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Monday, September 18, 2017

Trumpcare II - Red Alert

RED ALERT! Call your senators to oppose the new and even much worse Trumpcare bill (Graham-Cassidy) heading for a vote, without a CBO score or public hearings, very soon. Indivisible has a guide with background info and scripts. 

Call both Senators - there's a script for Rs and for Ds. This bill is awful.


Two candidates for Wisconsin Supreme Court attended and spoke at Monday evening's La Crosse County Democratic Party meeting. Madison attorney, Tim Burns, talked about his humble roots, his background as an attorney taking on big insurance companies and his desire to represent fairness for all citizens as a Supreme Court judge. Rebecca Dallet is a Milwaukee county judge who was a Milwaukee county assistant district attorney and a special assistant United States attorney before that.

Both talked about their backgrounds and values and some challenges they see in the current supreme court. One issue both talked about was the need for an improved recusal policy.

Others agree which is why Common Cause Wisconsin is partnering with the League of Women Voters of Wisconsin to hold three public hearings around the state on the need for stronger recusal rules. (Unfortunately, Common Cause apparently believes that Wisconsin's western border ends at Madison since none of the three hearings are scheduled west of that city).

If you can attend the October 24 Madison event (or the October 2 event in Green Bay or October 11 in Milwaukee), please do. OR better, if you are connected to Common Cause Wisconsin and/or LWV, please lobby those groups to hold a fourth hearing in La Crosse.

The sad reality is that "care one whit about the state's supreme court races or the court's recusal rules" is probably near the bottom of most voters' list of things they want to spend time on. A determined and well-organized right wing took over our state court after a decade of big dark money, questionable campaign ads, recount shenanigans, and low voter turnout. Somebody needs to start caring about this stuff.

Here are more details from the organizers:

CC/WI Has Organized Three October "Public Hearings" on the Issue:
in Green Bay, Milwaukee and Madison
Last April, the Wisconsin Supreme Court embarrassed itself and every citizen of our state when it discussed in “open conference,” and then voted 5 to 2, to reject a timely, reasonable and needed proposal that would have established reasonable thresholds for recusal for elected municipal court judges, circuit court judges, state court of appeals judges and state Supreme Court justices in cases where they received campaign contributions from a defendant or plaintiff appearing before them, or were the beneficiaries of spending by an “outside” special interest group.

We think this issue is far too important to simply be swept under the rug and forgotten. Therefore, Common Cause in Wisconsin has organized three "public hearings" on the issue to occur in October. On October 2nd, we will be in Green Bay and on October 11th in Milwaukee. Finally, we will hold a public hearing on October 24th in Madison, where two current Wisconsin Supreme Court Justices will talk about why more effective recusal rules are essential.

Wisconsinites would be surprised to know that our state is considered among the four worst states in the nation with regard to the strength of our recusal standards for campaign contributions. In fact, we have none, and the current state recusal “non-standard" was written by Wisconsin Manufacturers & Commerce, which has spent millions of dollars over the years to elect conservative state supreme court justices. The “standard” was adopted verbatim by a 4 to 3 vote, seven years ago. It essentially says that each justice may decide for themselves whether to recuse in a case involving a party contributing to her or him.

Since that time, contribution limits to candidates have vastly increased and outside spending has risen exponentially. Public financing for state Supreme Court candidates who voluntarily agreed not to accept campaign contributions was repealed (in 2011) and now more money than ever before dictates the outcome of state Supreme Court elections and, increasingly, elections for state Court of Appeals, circuit court and even municipal court. Furthermore, the Wisconsin Legislature and Gov. Scott Walker enacted into law drastic changes to Wisconsin campaign finance law in 2015 that legalized campaign coordination between outside special interest groups and candidates. That means that “anything goes” and there is no wall between candidates and their financial backers.

Sunday, September 17, 2017

What's coming up? (September 18-24)

It's important for us to connect as much as possible. If you can volunteer, please do. If you can help
spread the word about events, please do. If you can organize an event, please do. If your event is not listed here, please submit it using the form or by email.

6:00 p.m. Holy Trinity-Longfellow Neighborhood Association monthly meeting at Trinity Lutheran Church.

6:30 p.m. La Crosse County Democrats meet at the Ho-Chunk House (8th & Main) Speakers will be Wisconsin Supreme Court candidates Tim Burns and Rebecca Dallet. Once again, if you are not a member of the party, now is the time to join. This is the party that will probably generate the candidates we will work and vote for. If you want a say in who those candidates are (or even if YOU will be one of them) and what their priorities will be, then you need to join and have a say. Because otherwise, you are leaving the most important decisions to others.

7:00 p.m. Eva Schloss, Holocaust Survivor and childhood friend of Anne Frank at Viterbo Fine Arts Center (there is a charge for this important event)

7:00 p.m. Hearts and Minds: The Interrogations Project at Winona State University

2:00 p.m.  New Role, New Me?: The Challenge of Identity Transititions, a TEDxUWLaCrosse event in room 150 Murphy Library, UWL.

