Need a ride to vote? You can ride with us!

It’s time to vote, Milwaukee!

Election 2014 is here, and Citizen Action of Wisconsin is here to help you get to the polls. If you need a ride to early vote or to vote on Election Day, please call or email us today!

Early Vote: Monday, 10/20/14 - Friday, 10/31/14, from 8am-7pm
Election Day: Tuesday, 11/4/2014

Our Milwaukee Ride-2-Vote hotline is 414–852–3245, or you can email us at ride2vote@citizenactionwi.org.

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

Fri. 10/24/14: Ignorance on parade:

and

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Getting Ready to Enroll: Health Insurance Marketplace 101 Webinar

Wednesday, October 29, 2014 | 3 p.m. Eastern Time

Get ready to apply for health care coverage. Open enrollment in the Health Insurance Marketplace starts on November 15, 2014, with coverage available as early as January 1, 2015. This presentation will discuss how to enroll in the Marketplace, key websites, and resources on the health care law, and will provide an overview of life events that could make you eligible for new health care coverage. We will also discuss how to host an enrollment event. Questions will be answered at the end of the webinar.

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Democracy Crumbles Before Our Eyes: Vote November 4, 2014

Thurs. 10/23/14: Do you really think women are 2nd class citizens?

and

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Walker Snubs Local School Boards

Governor Walker’s Snub of the WASB and the Children They Represent

As a citizen school board member from South Milwaukee I am insulted and embarrassed—for my constituents and the children in my district—by the refusal of our incumbent Governor to talk about our shared core value of public education.

School board members across Wisconsin rely on the nonpartisan Wisconsin Association of School Boards (WASB) to bring us up to date on information about current issues through our magazine, Wisconsin School News. The October issue in an election year includes a section comparing and contrasting the views of the gubernatorial candidates.

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October 20th County Budget Hearing

The Milwaukee County Board of Supervisors Finance, Personnel and Audit Committee is holding a public hearing on the budget on Monday October 20th. Please consider attending and speaking about our budget priorities. Also save the date for the November 3rd 6:30 PM Milwaukee County Board Public Hearing on the Budget to be held at the Art Museum.

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Pink House Benefit

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

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Walker Stumbles Badly

We review a bad week for Scott Walker, including: Walker stumbling badly in a TV interview trying to explain away insurance industry’s influence on his BadgerCare Decision; Walker saying he doesn’t believe the minimum wage “serves a purpose”; and a tied Marquette poll. We also discuss last week’s Supreme Court decision to block voter ID, Judge Randa’s latest disastrous decision on campaign coordination, and new revelations that Wisconsin taxpayers have paid millions to private schools that were later barred from the state’s voucher system.
LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD PODCAST #166

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A Matter of Faith: Who sits at the Welcome Table?

Rev. Juianne Lepp, Religious Leader Caucus member of JONAH, has a fine reflection in the Eau Claire Leader-Telegraph. She writes, “when talking about a large subject like poverty and homelessness, it is easy to become overwhelmed and feel helpless to change anything”. But then she reminds us that when we work with interfaith groups like JONAH, we can make a difference.

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On the Culture of Racism with Barbara Becker, Esq.

Barbara Becker, Esq., might best be known for her elder law practice, for which she’s received a wall of award plaques. Two of them are for the Marquette Law School Journal 2008 Achievement Recognition Award and the 2009 Coalition of Wisconsin Aging Groups Activist of the Year Award. She recently retired from practicing law, but has no plans to retire from her lifelong passion to help improve life for people endangered by reckless pursuits of profit at the expense of the environment, and by savage pursuits of minority groups at the expense of human and civil rights.

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Gov. Walker says minimum wage laws “don’t serve a purpose”

“I don’t think it serves a purpose” – Gov. Scott Walker on Minimum Wage Laws

Scott Walker doesn’t care about people who work for a living. Today, Gov. Walker further showed his hostility towards laws that protect workers from abuse on the job. When asked about the minimum wage at a panel discussion with members of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Scott Walker said, “I don’t think it serves a purpose.” Watch the video here.

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Open letter to our community

We Energies wants us to pay $16 each month before we even turn on a light. That means this unfair billing proposal will force our families to pay close to $100 dollars more each year in fixed fees, this is not acceptable.

