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WISDOM affiliates hold 2 powerful public events

Posted by: Gordon on 11/1/2014
The night before Halloween, Milwaukee's MICAH had an overflow crowd of 500 to celebrate big victories and hear from a governor candidate in the state's close-fought race at their annual meeting. The same night, Wisconsin’s Racine Interfaith Coalition and Kenosha’s Congregations United to Serve Humanity held a joint meeting of more than 200 to raise awareness of the multiple dimensions of poverty and their impact on communities in the state of Wisconsin.

Democratic gubernatorial candidate Mary Burke, U.S. Rep. Gwen Moore, and six state legislators pledged to meet twice per year with MICAH if elected, or re-elected, Tuesday. The event also featured a powerful, spoken-word performance by two young men who captured the reality and the emotion of the challenge of violence, mass incarceration and systematic deprivation of opportunity for young people in urban Milwaukee.

Also at MICAH's event, the group announced a major new initiative: it plans to hire another organizer who will work especially with young people in the group's 53206 initiative--a program to target resources to a city zip code that has the highest concentration of formerly incarcerated residents but lacks many resources to support them and others in the area. The group also celebrated a $13.5 million victory to establish bus routes from inner city Milwaukee to suburban areas where jobs are available.

Meanwhile in Racine, the group got fired up to make November 4 an opportunity to talk about poverty in Wisconsin.

"Tell the candidates for next week's election that people of faith in Wisconsin are scandalized by the reality of poverty in our state and we demand action for change," Rabbi Dena Feingold told the audience.

Citizen Action of Wisconsin presented a slideshow on the realities of poverty in the state, emphasizing a significant rise in the number of children living in poverty over the past five decades and community leaders underlined the specific challenges facing local communities, supported by powerful testimonies from two local women struggling to overcome those obstacles.

The call to action was a call to faithful citizenship, including the commitment to vote on Tuesday and to work together to change the systems that hold people, especially children, in poverty. Everyone in attendance was invited to sign a Voter Pledge Card and to sign WISDOM’s Faithful Citizenship open letter from people of faith to elected leaders, challenging them to enact policy to address the root causes of poverty.
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