6:00 p.m. Suicide Prevention Awareness Event at Riverside Park

6:00 p.m. Freedom of Speeech - Ideals & Realities - a community conversation at the Main Public Library

6:00 p.m. Community vs Corporate Rights - Intro Workshop in Sparta

6:30 p.m. Grandview-Emerson Neighborhood Association monthly meeting at Emerson Elementary School

7:30 p.m. And then they came for me ... Remembering the world of Anne Frank at the La Crosse Community Theater (Weber Center)

8:30 a.m. Suicide Prevention Summit all day at the Radisson

noon  Community Conversations - Ending Homelessness at English Lutheran Church (16th and King Streets)

4:30 p.m. La Crosse Area Planning Committee public hearing including 2017-2020 Transportation Improvement Project List (which includes the Clinton Street bicycle paint and other issues) in room 1107 County Admin Building (6th & State)

6:00 p.m. Healthcare is Broken - What is its future? Four stories for conversation. Sponsored by .be and held in Hackberry's (over the Co-op)

6:45 p.m. Powell-Poage-Hamilton Neighborhood Association monthly meeting at the Southside Neighborhood Center.

7:00 p.m. Showing Up for Racial Justice orientation at JavaVino

10:00 a.m. Humanitarian Openstreets Team Mapathon to map vulnerable regions affected by natural disasters. Bring a laptop if you can. 245 Cowley Hall, UWL.

1:00 p.m. Planning meeting for 2018 Juneteenth celebration - everyone welcome

1:30 p.m. Rally for Voting Rights at Cameron Park - sponsored by the La Crosse County Democratic Party and featuring state and local political leaders and candidates. On the eve of the Wisconsin gerrymandering case before the Supreme Court and as the Pence-Kobach Election "Integrity" Commission ("a committee of crackpots") continues to prove the Onion is now irrelevant, this rally will educate and infuriate and activate. Rain site: The Brickhouse

2:00 p.m. Fall Festival on the Farm to benefit GROW La Crosse at Deep Roots Community Farm, Cty Rd YY.

Also, there will be a RALLY FOR MIKE MCCABE FOR GOVERNOR on Monday, September 25. If you can help with the event, please email lacrosse.for.mccabe-at-gmail.

Let us know what's missing!

Monday, September 11, 2017

WEDC & Foxconn

Citizen Action of Wisconsin

Today Citizen Action of Wisconsin released a new report on how the Governor Walker's jobs agency WEDC is thousands of jobs shy of their target, and why it doesn't bode well for Walker's plan to have them manage the $3 billion giveaway to Foxconn. Will you ADD YOUR NAME to help us challenge this vote before the next scandal?

Our research revealed the following today:

  • Of the 337 WEDC awardees with established job creation goals at least 3 years old, 60% (203 awardees) failed to meet their goals.
  • Those 203 corporate recipients are behind their goals by over 14,000 jobs, more than even the most rosy expectations from the Foxconn proposal!
  • Those 203 companies that still have not hit their jobs goal in at least 3 years have already received $94.8 million in verified tax credits from WEDC, with another $158 million awarded but not yet dispersed
  • Many WEDC recipients have outsourced other jobs while taking state tax credits.
This research is extremely timely, the State Legislature is going to be voting very soon on giving out the largest job creation tax credit program ever issued by an American state, and they expect it to be run by WEDC. We need to get the word out that this deal is a scandal waiting to happen, especially since our findings rely on WEDC's own data which we know can't fully be trusted. Any Senator or Representative that is thinking of voting for the Foxconn deal this week should think long and hard about whether they want to be held accountable for potentially the biggest economic scandal in Wisconsin history.
Click here to ADD YOUR NAME to our challenge to WEDC's running the Foxconn deal, and that the Foxconn deal should happen at all. This ensures we know to keep you updated on the issue

Sunday, September 10, 2017

What's coming up? (September 11-17)

This week - LOTS going on. Please use this form to send your event for the calendar or email couleeprogressive at hotmail.

Monday, September 11
6:30 p.m.  Weigent-Hogan Neighborhood Association meeting at 401 West Avenue South

7:00 p.m. Preview of Ken Burns' and Lynn Novick's documentaryVietnam at Weber Center with panel of vets following (you may be interested in reading this article from Counterpunch).

7:00 p.m. Writing in Stone with Terese Agnew at Viterbo University Fine Arts Center

Tuesday, September 12
ALL DAY - Day of Action for FAIR MAPS

Noon  League of Women Voters Lunch and Learn at Moxie's Pub (RSVP for Lunch - optional)

5:30 p.m. Mike McCabe announces his candidacy for governor and local supporters will celebrate and watch the event at the Bodega Brew Pub

6:00 p.m. La Crosse Area Transit Advocates meeting at Jules

6:30 p.m. La Crosse Citizens Climate Lobby meeting at 401 West Avenue South

7:00 p.m. Our Wisconsin Revolution La Crosse planning meeting for Saturday's Fighting Bob Fest at the Ho-Chunk House (8tt h and Main)

Thursday, September 14
11:30 a.m. Workshop on Language Access to people whose first language is not English for employers, community members, and service providers at the Southside Neighborhood Center, 1300 6th Street South (please RSVP at link)

6:30 p.m. League of Women Voters Book Club - The Conscience of a Conservative at Java Vino (please RSVP at link)

Friday, September 15
6:00 p.m. Ron Kind Corn Roast at West Salem Fair Grounds

Saturday, September 16
4:00 p.m. Fighting Bob Fest in La Crosse at Copeland Park Oktoberfest Shelter

