday, the House passed a tax bill that would threaten the health and economic security of many low-income and middle-class families.

This Thanksgiving, talk turkey about taxes! It’s not too late to protect our health care and our families. Here’s what you can do:

1. Contact your Senators today to tell them not to sacrifice Americans’ healthcare to give tax cuts to the wealthy.

  • Reach any Senator through the Senate switchboard at (202) 224–3121, or
  • Use this toll-free number set up by Service Employees International Union (SEIU): 866–426–2631

2. Talk to your family and friends about what this tax bill does:

  • Increases the deficit by almost $2 TRILLION
  • Immediately cuts Medicare by $25 billion
  • Sets up future trillion dollar cuts to Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security to pay for the tax cuts and fix the deficit
  • Ends the medical expense deduction – hurting at least 4.5 million people with incomes less than $75,000
  • Increases taxes for 47% of families with children

Download the “Talk Turkey About Taxes” flier produced by the Medicare Rights Center and Center for Medicare Advocacy.

Share the flier with family and friends and start a conversation about the tax bill and how we can protect our care and financial well-being.

Download flier.

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Three ways Congress’s tax cut bill could impact people with disabilities

Both the U.S. House and Senate are working on bills that would make changes to how much taxes people pay, and would lower the amount of money collected (revenue) from taxpayers.

The Tax legislation would eliminate two existing tax credits important to people with disabilities and their families. Under the bills, the government would collect far less tax money than it needs to maintain the current level of spending on Medicaid and other programs that help people with disabilities.

The House may vote as early as this Thursday (November 16th) on their tax bill, with the Senate to follow in the next couple weeks.

House tax bill eliminates the Medical expense credit

When a person has medical expenses greater than 10% of their adjusted gross income, they can use this tax credit. 9 million households took this deduction, and it can be crucial for families covering expenses not covered by insurance, high out-of-pocket medical costs, or paying for nursing home costs. Older adults with high cost medical needs, people with disabilities and chronic medical conditions, and families with children who have high cost medical needs and disabilities benefit from the credit. (More about this tax credit)

Both tax bills eliminate the Rare disease credit

This credit reimburses drug developers for half of their research costs on treatments meant for rare diseases. Supporters say this credit is one of several incentives that have led to the approval of more than 500 new and much-needed drugs for those rare diseases that each affect fewer than 200,000 people. (More about this tax credit)

Both bill’s large tax cuts threaten Medicaid

Both tax bills increase the federal deficit by $1.5 trillion. This means that the federal government is not collecting enough money to pay for existing programs and services (like Medicaid—which funds Family Care, IRIS, BadgerCare, Children’s Long Term Supports, the ForwardHealth Card and other Wisconsin programs). National advocates are very concerned that tax cuts, which reduce the amount of money the government has to spend, will result in cutting Medicaid and other programs and services that help people with disabilities.
National advocates point to both the President’s and House budget, which include more than $1 Trillion dollars from Medicaid specifically. The tax bill would add another $1.5 trillion gap in funding, and analysts identify Medicaid spending as one of the likely targets for additional cuts.

Suggested Action Steps
Call Senators Johnson (202) 224–5323 and Baldwin (202) 224–5653 and your Congressional Representative. Milwaukee area representatives are: Congresswoman Gwen Moore at 202–225–4572, Congressman Paul Ryan at (202) 225–3031, or Congressman Jim Sensenbrenner at (202) 225–5101

  • Share your concerns about how the current tax proposals could cut Medicaid and other programs you care about and use.

  • If you or your family member has a rare disease, tell your Senator and Representative how this credit has or could result in a better quality of life for people with rare diseases.

  • If you or your family uses the Medical Expense Credit, tell your Representative how this credit benefits you and what it would mean to you if it was no longer an option.

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Last edited by an anonymous user of Milwaukee Renaissance.   Page last modified on February 18, 2018

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