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Kevin Kane: Join Me At Tomorrows Debate on Badger Care At MU

I hope you can join me tomorrow afternoon at Marquette University as I debate the question of BadgerCare and referendums in the Nursing School against Professor John McAdams, and it will be moderated by Bruce Murphy, editor of Urban Milwaukee!

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Workers mobilizing to defeat Scott Walker

VOTER ID UPDATE: On Thursday, Oct. 9, the U.S. Supreme Court blocked Scott Walker’s photo ID law from going into effect. The decision means that voters WILL NOT have to show photo ID when voting

Join our efforts! Canvass and phone bank volunteer locations are rocking around the state. We can provide a short training and all the materials you need to go door-to-door and make phone calls.

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Sharing Images Inspired By Grace Lee Boggs

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

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

I would very much appreciate learning of some of your favorite Grace vision concepts
and permission to share them at http://www.milwaukeerenaissance.com/GraceLeeBoggs/HomePage

  • We are the leaders we’ve been waiting for

  • Freedom schooling America

  • Grass roots transformative energies

  • Ground up change we can believe in

  • Faith in human possibilities

  • Healing and redeeming from shameful legacies

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

  • Steps to a more responsible and self-governing community

  • Project notion of a “more human” human being

  • Replace command and control factory education model

  • Address outrage of prison industrial complex

  • The Young are the creators of knowledge and social change

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

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

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

handles all of the little things of village life

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

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

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Sign the Faithful Citizenship Statement!

We want everyone to make one more big push to get people to add their names to the “Faithful Citizenship” statement. They can do it very easily by following this link: Sign the Faithful Citizenship Statement.

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JOIN US: Debate Watch Party

Join the Milwaukee Area Labor Council for a Gubernatorial Debate Watch Party this Friday, October 10. The debate will begin at 7:00 p.m. on Friday, October 10 and will be the first of only two gubernatorial debates. Join union brothers and sisters and community members as we watch Mary Burke bring the heat on Scott Walker’s failed promises to Wisconsin workers.

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UPDATE: Will Walker Raise the Wage?

We’re still waiting to hear from Governor Walker about the 100 minimum wage complaints that we left at his office on September 24th. Once the complaints were filed, the Governor was given 20 days to respond, yet his office remains silent.

Join us at the State Capitol in Madison on Tuesday, October 14th at 5 pm for a mass rally to demand a living wage, or a Governor who will give us one.

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Chairwoman Marina Dimitrijevic’s October E-Newsletter: Special County Budget Edition!

Fall has arrived with its cooler temperatures and beautiful colors. With fall comes budget season at the County Board. We will be considering a $1.3 billion budget proposal from the County Executive with public hearings throughout October, with the Board’s annual public budget hearing at 6:30 on November 3 at the Milwaukee Art Museum. The full Board will vote on a final budget on November 10.

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End the abuse of Solitary Confinement

WISDOM calls the Governor on Solitary Confinement

WISDOM faith leaders from across the state called Governor Walker to take 5 Actions Required to Reform Now. You can view photos of the October 1 event from coverage by The Cap Times, Madison.

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A Living Wage: It’s Wisconsin Law.

“Every wage paid by any employer to any employee shall not be less than a living wage.”

That’s the law in Wisconsin: a living wage for all workers.

Last week, our Raise Wisconsin campaign filed an official complaint under Wisconsin law stating that the minimum wage is not a living wage. Over 100 underpaid workers joined our official complaint with a statement describing how they make less than a living wage.

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MICAH Annual Public Meeting Thursday, October 30th 2014

Calvary Baptist Church 2959 N. Teutonia Avenue
7:00 p.m. – 8: 30 p.m.

On Thursday, October 30th MICAH will hold its Annual Public Meeting. This is the time that we share with the public the work we have done throughout the year.

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Mental Health Task Force Update

The Milwaukee Mental Health Task Force has developed recommendations to address our concerns regarding the circumstances surrounding the death of Dontre Hamilton, as well the challenges Dontre and his family experienced navigating the mental health and housing service delivery system, and accessing medication and other services.

Here is an additional way for the MH Task Force to support the Justice for Dontre movement.

Red Arrow Park September 30, 2014 @ 6:00 p.m.
Calling all Community Members, activists, friends, and family to stand with the Coalition for Justice against injustice on our streets and in our communities.

