WISDOM Updates

Still Time to Register for Madison Action Day, and EXPO Radio

posted Mar 23, 2017, 8:48 AM by Sophia Webmaster   [ updated Mar 23, 2017, 8:49 AM ]

March 30 is coming soon!  If you are not already signed up to be one of the 800 WISDOM leaders at the State Capitol next Thursday, now is the time to do it!  You can click HERE to register, or you can contact any local WISDOM organization.  Or, you can call the WISDOM office at 414-831-2070. Download a flyer HERE.

You can register right up until March 30, but if you are signed up before March 24, we can be certain that there will be a lunch for you, and a seat on the bus from whatever community you are coming from.

Madison Action Day is the one day every two years when people of faith gather from every corner of the state to learn, to be inspired and to act.  We will pray together; we will learn about state budget issues that matter; and we will be sure that our elected representatives know clearly WISDOM's values and priorities are.  You don't want to miss it!

Tonight will be the first installment of EXPO Radio!  EXPO (EX-Prisoners Organizing - a growing part of WISDOM).  EXPO Radio will be on the air every Wednesday evening from 8:30 to 9:00 pm, starting tonight!  The best way to listen is online at riverwestradio.com.  This will be a unique program: of, by and for formerly-incarcerated people.  Tune us in!  And, pass the word to others.  If you miss it live, you can come back later to hear it from the archive.

A message from WISDOM's President: Such a Time as This

posted Mar 20, 2017, 9:03 AM by Sophia Webmaster

When the WISDOM organization decided that it would forgo its former approach to the Madison Action Day for 2017, no one knew at the time that providence was being fulfilled. As an organization we simply wanted to streamline the message of the day and to give each particular issue the appropriate time and attention it deserved. Who could have imagined that the country would fall into the control of  leadership that has proposed and begun to carry out some very oppressive policies?  WISDOM and its affiliates were formed to combat and alert the people of its devastating consequences.

The scripture above is from the Old Testament book of Esther. Esther's uncle Mordecai suggested a providential reason for her becoming queen at this precise time in history; that is, Esther was acting as God's agent in delivering the Jewish people. Esther agreed to intervene with the king on behalf of her people. She fasted for three days in order to seek God's guidance through prayer at this critical juncture. Esther's ability to look beyond her needs saved a multitude.

During this period of Lent many of our faiths make a pledge of repentance, contemplation, and sacrifice. We look beyond our needs in order to identify with and get in concert with the creator. We have an opportunity and a charge to make a statement in Madison on Thursday, March 30th. 

As President and member of WISDOM, I strongly ask each of our affiliates and all the membership to pray, meditate, and reflect on building for a powerful gathering. Who knows whether you have come to the kingdom for such a time as this?

We are still accepting registrations.  Bus transportation is available from many of our affiliate organizations: contact your organizer for details. You can register on line here, or download a registration flyer to mail in here.

Just Two Weeks Until Madison Action Day!

posted Mar 17, 2017, 6:33 PM by Sophia Webmaster

The excitement for Madison Action Day on March 30continues to build!  As of the end of the day March 15, nearly 450 people had signed up for the big event.  WISDOM leaders expect that number to be more than 800 by the time we all meet at Bethel Lutheran Church onMarch 30.

Registration will remain open until the event itself onMarch 30.  We are, though, asking everyone to do their best to have people signed up by Friday, March 24. That is the day we need to have a number for lunches.  If you will be coming on a bus, your local organization will need to know how many people need seats.

You can get details and register online HERE, or you can register through any local organization in the WISDOM network, or you can download a registration flyer HERE.

March 30 promises to be an inspirational and educational day.  We will deal with issues of criminal justice, public transportation, health care, education and jobs.  WISDOM will also take a stand in solidarity with the Menominee Nation as they fight against an open pit sulfide mine in their ancestral home.

Madison Action Day 2017:  Be inspired, be educated, be visible, be heard.  BE THERE!

