Citizen Action Weekly
Citizen Action Weekly: Friday, March 22nd

Citizen Action Weekly: Friday, March 22nd

Friday, March 22nd

North Central Co-op set to celebrate 2 year Anniversary

The North Central Organizing Co-op is 2 years old. We want to celebrate! We will be meeting in Wausau, next Tuesday, March 26th at the First Universalist Unitarian Church, 504 Grant Street, Wausau, at 6 pm. We will celebrate our 2 year milestone with members. But, before we celebrate, we will have the privilege of watch via video conference State Rep. Katrina Shankland speaking to Co-op members and allies in Wisconsin Rapids. There, they will be having a planning meeting, to advance Medicaid Expansion in Wisconsin, and we will be able to see the opening of their meeting online!

Citizen Action’s Bright Futures Organizer, Supreme Omokunde, will also join both events. Supreme is focused on issues related to substance abuse, and Medicaid Expansion could help us work with affected people in ways that the market has failed to provide. Between 2000 and 2016 the opioid overdose rate in Wisconsin jumped 600% from 80 to more than 500. This is more than one death every day.  90% of those individuals began a substance use disorder before the age of 18. The “War on Drugs” has aided in the explosion of the prison population in rural and suburban communities the same way it had in urban areas for the past 20 plus years.

We want to live in a world where we ensure that Substance Use Disorder among our young people does not lead to adult addiction and overdose deaths and that they do not overpopulate the prisons as a result of a war on drugs.  We need the proper tools in order to take a step in this direction. SBIRT (Screening Brief Intervention and Referral to Treatment) has been proposed in the State’s Biennial budget for Universal Screening in all 422 School Districts in the State of Wisconsin.

Please join us in the Wausau area to learn how you can help with the SBIRT/Medicaid campaign!  You can RSVP here.

Make Calls for Judge Lisa Neubauer for State Supreme Court

If you haven’t used Open VPB before, click below:

The links to each area of the state are below and live!

Northcentral –
Northeastern –
Northwestern –
Southeast WI –

North Central Organizing Co-op Updates

The members of the Citizen Action of Wisconsin North Central Organizing Co-op have been very active all across the region. On Saturday, March 16th, Organizer Joel Lewis joined members of the 12th Senate District Democrats, Our Wisconsin Revolution, Citizens’ Climate Lobby and others committed to organizing collectively in Sen. Tom Tiffany’s Senate district. Joel spoke about the importance of accepting the federal funds to expand Badgercare, and got several commitments from folks to attend the Joint Finance Committee hearings. There were half a dozen Co-op members in attendance as well.

On Wednesday, March 20th, while Wausau School Board candidates participated in a forum, Marathon County Democratic Chair, Nancy Stencil and 2nd Vice Chair, Kody Hart, painted yard signs for 3 of the candidates. Nancy Stencil is also a Co-op member, and serves on the Co-op’s democratically elected Steering Committee.

Lastly, Oneida County Co-op member, and all around grassroots leader, Jackie Cody, worked with Steering Committee member Scott Kirby and others to put on a Fair Maps presentation. Matt Rothschild with the Wisconsin Democracy Campaign was the speaker, and the room was packed! This issue transcends party lines, and it is evident every time a meeting about Fair Maps is organized.

North Central Organizing Co-op member, Tricia Zunker, Speaks Out Against Culturally Insensitive candidate for Wausau School Board

In addition to being a Co-op member, and a Wausau School Board member, Tricia serves as an Associate Justice for the Ho-Chunk Supreme Court. She is a founding director of the Central Wisconsin Indigenous Peoples’ Day Committee and working hard on planning a pow wow for October of this year (there used to be a pow wow in Wausau many years ago) Tricia is also on the Board of Directors for the ACLU of Wisconsin and longtime law professor (12 years). Here is a statement from Tricia in regard to this issue:

“Yesterday, a video circulated of school board candidate L. Voigt Smith, dancing in a manner mocking Native American traditional dancing. A concerned constituent sent me the video. As a Ho-Chunk woman living in this community, I was shocked, saddened and angered by the video.  It also was triggering for me in regards to intergenerational historical trauma. Incidents like this reinforce tragic reminders of the genocide that occurred in our history, the forced assimilation of my grandmother and other relatives, the racism my father endured growing up here – well, it is just extremely troubling that people think our culture is a joke. We are not a joke.  The things mocked in the video – singing, dancing, drum – all have significant meaning. The drum is sacred to Native people. The particular dance steps have meaning. The “singing” in the video was pure mockery – we sing in our own languages, languages that barely survive due to forced assimilation. The dancing and singing we do today demonstrate our resilience. We are still here and we are not a joke. My own brother, Josh Zunker, is a traditional Ho-Chunk dancer. It is hurtful to know what he puts into his dancing to see someone not understand it and make fun of it.

School board members are decision-makers who must adopt policies that embrace diversity, inclusion and respect for all people.  School board members should not make fun of other cultures, and in fact, such an action would be violative of Wausau School District board member Code of Ethics (see WSD policy 8110 section regarding community responsibility).  I am concerned for all our minority communities as well as other vulnerable populations – they all need to be considered, respected and embraced in school board decision-making.

I actually spoke to Mr. Smith after the school board candidate forum hosted by the Wausau Pilot & Review on NTC earlier this week.  I addressed concerns I had regarding his mention of an “Indian talking stick” in his office.  It was concerning for two reasons. First, the reference seemed to erroneously consolidate all Native people together – there are 573 federally-recognized tribes in the country, each with their own culture, tradition, history, government and sovereignty. To assume that all Native cultures utilize a practice such as a “talking stick” is problematic as a result.  Secondly, while I am unaware of any specific tribes that utilize this practice, for any that do, it felt like cultural appropriation. I addressed these concerns with Mr. Smith and identified it as an opportunity for implicit bias training.  People may not intend to be hurtful and disrespectful, but it is the impact of one’s actions that matter.

So what good can come from this?  This video is extremely concerning to local Native Americans, some who have children in the Wausau School District, as well as allies of our community. As a founding director of Central Wisconsin Indigenous Peoples’ Day Committee, we are working very hard to plan a local pow wow which will be on October 12 & 13, 2019 at Wausau West High School. I encourage Mr. Smith and anyone else to attend the pow wow to learn more about different styles of dancing and hopefully appreciate Native cultures represented there, rather than make fun of them.   I also see this as an opportunity to remind our district and other local districts of the importance of Act 31, which requires education on all eleven (11) federally-recognized tribes in the state of Wisconsin in elementary school and high school. While Act 31 has been Wisconsin law since 1991, many districts do not meet the requirements. School boards must maintain a check on ensuring that the requirements of the law are met. It is indeed necessary to ensure Act 31 is met as a means to eradicate racism. When other populations learn the true history of Wisconsin Native Americans –and learn that we are still here — it creates a better understanding and reduces the likelihood of incidents such as this unfortunate video.”

You can see an interview on WAOW with Tricia Zunker in regard to this here and on Wausau Pilot & Review here.

The April 2nd elections are vitally important, as they help to shape the path forward for our communities. Not only do we need to get out to vote for Judge Lisa Neubauer for State Supreme Court Justice, but we need to be informed about our school board candidates and others. We cannot allow people like this Louis Smith to be elected! Keep an eye out, as we will be announcing some candidate endorsements next week!

Northeast Co-op Members Learn About Youth Substance Use and Strategize for JFC

On Tuesday, members in the Appleton area attended a presentation by our Bright Futures Organizer, Supreme Moore Omokunde, about the opiod crisis and how a youth substance prevention program called SBIRT can help address the root causes of this public health crisis. Afterwards members on our Health Care Committee met to strategize around the Joint Finance Committee’s budget hearing in Green Bay. We talked about collecting stories from the community about BadgerCare and hosting workshops throughout the coming month for members to learn and collaborate on writing their 2 minute testimony for the Joint Finance Committee.

Please contact Jolie Lizotte at [email protected] to join the campaign for BadgerCare Expansion in Northeast Wisconsin.