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End the abuse of Solitary Confinement!

Join us in Madison on October 1
Noon on the State Street Capitol Steps

If you can’t make it to Madison, watch our webite, www.prayforjusticeinwi.org, for media reports and next steps.

Don’t forget to sign the Faithful Citizenship Statement to help make poverty a key issue in the upcoming election!

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Say, shout, scream

Onward,

Here’s just a sampling of what Public Citizen will do in the next 12 months.

Our society stands at a crossroads.

If we — you and I — don’t do this work, we could see the American people, our democracy and our planet itself rendered irrevocably into mere grease for the churning machinery of greed.

Billionaire tycoons and corporate empires, whose already awesome fortunes have only left them desperate for ever greater power, think this is their moment. They’re wrong.

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Most Precious Poems

By Kavon Jones

“Frida Kahlo(Brown Iz Beautiful)”

Age eighteen after meandering around downtown Mexico City
a horrible bus accident to Coyoacan severed your reproductive anatomy
Left your Mayan caramelized shape in a full body cast
You became a mannequin cloth in precious time
When you attempted to have a kid he came out in bloody limbs
Hospital bed bound you painted a portrait of your decease son pickled in a jar
Your paintings were Sandra Cisnero’s poetry SPLATTERED on a canvas

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Earth Dance Farms and An Ignatian Response To The Ferguson Tragedies

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

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

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

Rachel Levi
Program Director, EarthDance
www.earthdancefarms.org

office 314.521.1006
cell 773–398–6515
rachel@earthdancefarms.org

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

Become a fan of EarthDance on facebook! http://www.facebook.com/earthdancefarms

See what we’re all about here:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0BezN90K3ik

Make a donation here:
http://www.earthdancefarms.org/get-involved/donate/

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October 1 is huge for WISDOM!

WISDOM has two important actions on two different issues in two locations on October 1!
Be sure to plug into our work for justice!

1) Add your voice to those calling for an end to Solitary Confinement

2) Make poverty a key issue in the upcoming elections

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Educational Materials About Photo ID in Wisconsin

Photo ID is now required to vote in Wisconsin for most voters. The Wisconsin Disability Vote Coalition (WDVC) has created materials to help you to understand the law and how you can prepare yourself for the November 4th, General Election. Feel free to share this information with others and to call the Disability Voter Rights Hotline at 844/DIS-VOTE (347–8683) if you have questions.

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

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

Winner goes to The Maker Party in London!

Here are the contestants:

Names

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

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

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

https://juliavallera.makes.org/thimble/mozfest-maker-party-at-a-glance-hacked

to be continued…

Godsil​

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Milwaukee Officials Still Don’t Get It

Update Thursday, September 18, 2014: Dontre Hamilton’s family, friends and the Coalition of Justice activists marched from Red Arrow Park, where Hamilton was shot 14 times and died April 30, 2014, to today’s meeting of the Fire and Police Commissioners meeting. Police Chief Edward Flynn once again failed to respond to another mother who had to bury her son. Chief Flynn of course had no problem talking to reporters.

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FILM SCREENING: The Death of Corey Stingley @ The Milwaukee Film Festival

Please mark your calendars and spread the word. A special screening of this film will be happening on Monday, September 29th at the Oriental Theatre as part of the Milwaukee Film Festival’s Milwaukee Show.

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Bus riders: 9/26 Training on the new fare card

Get ready for changes coming to the Milwaukee County Transit System (MCTS) Bus Fare System!

Friday, September 26th, 2014 at IndependenceFirst 540 S. 1st St. in Milwaukee

A FREE, safe and “no-rush” opportunity to try the new reloadable M-CARD (Smart Card) and learn about the Audible Voice Annunciation (AVA) Systems. We welcome all bus riders—those with and without disabilities!

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SPLC webinar with best-selling author Michelle Alexander

We’ll be having a live conversation with Michelle Alexander, author of the widely acclaimed book The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness.

Please join us Tuesday, Sept. 23, at 7 p.m. EDT for a free webinar with the highly acclaimed author and civil rights lawyer Michelle Alexander.

Click here to register for the webinar.

