Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Grieve. And when the time comes, educate yourself and help prevent future tragedies

To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven.
Ecclesiastes 3
By Barbara J. Miner
In the initial days of shock after the August 5 shootings at the Sikh Temple in Oak Creek, there was only one appropriate response. Grief.
Milwaukee, an often-divided community, responded with one voice to condemn the carnage. 
In the coming weeks and months, however, the difficult and contentious question must be asked. How can we, as a society, help prevent such future tragedies?
There are no easy answers. But two issues that must be discussed are the disturbing realities of too much racism and too many guns in this country.

Following are organizations, locally and nationally, that provide educational resources on fighting racism and on promoting gun control. The list is by no means exhaustive, but provides a starting point.


The YWCA of Greater Milwaukee has a Racial Justice initiative and sponsors a range and anti-racist workshops. This October it begins its “Unlearning Racism: Tools for Action” workshops. 

Educators’ Network for Social Justice is a network of teachers in the Milwaukee area promoting “pro-justice curricula and policies.” Among its initiatives is an annual “Anti-racist Anti-bias Conference.”

The CLEaR Justice initiative of the Milwaukee Public Schools. The initiative is an advisory council within MPS to counter discrimination based on class, language, ethnicity and race. The website also lists a variety of local resources.

Teaching Tolerance, a project of the Southern Poverty Law Center, provides a range of resources for educators, community groups and parents. Among its resources is a magazine, free for teachers, and also available for free through its website. Its Spring 2011 issue provided a look at using social media to teach social justice.

Southern Poverty Law Center, which has provided much of the background for the media on Wade Michael Page.The center, based in Montgomery, Ala., was founded in 1971 “to ensure that the promises of the civil rights movement became a reality for all.” It provides educational resources, investigates and tracks hate groups, and is involved in lawsuits on issues ranging from abuse of prison inmates to defending the rights of disabled children.

Teaching for Change, based in Washington, D.C. provides resources for both teachers and parents.


The Wisconsin Anti-Violence Effort is Wisconsin’s leading grassroots organization “dedicated to reducing gun violence, injuries and deaths.” Founded in 1995, the group provides a variety of resources and links to other organizations.

The Brady Center to Prevent Gun ViolenceThe organization dates back to 1974, and was renamed in 2001 to honor Jim and Sarah Brady. Jim Brady is the former assistance to the President and White House Press Secretary under Ronald Reagan; he was permanently disabled during the assassination attempt on Reagan in 1981. Since then, the Brady’s have become ardent supporters of gun control. is an international organization providing information on guns. It includes information ranging from the worldwide gun industry to gun policies and statistics, country-by-country. The website is hosted by the Sydney School of Public Health in Australia.
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This blog is cross-posted  at the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel Purple Wisconsin project.

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