Sunday, September 17
4:00 p.m. Beer By Bike Brigade ChickenQ Fundraiser for Warming Shelter at Myrick Park with music by TUGG

7:30 p.m. And then then came for me  ...   Remembering the world of Anne Frank at Weber Center

Saturday, September 09, 2017

New events and opportunities

Today and tomorrow in Winona, Minnesota, the Winona Dakota Unity Alliance is hosting the Great Dakota Gathering, Homecoming, and Pow-wow all day today and Sunday, Sept. 10 at Unity Park (east end of Lake Winona). The event is a commemoration and homecoming, as well as an opportunity to educate people about the Dakota "Trail of Tears," when the Dakota were executed, imprisoned, and forcibly removed from their homeland (in present day Minnesota) following the Dakota War of 1862.


Starting tomorrow, White Awake is hosting a three session (9/10-10/1) online workshop: Growing Roots Deeper Than Whiteness to Rise for Racial Justice. You can register (for a fee) at the link. The first session begins Sunday evening.


If you would like to table at Fighting Bob Fest - La Crosse (Saturday, September 16 from 4 to 8 p.m. at the Oktoberfest Shelter in Copeland Park), please contact or Donations will be accepted. You will need to bring your own table and chairs.

Please spread the word to your members. Please also share the flyer and the press release.

Thursday, September 07, 2017

Voting Rights

PLEASE MARK YOUR CALENDAR and plan to attend the RALLY FOR VOTING RIGHTS in La Crosse on Saturday, September 23 at 1:30 p.m. at Cameron Park.

The freedom to vote is a core American value, giving each of us a say in the direction of our country and our community. But defending that freedom against the the Pence-Kobach commission’s threats to our rights depends on you -- your activism and your engagement. And by standing together, we’ve already made a real impact.That’s why I’m rushing you this update about our response to the Pence-Kobach “election integrity” commission, and how you can help fight back -- I hope you’ll read to the end.
President Trump has claimed -- without evidence -- that millions of people voted illegally in 2016. Concerns only grew when Trump tried to back up his lies by putting notorious vote suppressor Kris Kobach in charge of a new commission that could pave the way for new, nationwide voting restrictions.
Since then, the commission has tried to collect and store voters’ private information (an illegal practice we’re suing to end -- more on that below) and completely ignored what we can do to encourage more eligible Americans -- not fewer -- to participate in our democracy.
Here’s what we’re doing to respond to the Pence-Kobach commission, and how you can help:
  • Today, we are releasing “Flawed From The Start” -- our new report that exposes the Pence-Kobach commission’s failures -- and calls for a balanced and bipartisan serious effort to improve our election systems and ensure every eligible American has a voice. The report compares the Pence-Kobach commission’s flaws to previous bipartisan commissions that advanced positive, proactive reforms that better protected our right to vote and lowered barriers to participation. Please take a moment to read our report, then share it far and wide!
  • Our lawsuit against the Pence-Kobach commission under the federal Privacy Act is still going strong -- and has the potential to end the Commission’s illegal data grab for good. You’ll be the first to hear of any new developments. You can read more here.
  • We’re organizing actions for next Tuesday when the commission holds its next meeting, including a Facebook Live townhall that evening. We’ll use that energy to work with local election officials in our communities to expand voting rights and modernize our elections. Email us at to get involved with these efforts!
  • Finally, Common Cause members across the nation are continuing to speak out against the Pence-Kobach commission by submitting official public comments -- over 25,000 have already spoken out. You can read the comments that have already been submitted on the commission’s website -- or submit a comment of your own!
The freedom to vote is the cornerstone of our democracy, and every generation has struggled to defend and expand it. Now it’s our turn -- and I’m so glad to have you on our side for this fight. It takes every one of us to stand up for and defend our democracy, now more than ever.

Allegra Chapman, Director of Voting and Elections,
and the team at Common Cause

Wednesday, September 06, 2017

Fighting Bob Fest/Our Wisconsin Revolution - RSVP

The 16th Annual Fighting Bob Fest is less than two weeks away! Here's all the news of where to be Sept. 15-17, 2017

Friday, September 15, 2017 at 7:00 p.m.
The Progressive presents
The 16th Annual
at The Barrymore Theatre, 2090 Atwood Avenue, Madison, Wisconsin
Featured speakers include:
Senator Tammy Baldwin   *   Congressman Mark Pocan
Jim Hightower   *   Randy Bryce   *   Nina Turner
Thomas Frank   *   John Nichols   *   Mandela Barnes
Mahlon Mitchell   *   Christine Neumann-Ortiz
Norman Stockwell
Robert M. “Fighting Bob” La Follette, founder of The Progressive magazine, promoted chautauquas to bring people together to raise hell and organize.  Fighting Bob Fest continues this tradition.
Admission is Free.
Donations accepted at the door and throughout the evening.
For more on Fighting Bob Fest 2017 visit
Additional event information to be announced.
Saturday, September 16, 2017
Our Wisconsin Revolution in Collaboration with The Progressive is taking
Please join us after the Friday kick-off for TWO Saturday events!

Tripoli Shrine Center, 3000 W. Wisconsin Ave.
Oktoberfest structure at Copeland Park, 1130 Copeland Park Dr.

