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INTERGENERATIONAL DIALOGUE ON RACE AND ACTION


"Lets Talk About Race Relations in Southeastern Wisconsin"

The Intergenerational Dialog Tool Kit is now Available!

“The key findings in the Public Policy Forum’s survey on race relations are crystal clear: All of the Milwaukee-area residents surveyed see race relations as important to the future of southeast Wisconsin and generally agree that the current climate is not good.

“So, what needs to happen to improve the region’s race relationship?” That was the last question on the survey and brought some provocative answers, including “a miracle,” “civil war,” “don’t let immigrants in” and “whites need to challenge other whites with relation to their prejudice.” However, most of those surveyed gave more optimistic answers that indicated personal responsibility for improving race relations was vital. More typical responses were “We need to sit down and learn about each other, instead of stereotyping each other,” and “People need to learn how to discuss race. There is a fear about talking about it and saying the wrong thing.”

These quotes from Race Relations impacting business, impeding progress, published by the Business Journal, December 1, 2006, show the need for residents from southeastern Wisconsin to come together in dialogue to identify action priorities to begin to solve this problem.

The writings and research of Neil Howe and William Strauss (Generations: the History of America’s Future, 1584 to 2069, Quill William Morrow, New York, 1991 and Millennials Rising, The Next Great Generation, Random House, Inc., New York, 2000), stress the need and show the benefits of approaching community issues from an intergenerational prospective. This is especially true relating to seeking input from the two newer generations, those born after 1964. In the case of addressing race relations, they are the experts. Too often youth and young adults are not invited to the table. The Intergenerational Dialogue and Action model developed by Dr. James Gambone, Ph.D. not only brings them to the table, but also brings them as equals with all other generations.

The intergenerational dialogue fits in well with one of the outcomes established by the Common Ground Initiative coordinated through the Interfaith Conference of Greater Milwaukee. It proposes a positive dialogue and understanding of racism and white privilege. The first Milwaukee Intergenerational Dialogue on Race and Action took place on Saturday, September 27, 2008. Sponsored by the Milwaukee Nonprofit Center and other co-sponsors*; this dialogue reached across every sector in our aging society and brought all the generations together to discuss and act upon an issue that continues to be at the core of many of the social and economic ills plaguing southeastern Wisconsin.

One hundred participants from the seven southeastern Wisconsin counties convened at the Italian Community Center to take part in a timely discussion on race relations using the Intergenerational Dialogue Tool created by James V. Gambone, Ph.D. Dr. Gambone facilitated the dialogue. Dr. Gambone’s methodology incorporates and promotes a mutually beneficial discussion that is based on two factors; first each generation has a unique and valuable perspective that must be included in discussing any issue or opportunity, and second that all generations need to be involved in solving community problems or creating community opportunities.

The 100 participants encompassed the five living generations (the youngest was twelve, the oldest ninty-eight) and reflected as much diversity as possible in the seven county region comprising men and women, ages 12 and older, representing the European, African, Asian, Hispanic and Native American cultures.

Summary of 9-27-08 Intergenerational Dialogue on race and action





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The Nonprofit Center of Milwaukee
2819 West Highland Boulevard
Milwaukee, WI 53208-3217
Phone: (414) 344-3933
Fax: (414) 344-7071
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