Wednesday, April 28, 2021

CJMC Seeks New Members

The County's Criminal Justice Management Council seeks community members to fill three open seats. According to County Board Chair Monica Kruse, "preference will be given to citizens who have felt the effects of the criminal justice system, have been active in promoting racial justice, have a strong interest in equity issues, or bring a diverse perspective. BIPOC, LGBTQ, and other marginalized community members are encouraged to apply."

Application letters are due by May 14. Include your name, address, phone number, and email address. Briefly state how your background qualifies you to serve on CJMC and how you will contribute to bettering our community. Email your letter of interest to or mail to: Monica Kruse, County Board Chair, 212 6th St. N., Room 2400, La Crosse, WI 54601.

We still have seen no tangible consequences for the person or persons who threatened and bullied a former CJMC member into resigning. It seems dealing with that lingering issue might be something the CJMC needs to address along with the City and the police chief. Applicants for these open seats might want assurances that the same thing won't happen to them

Response to complaints about that behavior have been lukewarm at best. One city council representative likened the actions to a teacher using her school email account to support a political campaign and claimed it was a "union issue" that couldn't be touched by the city. Maybe this person, too, was the recipient of police union bullying

As government employees, those serving in the criminal justice system must be held to professional standards, and, ultimately, must serve the needs of the community as defined by the community. It's clear that LTS of things need to be redefined.

Many cities are already rethinking how candidates for law enforcement positions are accessed and how communty needs can be best met by public employees. Here are a few examples:

The Washington Post recently published a whole series of articles about Reimagining Safety, including an excellent reflection on the personal qualities needed for a good "public safety" officer, by Cedric L. Alexander:

Legitimacy begins with the personnel our police agencies recruit. Most law enforcement organizations in the United States make hiring decisions based on such things as a clean criminal record, citizenship or naturalization documentation, possession of a driver’s license and a high school diploma or GED, performance on tests assessing cognitive skills and personality, adequate physical fitness, and the successful completion of training.

These are all important, but they leave out an essential element. Call it, if you will, heart.

By heart, I mean a deep empathy that prompts you to act — in the moment and righteously. In some four decades of work in law enforcement, I have seen heart work the miracles of service and valor police officers perform daily. I have also seen deficiency, corruption or absence of heart create the kind of tragedy and failure that killed Floyd and that marked much of what occurred at Capitol Hill on Jan. 6.

We don't have to keep doing things the way "it's always been." Many of the systems, assumptions, and practices we've inherited were set up originally to maintain an unjust, unfair, inequitable stays quo. The public has a right to define for itself what public employees will and will not do and to what end. Creative, passionate, courageous, knowledgeable, compassionate people on the CJMC and on other public boards and committees can make things better for all of us.

Tuesday, April 27, 2021

Show your support!

 From Cia Siab, Inc. Please support this great and needed community organization!

Cia Siab, Inc. is excited to host our first annual Khiav Rau Cia Siab Virtual 5K Run/Walk fundraiser to celebrate of Hmoob American Day on Friday May 14th, 2021. Due to the precautionary measures surrounding COVID-19, the run/walk will be virtual. What does this mean?! This means you can participate wherever you are on May 14th!

Registration is $30 per participant. This includes a race t-shirt designed and printed by Shoua Yang, a local Hmoob artist who runs CEEV TSEG PRESS. Register as an individual or put together a team of 4-6 people.


We can't wait to see you all rock these shirts! Make sure to take pictures of your run/walk and share with us using this hashtag #KhiavRauCiaSiabSpring21.


Help us reach our goal of $10,000!

Your donations make it possible for us to continue providing advocacy services to the Hmoob community in La Crosse, WI. Check out our website to learn about our programs and services!


We encourage individuals to fundraise $50 and teams to raise $200. Fundraisers can be created when you register. The TOP INDIVIDUAL and TOP TEAM fundraisers will receive special prizes for their hard work. These prizes have yet to be announced! Like us on Facebook for updates!

