WISDOM Updates

EXPO Events

posted Jun 15, 2017, 6:33 PM by Sophia Webmaster

One of the most exciting, powerful developments in WISDOM has been the emergence of EXPO, EX-Prisoners Organizing.  Our formerly-incarcerated brothers and sisters are committed to changing the way we see and talk about people with conviction histories, and they are leading the charge to transform our terribly flawed criminal justice system.  EXPO has given a tremendous boost of energy, passion and insight to WISDOM.  

Yesterday, EXPO leaders Mark Rice and Carl Fields did a great job on the Kathleen Dunn show on Wisconsin Public Radio.  You can access the interview HERE. 

We have some opportunities in the near future to support EXPO and the serious agenda they have helped lead us to:

Close the MSDF Campaign Launch
Thursday, June 29
5 - 7pm
MATC Room M605
700 W. State Street, Milwaukee
Download a flyer HERE.
Click HERE for more info.

EXPO Banquet
Friday, June 30
5:30 - 8pm
Ascension Lutheran Church
1236 S. Layton Blvd, Milwaukee
Download a flyer HERE.
Click HERE for more info.

If you'd like to support EXPO or any of the work of WISDOM, you can make a donation HERE.



Transportation Budget Call to Action

posted Jun 13, 2017, 12:42 PM by Sophia Webmaster

The Joint Finance Committee is still working on the new Transportation Budget. We want to make sure that the new budget works for everyone!

Please contact the following state legislators and your own legislators.  Be sure to include your address:  we want them to know of the support of people all around the state.  Please re-send your message regularly until the budget is finalized. Thanks.


Take action to create a transportation system that works for everyone in Wisconsin:

·      more money for Public Transit
·      more money for Specialty Transit for seniors and people with disabilities
·      more money for local roads
·      fund these important priorities by scaling back the huge highway projects that are not necessary
·      resist any attempts to remove public transit from the Transportation Fund.

Key Transportation Legislators:
Joint Committee on Finance

Sen. Alberta Darling


Rep. John Nygren
Rep. Dale Kooyenga


Sen. Luther S. Olsen


Sen. Leah Vukmir


Joe Malkasian


Stedman Step-Up Scholar for 2017 Named

posted Jun 7, 2017, 4:17 PM by Sophia Webmaster

June 5 marked the one-year anniversary of the passing of our dear friend, colleague and inspiration, John Stedman.  John was an outstanding community organizer and a man of deep religious faith.  John not only overcame the demon of addiction, but he turned his struggle into his greatest strength as he exuded hope and life.

To honor John's memory, scores of people made donations, large and small, to the Stedman Step-Up Fund.  The fund was established to pay the way each year for a Wisconsin person in recovery from addiction to participate in the Weeklong Leadership Training of the Gamaliel network.

The second recipient of the Stedman Step-Up Scholarship was announced last night, as the Chippewa Valley EXPO (EX-Prisoners Organizing) chapter - which John helped to establish - held its first-ever fundraiser. 

Congratulations to Stacey Acuna
, who will be attending the Weeklong Training that begins on June 25.  Stacey has shown commitment and dedication to growing the Chippewa Valley EXPO chapter since she joined in the fall of 2016.  She has also been active in attending both JONAH and WISDOM meetings and trainings.  She has recently taken on the role of local EXPO chair, and is participating in WISDOM's Race and Diversity planning team.

In 2018, Stacey will join Sarah Ferber (last year's Stedman Scholar) and Sharon Stedman (John's wife) to choose the next recipient.

As always, if you’d like to support EXPO or any of WISDOM’s projects, you can click here.

EXPO Update and Funding Request

posted May 23, 2017, 8:37 AM by Sophia Webmaster   [ updated May 23, 2017, 12:36 PM ]

Dear WISDOM Members and Friends:

June is going to be a huge month for EXPO (EX-Prisoners Organizing).