The 16th Annual Festival of Progressive Politics Celebrating the legacies of Fighting Bob La Follette and Fighting Bob Fest founder Ed Garvey
Calling on the power of the people!   Featured speakers:
Nina Turner, President national Our Revolution
Jim Hightower, favorite regular Fighting Bob Fest speaker of The Hightower Lowdown
Terrance Warthen and Sarah Lloyd, Co-Chairs - Our Wisconsin Revolution
David Bowen, WI Assembly District 10 (MKE)
Matt Rothschild, Wisconsin Democracy Campaign (LAX)
Featuring local citizen activist panels on: enacting racial justice and protecting our water, land, and air, by building community power.
More details on speakers and panels to come. Stay Tuned!

Admission is FREE – Donations are very welcome.
Food will be available for purchase.
If you are interested in volunteering or your organization is interested in tabling at these events, contact for details.

Please RSVP:
For the Milwaukee Event
For the LaCrosse Event

What Is Our Wisconsin Revolution?
Our Wisconsin Revolution is an independent, member-driven and democratic organization that educates, agitates, organizes, and is working to elect thousands of everyday Wisconsinites in this state. We envision a real democracy, a fair economy, a clean environment, and an efficient and transparent government that works for the many not the few.

Also, in Madison on September 16 and 17, The Capital Times presents its first annual "Idea Fest" on the UW-Madison campus - information and registration online at

Monday, September 04, 2017

What's coming up? (September 5-10)

Thanks to everyone who attended Sunday's first annual Open Streets event in downtown La Crosse. If you enjoyed it, please thank Carolyn Dvorak, Southwest Region Director at the Wisconsin Bike Federation and Robin Moses, Executive Director of Downtown Mainstreet, Inc.

If your event is missing from this list, please use the form or email couleeprogressive - at - hotmail.

Tuesday, September 5
BUY YOUR TICKETS RIGHT NOW so the award-winning film, Equal Means Equal, can be shown (via TUGG) in La Crosse on Wednesday evening, September 13. Organizers must sell at least 48 more tickets by September 6 in order for the film to be shown. Because it's a TUGG event, a minimum number of tickets must be sold in advance for the film to be screened. The Equal Rights Amendment, passed by Congress in 1972, needs two more states to ratify it (Nevada became the 36th state to ratify on March 22 of this year) for it to become an amendment to the US Constitution. 

Wednesday, September 6
5:00 p.m.  Twin Cities-Milwaukee-Chicago Intercity Passenger Rail Service public meeting to discuss  plans for a second rail line each way through La Crosse. If you would like to show support for this clearly needed service, please attend the meeting in Conference Room 2106 of the New County Administrative Building (6th and State).

5:00 p.m. Feminism on Tap monthly gathering at 4 Sisters 4th Street Bar and Catering

6:30 p.m.  Standing Up for Racial Justice (SURJ) is hosting a Book Club discussion of Ta-Nehisi Coates's article The Case for Reparations at Pearl Street Books. "This is the perfect time to get involved in the book club as we will discuss what book to read next. Please bring a book suggestion if you have one. We are planning to meet every other week on Wednesdays, but please comment if you are interested but cannot do this time. If there is enough demand for a different time we may consider changing it."

Thursday, September 7
6:30 p.m. Faith and Feminism: Resistance and Persistence in the Church is talk by theologian and author Gina Messina at the Franciscan Spirituality Center, 920 Market Street.

Friday, September 8
7:00 p.m.  Beer/Wine/Cheese/LTEs  Join La Crosse Citizen Climate Lobby to socialize and write letters to the editor. See link for details.   

8:00 p.m. So You Think You Can Drag? Fundraiser for The Center - 7 Rivers LGBTQ Connection at the La Crosse Center.

Saturday, September 9
All Day Pride in the Park in Riverside Park. This annual event is hosted by The Center - 7 Rivers LGBTQ Connection. It's a great chance to connect with friends, listen to great music, get useful info, and have a great time. 

7:30 p.m. Theory of Relativity Encore Scholarship Fundraiser at UWL.

Sunday, September 10
11:00 a.m.  PRIDE Family Picnic in Copeland Park
2:00 p.m. Theory of Relativity Encore Scholarship Fundraiser at UWL

And, other important news:

A couple of weeks ago an important new initiative began. Please spread the word.
"[T]he Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism is partnering with ProPublica and its Documenting Hate project to collect reports of bias incidents and hate crimes in our state. The nationwide project includes dozens of news, academic and advocacy organizations that have joined to expose the impact of bigotry in America.
"Beginning today, the Center is asking residents who have witnessed or experienced hate crimes or incidents of bias to report them using the form on our website. These reports will be used for our reporting on bigotry and become part of ProPublica’s national database. Names of submitters will not be shared outside of the coalition without the submitter’s permission."

Friday, September 01, 2017

Sunday OPEN STREETS and more

Just a reminder that on Sunday, September 3, from noon to 4 p.m., we'll have a chance to take back some of the downtown La Crosse territory normally given over to cars during the first annual OPEN STREETS LA CROSSE event.