Friday, April 16, 2021

Your action needed

The Resolution, “Racism is a Public Health Crisis”, recently passed unanimously from the Health and Human Service Subcommittee of the La Crosse County Board.

The next step is crucial. The resolution needs to pass at the full County Board of Supervisors meeting on Tuesday, April 20th to become effective. 

Please consider emailing the County Board of Supervisors in support of the resolution, "Racism is a Public Health Crisis".   Even if you have contacted the Board prior to the earlier meeting, we encourage you to write again.

and/or your specific Board representative

La Crosse County Board Contact Information

 Note that public comment will not be allowed at this meeting. 

It is abundantly clear that racism is lethal to Black Americans as well as indigenous people and other people of color. It kills in obvious ways (e.g., acts of individual and police violence against BIPOC) and also by fueling more subtle socioeconomic conditions (e.g., inequitable access to education, housing, employment; bias in the judicial and criminal justice system) that, in turn, contribute to serious health issues such as increased risk of diabetes, stress, maternal mortality, hypertension, asthma, mental health conditions, and heart disease. These factors, along with other realities into which many BIPOC people are born and live, work, and play (i.e., the social determinants of health) are key drivers of unfair and unavoidable health inequities that, too often, result in illness and premature death. - Cornell Health, Cornell University, Racism as a Public Health Crisis initiative

Monday, April 05, 2021

Into the Fire

COVID-19 may be cooling, but not our climate. Last year, with major disruptions and shutdowns, it's estimated that overall global emissions dropped by seven percent. That's unprecedented. BUT, it's the very least that needs to happen every year for the next several years to have any chance of keeping the rise in the global temperature below 2 degrees (C). The LEAST. EVERY year.

But, who is talking about it? News reports about expected surges of happy families flying all over the Earth for their well-deserved vacations are rarely accompanied by stories about high greenhouse gas emissions from flying. Pictures of endless streams of cars headed off to the beach or the stadium are usually not paired with the statistics showing transportation-sector emissions, especially those from cars and light trucks, are leading the pack. 

We have to talk about it. 

Here's a start. 

  • On April 20 at 7 p.m., the Coulee Region Sierra Club, during its Meet the Sierra Club online Earth Week presentation, will talk about the climate action the Sierra Club is taking and how you can join them. 
  • On April 21 at noon (online), Casey Meehan of the Sustainability Institute at Western Technical College will talk about it and, more importantly, he'll talk about what we can do about it
  • On Saturday, April 24, from 2 to 5 p.m., several area EV (electric vehicle) owners will be at the City Hall parking lot to talk about how switching to EVs can make a real difference

We have to talk about it AND we have to demand that everyone talks about it, including our local media, especially TV local news, local newspapers, and local elected officials. THEY have to talk about it and connect it to everything else we do because EVERYthing we do, from idling in a fast food take-out lane for stuff grown and processed thousands of miles away to buying and throwing away fossil fuel-produced plastic to tearing down refurbishable buildings, has a climate consequence. 

Right now, the line between future habitability and toast is pretty thin.

And, while it's important that we each do what we can to live and model sustainable lives, much more important is getting systemic change at the community, state, and national level. 

"You argue people need to focus strategically on system change, but online bots are stirring up arguments over individual lifestyle choices. That said, you suggest there is too much emphasis on reducing meat, which is a relatively minor source of emissions compared with fossil fuels. Isn’t that likely to be divisive among vegetarians and vegans?

"Of course lifestyle changes are necessary but they alone won’t get us where we need to be. They make us more healthy, save money and set a good example for others. But we can’t allow the forces of inaction to convince us these actions alone are the solution and that we don’t need systemic changes. If they can get us arguing with one another, and finger pointing and carbon shaming about lifestyle choices, that is extremely divisive and the community will no longer be effective in challenging vested interest and polluters."

- "Climatologist Michael E Mann: 'Good people fall victim to doomism. I do too sometimes'" by Jonathan Watts, February 27, 2021, The Guardian (UK) 

Let's talk about it and demand that our leaders talk about it. Let's do something about it and demand our communities, institutions, and businesses do something about it.