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Prevent Suicide Greater Milwaukee’s Third Quarterly Meeting of 2014

when: OCTOBER 17TH 8:45–10:30am
where: 700 W Virginia St suite 500

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Disability Rights Wisconsin Milwaukee Listening Session

Friday, September 19 – Please Attend and Share Your Priorities

The Board of Directors of Disability Rights Wisconsin (DRW) will conduct a Listening Session on Friday, September 19, 2014 in Milwaukee from 4:30 – 6 PM at the Martin Luther King Jr Community Center.

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Free Training: Certified Peer Specialists

Please join Vital Voices on Friday, OCTOBER 17th to learn more about Certified Peer Specialists and their work in our Community.

When: Friday, October 17, 2014 from 8:30 - 10:00 am
Where: Highland Commons – 6700 W. Beloit Rd, West Allis
RSVP: by October 13th by calling Sue at 414–771–4368 Or email: vitalvoices@sbcglobal.net

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Just In from DRW 9/16/14

Mental Health Board 9/23 Agenda and Inpatient Capacity Study

The Milwaukee County Mental Health Board will meet on September 23rd at 10 AM for a presentation on the just released report on Milwaukee County Mental Health Inpatient Capacity.

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Boomer Millennial Old House Transformation Experiment

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

At the beginning of summer 2014

]

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

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

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

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

Miguel’s “Green Room” sprouts tour

Sweet Water Aquaponics Demo Room

The start of front yard food garden as art aspiration

Backyard micro farm August 4, 2014

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

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

Anne Koller giving first digital conference presentation

With Ryan Scaife of Project Hope in Tanzania

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Statement of the NAACP Milwaukee Branch Regarding the Seventh Circuit Decision on Voter ID

Today, the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals overturned Judge Lynn Adelman’s decision and lifted the injunction on implementation of the State’s Voter ID law. This means that the law can be put into effect immediately and will apply to the November General Election.

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Follow Up Budget Briefing and Questions Submitted

In July, the Mental Health Task Force and Make It Work Milwaukee hosted a briefing on the 2015 Milwaukee County Budget department Requests. We had submitted questions about the DHHS/ BHD budgets in advance of the briefing. Please see the attached document which provides answers to many of the questions

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Pass Throughs and Poverty Pimps part 2

By John Alan

So what do you get when you have Jobless Economic Development? You get an industry based on the poverty of the people who don’t have jobs.

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

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

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

http://www.milwaukeerenaissance.com/EarthRenaissance/HomePage

Earth Nation Eco Tours

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

Here’s a bit of my story:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_U0x6xI7wAE

http://hbr.org/product/Milwaukee—B5---James-God/an/313064-PDF-ENG

If the latter document interests you let me know.

Godsil

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Important Updates from WISDOM Sept 10, 2014

1) If you haven’t already done so, sign our Faithful Citizenship Statement to help make poverty a key issue of the upcoming election.

2) Mark your calendar for our next Action, on Solitary Confinement.

3) Watch Tim Coursen’s very professional 10 minute video of our August 20 Action Press Conference at the Milwaukee Secure Detention Center.

4) If you can, get to Milwaukee for author Michelle Alexander and a Discussion Panel of local experts on “Incarceration, Opportunity & the Future of Milwaukee”

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UWM: Stop Charters from Bribing Parents!!

WHEN: Thursday, September 11th 2014, 4:30pm
WHERE: UWM Enderis 25400 E Hartford Ave, Milwaukee, WI 53211

Urban Day School, chartered by UWM, is paying people $100 per child if they have that student enroll and show up to school on September 19, the day the state counts students to see how much money each privately-run charter school should receive.

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WE ENERGIES RATE CASE FORUM & Q&A

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My Letter to Mayor Barrett regarding Dontre Hamilton

By Mary Watkins

Dear Mayor Barrett:
You have said that you want this to be a city where people respect and trust the police department. The obstructionism and abuse that occurred at the Fire and Police Commission Thursday, September 4th did little to advance this goal.

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Pass Throughs and Poverty Pimps

By John Alan

Have you ever heard the phrase “Pass Through” or “Poverty Pimp”? If not you should become familiar with the terms because those are the main reasons that Black entrepreneurship stagnates in Milwaukee and Black Milwaukeeans have not progressed since the 1960s.

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Community Forum on Community-Based Treatment Approaches of Schizophrenia

September is Recovery month and in honor of this, the WPA will be hosting its second forum in the Community Solutions Series.