Issues for Madison Action Day on March 30

posted Mar 12, 2017, 7:24 AM by Sophia Webmaster

There will be Breakout Groups dealing in-depth with 11 different issues at the WISDOM Madison Action Day on March 30.  They are:
  • Treatment Alternatives and Diversions (TAD) - seeking more resources for alternatives to incarceration.
  • The Second Chance Act - which would move most 17 year-olds back to the juvenile justice system (currently, Wisconsin is one of a few states that treats all 17 year-olds as adults).
  • Solitary Confinement - pushing for continued reduction of the use of solitary confinement, and investment in mental health programs in prisons as alternatives to it.
  • Crimeless Revocations - calling on the state to stop sending people on Supervision back to prison for mere rule violations if they have not committed a new crime.
  • Parole and Compassionate Release - rather than end the parole board, restore real opportunities for the many parole-eligible people in prison to earn their release.
  • Transitional Jobs - calling for greater investment in a very successful program that provides jobs for people who have been unemployed for a long time.
  • Transit - working to increase the resources dedicated to public transportation, to invest equitably in people who do not drive cars.
  • Immigration reform - standing in solidarity with immigrants in this very difficult time
  • Back Forty Mine - standing with the Menominee people to oppose a sulfide mine on their ancestral lands (which include burial mounds) which also poses a threat to our rivers and Lake Michigan.
  • Health Care As a Human Right - working to ensure that health care coverage is not lost for people in Wisconsin, but rather that it is expanded.
  • Education - this workshop will be led by students, dealing with their needs and hopes.
Please remember that we want as many people as possible to register for Madison Action Day by this coming Wednesday, March 15.  We want to have a good initial sense of who is coming so we can start to plan for space, food and materials.  We will continue to accept registrations after that date, but people should be advised that we may not be able to have lunches for people who register after March 24.  You can register online HERE, or through any WISDOM organization, or download a flyerhere and mail it in to the WISDOM office.


Bethel Lutheran Church
312 Wisconsin Ave, Madison, WI

  8:00 Breakfast and Networking at the Church 
  9:00 Welcome, Prayer, Plenary, Workshops, Strategy Sessions
12:00 Lunch, Visits with legislators about proposed state budget issues
4:00 Closing event at the Capitol.

$25 includes breakfast, lunch and materials

Support Public Transit at Madison Action Day

posted Mar 8, 2017, 2:31 PM by Sophia Webmaster

Support Public Transit by Signing Our Petition

One of the issues that we will be addressing at Madison Action Day on March 30 is Public Transit. 

Creating a transportation system that works for everyone in Wisconsin and uses our tax dollars responsibly starts by getting our spending priorities straight. We have to spend less on costly highway expansion programs and more on urgent needs, like maintaining existing roads and connecting people to jobs and opportunities through more cost-effective public transportation.

Urge Governor Walker and Wisconsin Legislators to cut spending on highway mega-projects and invest instead in local needs - like repairing existing roads and funding public transit that connects workers to jobs and a growing number of seniors and people with disabilities to services and opportunities. 

Sign our petition for a more responsible transportation budget: c
lick here. WISDOM leaders will take your name along to Madison Action Day on March 30 to show support for a Responsible Transportation Budget!

Theme, Keynote Speakers for Madison Action Day

posted Mar 6, 2017, 12:54 PM by Sophia Webmaster

The theme for WISDOM's March 30, 2017 Madison Action Day will be "Our State, Our Budget, Our Voice."

We are very pleased to announce that we will have two keynote speakers this year.  They are:

  • Rev. Alex Gee:  Rev. Gee is the pastor of Fountain of Life Covenant Church in Madison.  He is the founder and CEO of the Nehemiah Center for Urban Leadership.  Rev. Gee is also the founder and visionary behind Madison's "Justified Anger" movement.
  • Ms. Lisa Graves:  Ms. Graves is the Executive Director of the Center for Media and Democracy (CMD), and the publisher of PRVwatch.org, ALECexposed.org, SourceWatch.org and other investigative sites.  CMD is a national watchdog group, investigating and exposing the undue influence of corporations in public policy,  Ms Graves and CMD had a key role in the Netflix Documentary "13th".

To sign up for Madison Action Day, click HERE , or register with any local WISDOM organization.  A flyer with details is HERE.

Day of Empathy Comes to Wisconsin

posted Feb 25, 2017, 10:04 AM by Sophia Webmaster

#CUT50, a bipartisan national organization, founded by Van Jones and endorsed by Newt Gingrich and others, has called for Wednesday, March 1, 2017 to be a "Day of Empathy" across the country.  #CUT50, which is calling for a 50% reduction in the incarcerated population in the US, is sponsoring events in all 50 state capitols.

WISDOM and EXPO will be joining with Matt Haney, national leader of CUT50 on Wednesday, March 1.  Members of EXPO will be sharing their experiences of incarceration and of return from incarceration.  Legislators and staff have been invited to share in the 1-hour event.

Wednesday, March 1
1:00 pm 
State Capitol, room 412E

EXPO members from around the state will be meeting at 11 am on March 1 to strategize, prepare and connect with #CUT50 organizers.  For more information, or to learn about transportation plans from different parts of the state, contact Jerome Dillard at 608-320-0188, or David Liners at414-736-2099.

Please join us!