Main Street will be closed to motorized vehicles from 9th Street to Fifth Ave. The car-free route continues down Fifth Avenue to King and then turns west to Fourth Street. With Burns Park and the La Crosse Public Library Plaza at the east end and Cameron Park at the west end, it's a long space with lots of room for businesses, organizations, artists, food vendors, musicians, and regular people to enjoy the afternoon.

Included in the fun will be a two block long Protected Bike Lane demonstration and a one block long woonerf (shared street) demonstration.

It's time to devote some of this valuable property to people not cars or parking.


An alert has been issued by the Wisconsin League of Conservation Voters. State Senator Tom Tiffany's Industrial Acid Mining bill is moving ahead and there will be a public hearing on Thursday, September 7 at 9 a.m. at the Ladysmith High School (1700 Edgewood Ave. E.)

If you can attend the hearing, please do. Otherwise, please sign the petition and contact your legislators. This is a dangerous bill that would further poison our waters for corporate gain.


Remember to get your tickets NOW to the film Equal Means Equal, a TUGG event scheduled for Wednesday, September 13. For a TUGG film event to happen, organizers must sell a minimum number of tickets in advance by a set deadline or the film will not happen. As of now, at least 48 MORE tickets need to be sold in just FIVE DAYS. (If the event is cancelled for lack of support, no one is charged for any tickets). Please spread the word about this important film about women's equality and the Equal Rights Amendment. 

While checking on this film, I see that there is a SECOND TUGG EVENT, a screening of What the Health, on the following night. This film is also available for online viewing.


And, you can still donate to help the La Crosse School District host its Second Annual Black Youth Summit.

Sunday, August 27, 2017

Coming up this week (August 28 - September 3)

Women's Equality Day was August 26
but we're not there yet.
There are many opportunities to interact with government and our fellow community groups this week. If your event is missing, please email couleeprogressive-at-hotmail-dot-com or use this form.

Monday, August 28
5:30 p.m. A very minor change has been in the works for Clinton Street for more than five years which includes providing for a turn lane and bicycle lanes. Last minute concerns by residents have caused a special meeting to be called at the Black River Beach Neighborhood Center. If you would like to show up to support bicycle infrastructure (if paint counts), please check over these talking points and come to the meeting hosted by City Council Rep. Andrea Richmond.

6:00 p.m. Bluffside Neighborhood Association meeting at First Congregational Church (Main St. and Losey Boulevard)

Tuesday, August 29
7:00 p.m. Our Wisconsin Revolution holds a meeting. "Thanks to all who attended our meeting on Tuesday! We discussed: - promoting the 3rd CD Listening Session in Tomah on August 27th sponsored by Indivisible WI-03 - tabling at Open Streets La Crosse on September 3rd to promote our group and upcoming events and teach/help people to register to vote -panelists to invite for our Meet Your County/State Government and possible dates/locations -potentially hosting this year's Fighting Bob Fest on September 16th. If you cannot make it to the meetings, but would like to help with these events and more, please contact us at We'd love to hear from you!" 

Wednesday, August 30
9:00 a.m. Poverty Simulation at the Erickson Boys and Girls Club of La Crosse (1331 Clinton Street). I think you have to have registered in advance. See link for more details.

4:00 p.m. Northside Neighborhood Celebration with food, music, games, activities and community resource information.
4:00 p.m. Fundraiser for Democratic gubernatorial candidate TONY EVERS at the Bodega Brew Pub, 122 4th Street. f you have questions or need further information, please contact Cassi Fenili at 920-205-7010.

5:00 p.m.  Coffee with Mayor Kabat at the Black River Beach Neighborhood Center. An opportunity to meet Mayor Kabat, hear about city business and offer your thoughts and ideas about how to improve our city. Coffee provided.

Thursday, August 31
All Day - Rebuilding for Learning Summit VII at the La Crosse Center

Friday, September 1
All Day and through Monday, September 4: La Crosse Area Bike Fest with HQ at Cameron Park. Guided rides all over the Coulee Region and in the City.

Sunday, September 3
Noon to 4 p.m.  OPEN STREETS LA CROSSE - an afternoon without cars on some La Crosse downtown streets. Music, food, demos, workshops, info, activities, and imagining a city where people > cars. Free and open to all.

PRIDE in the PARK returns to Riverside Park on Saturday, September 9 as part of the three day PRIDE 2017 event. Great food, music, info booths, activities and friends.

If you wondered what happened to FIGHTING BOB FEST, it's coming to La Crosse! from 4 to 8 p.m. on Saturday, September 16. Featured speakers include Our Revolution president, Nina Turner, and progressive firebrand, Jim Hightower. More details coming soon.

On Saturday, September 23, the La Crosse County Democratic Party will host a RALLY FOR VOTING RIGHTS starting at 1:30 p.m. in Cameron Park. The event will include several speakers including elected officials and gubernatorial candidates as well as one of the plaintiffs in the Wisconsin gerrymandering case now before the Supreme Court of the United States.

And, the La Crosse Education Foundation is looking for crowd funding to help support the 2017 Black Youth Summit in La Crosse which will, "bring 6th -12th grade students who identify as black, biracial, or multiracial (with black being one of their racial identities) together for a day of learning and fun. The Summit will take place annually and this is our second year. (Read about the first Summit here.) The Black Youth Summit will provide a safe space for students to engage in tough conversations on an array of topics such as race, societal pressures, identity and learn how they can get involved in their community in and out of school. The Summit will focus on building self-confidence, cultural identity, academic excellence, and community involvement all rooted in a social justice lens."