The week of June 25 will be the 2017 EXPO Weeklong Training at UW Parkside.  This will be the Gamaliel National Leadership Training, a highly-regarded intensive week designed for people who want to learn to be effective community organizers and leaders for change.  The June training will be especially for formerly-incarcerated people and for family members of men, women and youth in jail or prison.

In early June, we will announce the winner of the Stedman Step-up Scholarship for this year - a person in recovery who will be participating in the EXPO Weeklong Training.  This will be the second person attending Weeklong thanks to the fund that was established in honor of our friend, brother and exemplary community organizer, John Stedman, who passed away on June 5 of last year.  Last year's recipient, Sarah Ferber, is doing amazing work in Eau Claire, and because of her example we have six more people from tat area who want to come to training.

The EXPO Weeklong has given us a good problem.  We have a LOT of formerly-incarcerated people who have become active in EXPO and who want to become leaders in the movement. Besides the six from Eau Claire, we have at least 15 more from Milwaukee, Madison, the Fox Valley and Racine. Not many are able to pay the cost of the training, so we are doing what we can to raise some money so we do not squander any of their great talent, energy, and desire to be a force for positive change.

The last full day of the Weeklong Training, June 30, will also be the day of the first annual EXPO Awards Banquet, to be held at Ascension Lutheran Church in Milwaukee.  Tickets are $50, and all proceeds go directly to the EXPO organization.

If you are in a position to help with one of these events, your contribution would be greatly appreciated.  
 if you are willing and able to make a donation.  Be sure to note if you want to help sponsor an EXPO member for training, or if you want to be a sponsor for the banquet.

It is exciting to see the EXPO movement growing rapidly.  We are even expecting about a dozen people at the training from other states who want to build groups back home. Your assistance can help keep the momentum going.

Thank you.

Three Legislative Requests

posted May 15, 2017, 11:21 AM by Sophia Webmaster

As the state budget process moves forward, leaders of various WISDOM Task Forces and Work-groups are asking everyone to please contact your State Assembly Representative and State Senator.  To find out who your legislators are, or to get their contact information, click HERE.

We are asking you to share three simple messages in your own words.  If you do not feel comfortable with all three, you can contact them about one or two of the items.

1.  The Legislature has rejected Governor Walker's plan for Transportation, and have said they will make a completely new budget plan.  There are many things they are debating.  In the midst of all their debates, though, please ask legislators to include more money for PublicTransit, for Specialty Transit for seniors and people with disabilities, and for local roads.  They can fund these important priorities by scaling back the huge highway projects that are not necessary.  

2.  Rep. Michael Schraa has introduced a plan to establish a pilot program that would divert many people convicted of Operating While Intoxicated (OWI) into an intensive treatment program, rather than a five-year mandatory prison sentence.  The "WISGREAT" program would not only provide intensive treatment, but it would also provide transportation that would allow participants to keep their jobs during the 18 months they would be confined.

Ask legislators to support Rep. Schraa and the WISGREAT program, as well as increased funding for the TAD (Treatment Alternatives and Diversions) program.  Both programs save taxpayer money and help restore people to health and a place as productive, contributing members of society.  WISGREAT and TAD hold people accountable for their actions while providing a path for them to recover and make amends.

3.  About 3,000 people in Wisconsin prisons are eligible for parole.  Yet, the parole system has slowed to a snail's pace.  Many men and women who have served the time they were expected to serve by the judge who sentenced them, and who pose no threat at all to the community, are being held unnecessarily.  For unexplained reasons, the Governor has proposed the elimination of the Parole Commission, which we fear would slow the process even more.

Ask legislators to refuse to eliminate the Parole Commission.  Ask them to instead demand a complete review of the 3,000 parole-eligible prisoners, and the release of those who have met the expectations of the judges who sentenced them in the last century.

If you'd like to be part of a Task Force or Work-group to help with these important initiatives, contact us atwisdomforjustice@gmail.com.

Thank you.