Time to Register for Madison Action Day!

posted Feb 8, 2017, 7:10 PM by Sophia Webmaster

WISDOM's Madison Action Day will be on Thursday, March 30, 2017.  Join us as more than 900 people are expected to take part in a day of inspiration, education, solidarity and action.  People will be coming to Madison from all parts of the state.  We will have breakout sessions on various issues related to Criminal Justice Reform, Transit, Immigration, Jobs, the Environment, and more.  And, we will visit our representatives to the state legislature to let them know our concerns and priorities.

You can register online, or you can sign up through any local WISDOM organization.  There will be buses from Green Bay, the Fox Valley, Eau Claire, Milwaukee, Waukesha, Wausau, Kenosha, Beloit, and Racine.

Madison Action Day will begin at Bethel Lutheran Church (312 Wisconsin Avenue).  Doors will open at 8:00 am for a light breakfast and fellowship.  The organized event begins at 9:00 am.  In the afternoon, we will proceed to the Capitol for legislative visits and other activities.  We will be finishing back at Bethel by 4:00 pm.

The cost for the day, including lunch, will be $25. Scholarships are available for those who need one.  We hope everyone will be able to join us.  If you cannot attend, you could help pay the cost for a low-income person to participate.

To learn more, to register for the day, or to make a contribution, please visit WISDOM Madison Action Day registration.

Now, more than ever, it is time for us all to make our voices heard.

Help Stop the Back Forty Mine!

posted Feb 8, 2017, 7:26 AM by Sophia Webmaster

All who are concerned about respect for all faith traditions and all who care about our fragile environment are invited to get involved in an important struggle.

The land that is most sacred to the Menominee Tribe is threatened with desecration. Plans are underway to turn the pristine forest into a gaping, open pit mine that would threaten to contaminate land and rivers in Michigan and Wisconsin.

At their annual retreat, WISDOM leaders voted unanimously to make it a priority to stand with our brothers and sisters of the Menominee Nation in opposition to the planned “Back Forty” sulfide mine that would be built right on the land where the Menominee creation story takes place, a land with dozens of cultural and burial sites. The pit would come to within 50 yards of the Menominee River.

Please join in a prayer service to stand with the Menominee and against the Back Forty Mine:
Saturday, February 11
11:30 am
Stephenson Island, Marinette, WI
For more information, contact WISDOM organizer Guy Reiter at anahkwet@gmail.com.

Whether or not you can make it to Marinette on the 11th, let us know if you would be willing to be part of a statewide group that will learn, strategize and act on this important issue. WISDOM is in the process of forming a statewide “Environmental Task Force,” which will focus on the Back Forty Mine issue.

Finally, this issue will be one of the areas we will deal with at WISDOM’s Madison Action Day on March 30. The proposed mine is actually just across the state line into Michigan. The Menominee River is the border. Still, Wisconsin cannot be allowed to stay out of the process. Toxic byproducts that seep into the river flow into Wisconsin, eventually down to Green Bay. Not only are Wisconsin’s natural resources endangered by the mine, but Wisconsin’s first residents are directly and seriously harmed.

We cannot stand by idly and claim it is not our problem.Download a flyer for the Back Forty Prayer Vigil here.
Download a flyer for Madison Action Day here.

It's Time to Close the Milwaukee Secure Detention Facility

posted Feb 2, 2017, 1:41 PM by Sophia Webmaster

In 2015, Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker said that “incarcerating people for relatively low offenses is not a significant issue in the state of Wisconsin”. Actually, it is a huge problem. 

It is time for Governor Walker to face the fact that crimeless revocation – the practice of re-incarcerating people on probation, parole, and extended supervision for minor rule violations – is more than significant. It is a failed policy, a waste of money, and an embarrassment to Wisconsin. 

A new Health Impact Assessment demonstrates that Wisconsin incarcerated 3,000 people for crimeless revocations in 2015. 

In 2001, the state of Wisconsin built the Milwaukee Secure Detention Facility to house people who have allegedly violated rules of probation, parole, and extended supervision. This facility is used to unnecessarily incarcerate thousands of people who have not been convicted of new crimes.

James Wilborn, who was an EXPO leader, died in Milwaukee Secure Detention Facility during the summer of 2015. The extreme heat at MSDF was a factor in his death, as was his inability to obtain medications that he needed there. He should have never been incarcerated there. 

Problems facing people incarcerated at MSDF include extreme heat, poor ventilation, no outdoor recreation, being locked down for 22 hours a day, no in-person visits, and other abuses. All of this is for people who have not been convicted of new crimes and in most cases have not even been charged with new crimes. 

It is time for Governor Walker to close MSDF!

Please sign a petition to close the MSDF.  Click here.


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