Save the Date: Northeast Co-op General Assembly Saturday April 13

The Northeast Co-op will be having it’s annual member General Assembly on Saturday April 13 from 11am-3pm at the Plumbers and Steamfitters Local 400 (2700 Northridge Dr Kaukauna 54130).

11am – noon will be a potluck/networking hour and then from 12-3pm we will be discussing the state budget and how to take action as well as how we can grow our co-op in preparation for 2020. Join us as we gather from across the northeast region to collaborate on our state budget priorities!

Child care will be provided. The event is open to everyone so please bring a friend! Register here today! Please share on Facebook.

Please contact Jolie Lizotte at [email protected] if you would like to be part of planning this event.

Advocate and Lobbying Training in De Pere
Monday March 25 at 5:30-8pm
Cassandra Voss Center
311 Grant St., De Pere

Citizen Action is teaming up with the Human Rights Campaign to put on a fun training to teach you the ins and outs of talking with legislators about the issues that matter to you in preparation of the upcoming state budget fight. This event is free and open to all – food and beverage will be provided. While we are not able to provide childcare, we welcome people to bring their kids along!

More information
Register here

Western Wisconsin General Assembly, April 6th,  10 AM- 1 PM

Join us for the Citizen Action of Western Wisconsin Organizing Co-op’s annual membership meeting. Celebrate three years of our Citizen Action Organizing Co-op in Western Wisconsin! Help us celebrate our co-op’s amazing achievements and learn how you can make a difference in 2019 and beyond. Our keynote address will be given by State Treasurer and Western Co-op member Sarah Godlewski. Members will also be electing candidates to openings on the steering committee during the assembly. Register here!

Plymouth UCC
2010 Moholt Drive
Eau Claire
10 AM- 1 PM

If you have any concerns or questions about the event, please contact your co-op organizer Noah at [email protected]

Co-op Members take Action in Western Wisconsin

It’s been a busy week in Western Wisconsin and our members have the energy to match!

Members Ann Francis and Noah Reif helped to facilitate canvasser training for new activists in Dunn County. They are eager to elect a slate of more progressive school board candidates!

Citizen Action is joining with the Wisconsin Public Education Network, ACLU, EXPO, WISDOM affiliate JONAH and other progressive organizations to organize around the state budget! Our coalition meets once a week and is constantly recruiting, training, and preparing to be at the JFC hearing in River Falls on April 15th.

Greater MKE Co-op Climate & Economic Justice Issue Team meeting

Join us, Wednesday, March 27th from 6:30 – 8:00pm at Citizen Action of Wisconsin, 221 S 2nd St, Milwaukee. The meeting will be in the ground floor conference room (enter from the rear of the building).

We will provide an update on what has been happening at the local level through the Milwaukee Climate and Economic Justice (MCEJC), of which CAW is a convening member. Consider how the issue team can support the work of the MCEJC. Discuss developments relating to climate concerns at the state level, and how we might want to become involved, including through coordination with CAW Co-ops in other parts of the state.

Radioactive will be meeting this coming Monday at The Community House (2266 N. 54th St. Milwaukee, WI 53210 at 6:30 pm – 8:00 pm. We will be talking about what’s next with Radioactive. Come join us as we discuss countering right-wing radio, talk about growing our membership through our house party model, and more importantly get the progressive word out.

Canvass for Milwaukee School Board candidate, Erika Siemsen, Saturday, 1 -3pm

Join us this Saturday, March 23rd, 1 – 3pm, 5519 W North Ave. State Rep. Evan Goyke & former Milwaukee School Board Pres. Peter Blewett will join us.

We will team up with the Wisconsin Working Families to knock doors for Citizen Action endorsed Milwaukee School Board candidate.

Erika is fighting for strong and vibrant public schools in our community where children have the support they need for emotional and physical wellness and academic success! Join us at Vennture Brew Co. as we knock doors for our future school board member!

“Scott Walker Alert” Battleground Wisconsin Podcast

This week we welcome Rebecca back! We discuss why Scott Walker is out touting a constitutional convention and the ramifications of such an event. The panel also discusses some of the bubbling-up 2020 electoral issues such as dumping the Electoral College, high school students fighting climate change, healthcare, student debt relief and much, much more.

Download MP3
Press Clips

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