Transportation Public Hearing, May 2

posted Apr 20, 2017, 5:55 PM by Sophia Webmaster   [ updated Apr 30, 2017, 1:09 PM ]


Transportation Public Hearing
Tuesday, May 2
7 - 8:30pm
Ascension Lutheran Church, 1415 Dopp Street, Waukesha (Waukesha Metro Route 6)

Representative Kooyenga (Brookfield and Wauwatosa) is tasked with putting together the revised state Transportation Budget. Your voice is more important now than ever! 

Join us to make sure the proposed state Transportation Budget includes:

    •    Public Transit
    •    Specialty Transit for Seniors and Disabled People
    •    Funding for local roads and maintenance

And, if you haven’t already done so, take the fun, interactive survey our partners in the Coalition for a More Responsible Budget have created.  You get to indicate your ideal transportation budget. It then reveals the budget from 2015 so you can compare your values to the current budget. 
Click here to take this survey and share your vision for Wisconsin's transportation system.

Survey results, the comments from Tuesday's Hearing, theOP-ED by WISDOM, SOPHIA and MICAH Presidents, (the Reverands Brisco, Kraemer and Miller) and the petitions signed by thousands of WISDOM members and others all around the state will be delivered to Representative Kooyenga and Joint Finance Committee Members.

EXPO Is Making a Difference

posted Apr 20, 2017, 2:35 PM by Sophia Webmaster

  • EXPO and WISDOM leaders were shocked recently to learn that the Wisconsin Department of Corrections (DOC) was using a training presentation that compared people on supervision to animals. Our organizing efforts led the DOC to remove the offensive images from their PowerPoint presentations. Thank you to all of you who contacted your legislators and local DOC officials and posted on social media regarding this matter. Click here to read an article about this.

  • The 2017 EXPO of Milwaukee Community Forum will be on Saturday, April 29 from 11:30 am to 3 pm at the Wisconsin Black Historical Society (2620 W. Center St., Milwaukee, WI 53206). Topics will include the Milwaukee Secure Detention Facility, crimeless revocations, and community-based alternatives to incarceration. Click here to RSVP and to read the bios of the panelists and presenters.
  • Here is the link to EXPO Radio:http://www.riverwestradio.com/show/expo-ex-prisoners-organizing/

  • Please consider making a financial contribution to EXPO. Your support will help EXPO advance our mission of ending mass incarceration, eliminating structural discrimination against formerly incarcerated people, and restoring formerly incarcerated people to full participation in the life of our communities. Clickhere to learn more about our work. 

    For information on how to become a Sustaining Member of EXPO, contact us at expogroupwi@gmail.com. To make a one-time contribution, click here.

Immigration Solidarity March, Tuesday!

posted Apr 17, 2017, 12:34 PM by Sophia Webmaster

Members of WISDOM affiliates will hold a March of Solidarity with Undocumented Immigrants to coincide with the visit of President Trump and Governor Ryan to Snap-On Tools, Kenosha.

Tuesday, April 18
9:30 am. 
St. Mary’s Lutheran Church, 2001 80th Street, Kenosha 
The march will proceed West toward Snap-on where President Trump and Governor Walker are planning to visit.

As people of faith, our vision is to build community in which everyone is treated equally. We lift up our undocumented neighbors who are struggling to build a better life for themselves and their families, many of whom are escaping unspeakable conditions in their countries of origin. We believe all children, including children of undocumented parents, deserve to feel safe. 

CUSH, RIC, MICAH, SOPHIA and other WISDOM chapters continue to advocate for reforms that reflect our values, and treat all immigrants and their families with compassion and respect.  

Participants are encouraged to bring patriotic flags, signs that speak to our faith values, and your WISDOM t-shirt if you have one. 

For more information, contact Sandy Milligan, 262-564-8223.

Madison Action Day pictures, and more next steps!

posted Apr 6, 2017, 5:49 PM by Sophia Webmaster   [ updated Apr 6, 2017, 5:50 PM ]

It has been a week since Madison Action Day 2017.  Click HERE to see some pictures from the day. If you were there, you might see yourself!  And, if you weren’t, you can see what you missed.