Check for more important events at our calendar.

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

From Charlottesville to La Crosse

Last Saturday, La Crosse Area Showing Up for Racial Justice (SURJ)—a group of anti-racist white people and people of color who are willing to work with us to hold us accountable—held a small community discussion to talk about symbols of white supremacy in La Crosse. This gathering was prompted by a nationwide call to address white supremacy in locally-appropriate ways in the wake of overt white supremacist violence in Charlottesville, Virginia. This was called for by the Movement for Black Lives—a broad coalition of progressive people of color working to dismantle oppressive systems and build a world where we are all free. SURJ supports the Movement for Black Lives.

On Saturday, the local gathering explored a number of symbols rooted in white supremacy in La Crosse, some of which included:
- The “Hiawatha” statue in Riverside Park
- The “cigar store Indian” statue in the South Side Community Center
- Ho-Chunk burial mounds in La Crosse and surrounding areas not being respected
- The general fact that the land the City of La Crosse occupies was stolen from the Ho-Chunk Nation
- Columbus Day honoring a historical villain and the glorification of colonization and imperialism
- In an unprecedented move, Chancellor Gow overturning all 4 of UWL’s governing bodies’ decision to have a statement honoring the Ho-Chunk nation’s history of being indigenous to this land
- Racist comments on the La Crosse Tribune Facebook
- “We Back The Badge” stickers and signs in business windows
- Various displays of Confederate symbols (for instance, on private vehicles and flying in Murphy’s Frame and Axle auto repair store)
- This is not an exhaustive list

Many of these may seem easy to overlook for white people especially, but they provide the background noise of institutional racism and various levels of white supremacy.

[image: blue pyramid with text on the top part of the period that reads “OVERT WHITE SUPREMACY (Socially Unacceptable): Lynching, Hate Crimes, Swastikas, KKK, The N-Word, Burning Crosses, Racial Slurs, Racist Jokes, Neo-Nazis” and beneath it at the pyramid’s base text that reads “COVERT WHITE SUPREMACY (Socially Acceptable): “Make America Great Again,” Hiring Discrimination, Police Murdering POC, School-to-Prison Pipeline, Confederate Flags, Discriminatory Lending, Racial Profiling, Not Believing Experiencing of POC, Mass Incarceration, Paternalism, Police Brutality, Virtuous Victim Narrative, Euro-Centric Curriculum, English-only Initiatives, Housing Discrimination, Anti-Immigration Policies/Practices, Fearing People of Color, Assuming that Good Intentions are Enough, Denial of White Privilege, Expecting POC to Teach White People, Believing that we are “Post-Racial,” “Don’t blame me. I never owned slaves,” Celebration of Columbus Day, Denial of Racism, “But what about me?” “But we’re just one human family,” Bootstrap Theory, Tokenism, Blaming the Victim, Racist Mascots, Cultural Appropriation, White Savior Complex, Colorblindness, “It’s just a joke!” Claiming Reverse Racism, Not Challenging Racist Jokes.”

While we can see the problematic nature of these racist symbols across our community, it is not up to us as white people to decide on our own what to do with these observations, particularly those that attempt to represent (and often misrepresent) people of color in the community. People of color have a breadth of perspectives on these symbols and problems in La Crosse and how to best respond to them. SURJ seeks to follow leadership from local people of color and will take action in collaboration with those groups.

It is important that we work to keep bringing these things to consciousness by having conversations about how white supremacy functions in our community. As white people, we do have access to power and privilege that people of color do not have. We are all in different positions to challenge these symbols in our community. We can and should use our privilege and the relationships we have to help our neighborhoods, local businesses, and city evolve. Together, we can grow as a community.

After our discussion on Saturday, one man offered to stop by Murphy’s Frame and Axle, the auto repair shop where a Confederate flag was recently seen hanging above a work station. He spoke with the owner and let him know that some people were talking about the display of the Confederate flag in the shop and were concerned about it. The owner agreed that it was a problem and told him that he was already going to have his employee take it down. This is an example of using white (and male) privilege and a friendly, direct approach to take steps towards making our community safer and more inclusive.

While the Confederate flag and other racist symbols are not acceptable and should be identified as such, we must remember that some if not many of the people displaying or allowing them may not understand the context or impact of their actions. Approaching people in a non-combative way and starting a dialogue can lead to growth for our community and a coming together of people, instead of provoking more conflict from the start. We have to withdraw our support from white supremacy, in all its manifestations, and we are in a better position to do that when we call people in to join us before we start calling them out and alienating them. This is how we can expand our network of friends working together for a better world.

If you have any relationship with someone displaying white supremacist symbols, please drop in and just have a conversation about it. What do the symbols mean to them? What do they mean to you? Do they know that people are concerned about it? How does it make you feel to see these symbols in our community? It is not helpful to confront people hostilely. We need to start an honest dialogue about what those symbols mean to us. Consider: Where do you hang out? Where do you shop? Where do you work? What friends or neighbors could you approach about this? Do you know who your city council alderman is? Have you talked to them about your stance on these issues? What conversations have you started in the community? Please share, so we can all keep growing and learning together.