On Wednesday, September 24th at the Wauwatosa Library’s Firefly Room- the WPA will be hosting a public education event on emerging models of community-based treatment of schizophrenia.

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Dr. Michelle Alexander, September 26

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Invitation to World Day of Prayer September 11, 2014

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Are you one of the 2,395,469?

Thanks to the efforts of Raise Wisconsin activists and volunteers, over two million people will have the opportunity to vote on whether the state should increase the minimum wage from $7.25 to $10.10. Jurisdictions with 2,395,469 residents, or 41.7% of the state, will be voting on the referendum on November 4th!

Will minimum wage be on your ballot? Find out here.

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DHHS UPDATES 08−21–14

In this update:

Behavioral Health Division

New Crisis Center Open

Emergency Medical Services

EMS Hosting International Physicians

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Say Yes to BadgerCare

Accepting new federal health care reform dollars will expand health care freedom, create jobs, and save money

The Issue: One of the most important ways the new health care reform law expands coverage is filling the gaping holes in state Medicaid programs (BadgerCare in Wisconsin) guaranteeing coverage to low income adults. Currently, there are over 84,000 low income Wisconsinites who could be covered by BadgerCare if available federal funds were accepted. Governor Walker’s decision to reject these funds is not final and Wisconsin can accept the money at any time.

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Stop MPD Racial Profiling, Sexual Assault, In-Humane Treatment, Excessive Force, Deaths in Custody, the Killing of Unarmed Black Boys & Men

Monday, August 18, 2014, Brenda Bell-White writes:

Dear Mayor Barrett and all City of Milwaukee Common Council Members:
This is yet another appeal requesting that you change the Milwaukee Police Department’s (MPD) policies, procedures and practices that create, encourage and reinforce the negative attitudes and treatment of black and brown people. Additional training is not the answer. MPD’s policies, procedures and practices are the root cause of disparate and inhumane treatment of black and brown boys, men and all people. Coupled with the other contributing factor for the indifference and inhumane treatment of black and brown people is this fact: MPD’s police chief makes public disparaging comments and commentary regarding black and brown people and the community. MPD’s officers take their cues from the chief; he has no respect for the black and brown community, hence his police force does not.

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Crisis Resource Center North Opening

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2015 Preliminary Budget Hearing

The City of Milwaukee will hold a 2015 Preliminary Budget Hearing to ensure the 2015 City of Milwaukee Budget addresses the needs of our community. Mayor Tom Barrett, Finance and Personnel Committee Chair, Alderman Nik Kovac, Budget Director Mark Nicolini and budget staff will provide information regarding the budget planning process and give attendees an opportunity to share input on City services. City residents are encouraged to attend.

2015 Preliminary Budget Hearing Tuesday, August 19, 2014 6:00 p.m. −7:30 p.m. Zeidler Municipal Building 841 North Broadway, Rm. 102

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Transportation Press Conference and Bus Event

Friday, August 15th 2014 At 10:00 am
Buses will be leaving at 11 am

MICAH Parking Lot 1927 N 4th Street Milwaukee, WI 53212

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Wisconsin Psychological Association: Community Solutions Forum

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3 Quick Actions to Stop Abuse in Waupun

1) Sign this on-line petition: Peg Swan, our colleague in Western Wisconsin and the woman behind the recent investigative articles about the abuses in the Waupun prison, started a petition on MoveOn.org.

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County Executive Abele 2015 Budget Hearings *Updated August 4th*

County Executive Abele will hold 2015 Milwaukee County Budget Hearings on August 13th and 14th. RSVP is required . It is very important to have a strong turnout and participation from the disability and aging community – we encourage you to attend and register to speak about your priorities for the 2015 Milwaukee County budget!!

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

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

http://www.hackedmatter.com/news/2014/5/19/state-of-shanzhai

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

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

Chinese and American Robin Hoods And Virtual Sherwood Forests

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

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

Core Tenets of Shanzhai Business Model Worthy of American Attention

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

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

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

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

San Francisco Chinese American CEO Highway 1 Accelerator Program

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

WSJ: Why is Shenzhen still attractive for PCH?

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

The Economist Covering This Development

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

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

Silvia Lindtner of U. of Cal. Irvine Shanghai Partnership

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

Much more to come!

Godsil

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