It was one of the largest and best such events we have ever had.  We are still working through the evaluations and the reports from the scores of legislative visits that were made.  It is already clear that the day made an impact.  While we don’t know the final outcome of any of the issues we presented, we do know that our concerns were heard and, apparently, taken seriously by some.  More striking is that participants obviously found great value in interacting with other WISDOM members, and feeling the power of belonging to such a large and diverse network of people of faith and good will.

Since Madison Action Day, more than 20 WISDOM members have offered testimony before the Joint Finance Committee in Platteville and West Allis regarding issues that are addressed in the budget.  There are still four more opportunities to make your voice heard by those who are working on the state budget for the next two years.  The remaining budget hearings are:

  • Friday, April 7 – Berlin High School (Berlin is sort of near Ripon)

  • Tuesday, April 18 – Spooner High School  (Spooneris between Eau Claire and Superior)

  • Wednesday, April 19 – Ellsworth High School (Ellsworth is in far west central Wisconsin)

  • Friday, April 21  Marinette High School (northwest of Green Bay)

The hearings all start at 10 am.  If you want to coordinate with other WISDOM people who might be going to the same hearing, call the WISDOM office at 414-831-2070and we’ll help you connect.

On Madison Action Day, many people were also inspired to be more involved in some of our Issue Workgroups.  Here are the times for upcoming conference calls:

  • Parole and Compassionate Release  Saturday, April 8 at 8:30 am
  • Transit  Monday, April 10 at 7 pm
  • Solitary Confinement  Tuesday, April 11 at 4 pm
  • Prison Prevention (TAD and 17 year-olds) –Tuesday, April 11 at 5 pm
  • Post-Release Issues (Revocations, etc.) –Thursday, April 27 at 7:30 pm

New members are welcome to join the groups.  Just dial in to 712-432-1601, and use the access code 423950#  The calls all take just an hour.  It is a good way to stay up-to-date on the issues, help fashion the next actions, and stay in touch with the others who share your values, concerns and hopes.

Great Madison Action Day! We're not done though!!!

posted Apr 1, 2017, 1:24 PM by Sophia Webmaster

800 WISDOM members gathered in Madison on March 30.  We were inspired; we learned a lot; we strengthened our diverse community of faithful people seeking justice; we shared our message with our elected officials.  From Dr. Alex Gee's powerful keynote address to Revs. Boyle, Brisco and Mattern's inspirational send-off, the day was packed with quality workshops, legislative visits, and amazing, powerful testimonies from our leaders.

There will be more to report from Madison Action Day in future communications.  But, today we need to focus on some follow-up steps that are coming up very soon!
  • The WISDOM Immigration Task Force, which was buoyed by tremendous enthusiasm from so many people from around the state looking to protect, educate and act on behalf of embattled immigrants, will have a conference call this MONDAY, April 3, at 7:30 pm.  The number to call is 712-432-1601, passcode 423950#  This is a great moment to get involved!
  • Also, on Monday, the legislative Joint Finance Committee will have its first Public Hearing of the season, at UW Platteville.  A group is going from Madison to each take their 2 minutes to share our concerns with this important budget-making committee.  If you can join us in Platteville on Monday morning, please do.  Call David Liners, 414-736-2099, for more information.
  • The second Joint Finance Committee Hearing will be Wednesday, April 5, at State Fair Park in West Allis.  We hope to have a strong showing from Southeast Wisconsin.  For more information, or to connect with others who intend to go to testify, call the WISDOM office, 414-831-2070.
  • The third Joint Finance Hearing will be Friday, April 7, at the Berlin High School. Berlin is about 35 miles west of Oshkosh.  Again, to connect with others who intend to make their voices heard in Berlin, call the WISDOM office.
  • Finally, next Saturday, April 8, at 8:30 am, the Parole and Compassionate Release Workgroup has their monthly conference call.  New members are welcomed and encouraged to attend. Call 712-432-1601, passcode 423950#.

We did a lot of good things on Madison Action Day.  This week, we have a lot of opportunities to keep the momentum going!

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