Monday, August 21, 2017

What's happening this week (August 21-27)

First, you can buy tickets NOW for a September 13 TUGG event - a screening of the film Equal Means Equal, an unflinching look at how women are treated in the United States today. If the organizers sell enough tickets by September 6, the film will be screened at the Marcus Theater on Wednesday, September 13. But they have to meet their minimum by the deadline. So, please get tickets now.

Today, August 21;postID=4747190462844416210
4:00 p.m. The La Crosse City Plan Committee will hold a PUBLIC HEARING about the city's Capitol Improvement Budget for 2018. You must be there before 4 p.m. to register if you wish to speak. Among items of interest, budget proposals for bike/ped projects and sustainability projects. (find link to budget at link above).

6:30 p.m. The La Crosse County Democratic Party holds its monthly meeting at the Ho-Chunk House (8th and Main). This month's guest speaker is Nate Timm of the Wisconsin Grassroots  Network. If you regularly donate to, work for, and/or vote for Democratic Party candidates, then you should join the party so you will have influence into the policies and candidates it produces. You can join at the meeting (but party membership is not requried). Really. You can join every other group you want, but you need to be in the group that runs the candidates people vote for.

Tuesday, August 22
6:00 p.m. The Upper Northside Logan Neighborhood Association meets at Trinity Lutheran Church

Friday, August 25
6:00 p.m. in Winona - Meet Senator Al Franken for a Talk and Signing of his latest #1 New York Times bestselling book, AL FRANKEN, GIANT OF THE SENATE at Paperback & Pieces in Winona, MN

7:00 p.m. in Riverside park, the kickoff concert for the 42nd Annual Great River Folk Fest.

Sunday, August 27
Unsure of times - the See Me, Read Me project will have events at the North and South La Crosse Public LIbraries. Check with the libraries for more details.

4:00 p.m. There will be a 3rd Congresional District HEALTH CARE LISTENING SESSION at Tomah High School. Confirmed attendees include state Rep. Steve Doyle, state Sen. Jennifer Shilling, and representatives from U.S. Rep. Ron Kind and U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin's offices. Possible attendees include state Sen. Kathleen Vinehout and state Reps. Lee Nerison and Dana Wachs.The event, FREE AND OPEN TO THE PUBLIC, is sponsored by the nonpartisan Voters Engaged participatory democracy project and hosted by the Indivisible WI-03 project (Monroe County).

5:00 p.m. Vigil for Charlottesville at the Christ Episcopal Church, 111 Ninth St. N. “We want all people in the Coulee Region, especially those whose lives are most vulnerable to the violent words and actions of hate groups, to hear us say we welcome you and want you to be our neighbors and friends. Let us stand together committed to forming our lives in this community, daily, through practices of hospitality and not hate, in acts of compassion and not callousness, and as witnesses to the promise of peace and not the pathology of violence.”

And, the La Crosse School District is asking for community support for the second annual Black Youth Summit From the organizers: The Black Youth Summit is designed to bring  6th -12th grade students who identify as black, biracial, or multiracial (with black being one of their racial identities) together for a day of learning and fun. The Summit will take place annually and this is our second year. (Read about the first Summit here.) The Black Youth Summit will provide a safe space for students to engage in tough conversations on an array of topics such as race, societal pressures, identity and learn how they can get involved in their community in and out of school. The Summit will focus on building self-confidence, cultural identity, academic excellence, and community involvement all rooted in a social justice lens.

Read about the success of the See Me, Read Me fundraising project here.

Friday, August 18, 2017

Progressives Media Project Op-Ed Workshop 10/13

Note - attendance is limited to first 25 (waiting list will be maintained).

FRIDAY,​ ​OCTOBER​ ​13,​ ​2017​ ​-​ ​La​ ​Crosse,​ ​WI

The​ ​Progressive​ ​Media​ ​Project​, with the support of the BRICO​ ​Fund​, invites you to participate in our FREE​ op-ed writing workshop on Friday,​ ​October 13th​ ​at​ ​Three​ ​Rivers​ ​House​ ​in​ ​La​ ​Crosse

Since 1993, The​ ​Progressive​ ​Media​ ​Project​ has worked tirelessly to amplify underrepresented voices in mainstream media to end discrimination, advance social justice, and democratize perspectives on current events locally, statewide, and nationally.

By participating in our workshop, you will:
★ Learn how to effectively communicate your ideas as an op-ed writer;
★ Receive editorial and op-ed placement support from The Progressive magazine’s editorial team;
★ Understand how to use social media to get your published op-ed in front of a larger audience.

The workshop begins at 9:00AM​ and concludes at 4:30PM​ with breaks for breakfast and lunch.

Attending the workshop is free for all participants. Breakfast, lunch, transportation and accommodation expenses are covered as well.

The​ ​Progressive​ ​Media​ ​Project​ ​Op-Ed​ ​Writing​ ​Workshop​ ​-​ ​La​ ​Crosse
Location:​ ​Three Rivers House
724 Main St. La Crosse, WI 54601
Time:​ ​Friday, October 13th, 2017 from 9:00AM to 4:30PM
Contact:​ ​Jess Pernsteiner at or 608-257-4626

To register for the workshop, please complete our online registration form.

Thursday, August 17, 2017

What if it were La Crosse? [with updates]

Charlottesville, Virginia is about the same size as La Crosse, so as the news unwinds about the white supremacist rally there, I started wondering what if this had happened in La Crosse and, since it didn't, then I started wondering what if this happens in La Crosse in the future?

So, what if it does? How can we be prepared to do "better" than Charlottesville in being pro-active and in our response. How can we press our social institutions to do better? How can our community groups do better? How can we as individuals do better?

For example, many report that the Charlottesville police did not even attempt to "keep the peace." Lots of eye witnesses say that police just stood by while white supremacists beat up counter protestors. A very graphic video shows one man being beaten, punched, and kicked in the parking garage next to the police department. This article describes how congregants of a Charlottesville synagogue had to hire private protection because the Charlottesville police "declined to provide a guard for the site."

Surely, La Crosse can do better than that.

And yet, in La Crosse there have been many incidents including fairly recent incidents that expose racism in our police department, on area campuses and in our community. We may no longer be an official "sundown town," but racism and hatred toward different faith groups and the LGBTQ community continue.

In his "Tears We Cannot Stop: A Sermon to White America," Rev. Michael Eric Dyson challenges those of us who live comfortable white lives in our institutionally white supremacist society to make it stop.
"[E]ven though whiteness is not real, it is still true. ... It is true because it has the power to make us believe it is real and to punish those who doubt its magic. ... It is most effective when it makes itself invisible, when it appears neutral, human, American."
In a recent Truthout article, Austin C. McCoy says, In the Wake of Charlottesville, Let's Call for Structural Transformation  ".... mainstream narratives about Charlottesville that focus primarily on Trump's bad character and the actions of one murderous racist (Fields), leave something to be desired: They obscure the need to creatively confront and defeat the white supremacist right. These limited narratives belie the structure of white supremacy in the US. Ultimately, this framing tells many of us on the left what we already know: Neither liberals nor conservatives have a real strategy for eradicating white supremacy at its root."

It's not just a few surface spots of rust, in Charlottesville and in La Crosse (and Madison and most every other place you can name), it's a corrosive network of decay and rot that has weakened every institution, every life, every future. The election of Donald Trump did not suddenly usher in white supremacy and racism. We've tolerated and even nurtured an us versus them ethic in our most basic institutions. In fact, in many cases it's "the American way."

So, there are two questions. What can we do every day from now until we die to change this institutional disease? And what can we do right now to ensure that our community is able to better deal with a Charlottesville style overt display, even celebration, of white supremacy, racism, and hate ? Because this weekend, apparently at least nine more similar rallies are planned around the country and they won't stop soon.

It seems to me that one thing we can do right now is pledge to stand with and protect vulnerable groups. Also, we can call on and urge our local law enforcement institutions to work now on a plan that providets real service and protection to the community.

We might also consider and plan what is the best response by a caring community to a march or demonstration by those espousing hate or violence against our fellow citizens. Counter protests may be counter productive, encouraging more hate and violence. Some communities have countered hate marches with community gatherings in another location, encouraging community members and the media to ignore the hate groups.

Preparing an appropriate response ahead of time is something our community could do right now. To me, planning an event that turns away from the hate and encourages the community to come together and renew vows of inclusivity and cooperation makes sense.

Martin Luther King, Jr, a radical in so many ways, repeated over and over that you cannot hate away hate. It's not a slogan and it's not an easy thing to actually do. Even if you can come to the intellectual point of agreeing that hating the most vile racist, white supremacist Nazi does not help change that person, coming to that point physically and emotionally in the heat of the moment with physical and verbal threats and attacks takes a lot of training and practice for most of us. Our institutions and our habits have not prepared us to meet hate with love, but, King and others say that's the only thing that works.

The ACLU, an important civil rights institution, after earning kudos and praise for its strong defense of immigrants caught in the Donald Trump edicts a few months ago, has now, in some circles, become the toad for defending the rights of the racists to demonstrate and speak. Their point is that you cannot allow government to limit the speech of any group, vile as it may be. Limiting speech does not make the ideas go away. Often it pressure cooks the hate. 

Ted Rall, a victim of unemployment by association, reminds us that firing people for their beliefs is not the solution. So the "victories" of identifying the racists and getting them fired is not the way to end the racism or violence or hate. Unfortunately, public shaming for reprehensible behavior seems no longer an option for confronting and changing it. Especially when "leaders" like Trump and Scott Walker ("Trump can speak for himself") give that behavior a pass.

The solutions are not easy. It's not just condemning the vile, but somehow transforming the vile. How do we do that? I don't know.

There will be another vigil on August 27 led by the Interfaith Coalition of La Crosse. Maybe some ideas about strengthening our options and abilities to act and react in positive ways can be discussed.

In the meantime, connecting with local groups like SURJ and Shoulder to Shoulder and others can help to build a base of resiliency.


Here are a few resources that might help:
from Medium: Eight things we can do right now to help Charlottesville
from Mother Jones: Law enforcement playbook for keeping the next far-right protest in check
from The Leadership Conference: 10 Actions That You Can Take To Stop White Supremacy And Stand Up For Civil And Human Rights

Also, Madison Mayor Paul Soglin is calling for removal of city-owned monuments to Confederate soldiers in Madison's Forest Hills Cemetery