2021 Events and Activities

                                                               

Ongoing Reports:

Founded in 1970, the Interfaith Conference of Greater Milwaukee is a 50-year-old nonprofit organization through which the regional leaders and adherents of 22 member faiths and denominations:

  • Dialogue to build personal relationships
  • Conduct public programming to counter hate and fear while fostering interfaith, intercultural and interracial understanding, tolerance and friendship
  • Work together on hunger, unemployment, environmental challenges and other social issues to create a better society for everyone

We also work closely with several nonmember faiths.

As the United States has become increasingly religiously diverse, we have been at the forefront of efforts to counter misunderstanding, fear, anxiety and hate while fostering interfaith, intercultural, and interracial understanding, tolerance and friendships across county and city-suburban lines. 

Our various activities and programs include:

  • Committee for Interfaith Understanding that builds a better society amid growing diversity by conducting educational programs and bringing people together from a wide array of faith traditions to counter hate, fear, anxiety and bias by fostering understanding, tolerance and friendship.
  • An Amazing Faiths Dinner Dialogue Program that brings people of different faiths, philosophies, races and cultures together in private homes or intimate institutional settings for a vegetarian meal and a moderated dialogue about their lived experience of faith/philosophy. Our appreciative listening process evokes deep sharing. People can come to just one dinner, or more, as guests, hosts or trained moderators. 
  • An Interfaith Earth Network of Southeastern Wisconsin (IEN) whose mission is to inspire and support people of all faiths and faith communities to care for Earth based on their sacred teachings. Through education advocacy, actions and networking, IEN is a catalyst for congregations and people of faith to live, work and worship in environmentally sustainable ways.
  • An annual Tuesdays-in-March Luncheon Lecture Series organized by our Peace & International Issues Committee that addresses compelling local, regional and international issues. .
  • An Interfaith Restorative Practices Coalition that we convene and which provides a forum for sharing and collaboration by representatives of eight agencies and institutions that use principle-driven restorative practices to heal individuals and communities affected by crimes and other harmful acts. They also help congregations work through difficult internal issues. 
  • Co-sponsorship of a biennial People of Faith United for Justice advocacy day in Madison with the Wisconsin Council of Churches and other organizations that draws up to 1,000 people from across the state to focus on issues related to the proposed Wisconsin state budget and to meet with legislators.
  • Representatives on 9 area boards and commissions
  • And more.....The timeline below provides a great summary:      

 

                                Events and Activities in 2021                                 
Interfaith Advocacy

April 21, 2021 - Interfaith Vigil at 7pm, the Gurduara in Brookfield held a candlelight vigil in remembrance of the victims of the Indianapolis shooting and to convey heartfelt condolences for their loved ones.
While every shooting is tragic, the shooting at the FedEx facility hit close to the heart of American Sikhs.  A prayer for: Matthew R. Alexander, 32;  Samaria Blackwell, 19;  Amarjeet Johal, 66;  Jaswinder Kaur, 50;  Jaswinder Singh, 68;  Amarjit Sekhon, 48;  Karli Smith, 19;  and John Weisert, 74. In attendance at the vigil:  Oak Creek Sikh Temple President, Sukhwinder Singh Nagra, Brookfield Sikh Temple President Dr. Dilip Singh, Brookfield Sikh Temple, Anup Singh, Sikh Interfaith Cabinet, Dr. Swaranjit Singh Arora, Hindu Temple of Wisconsin Cabinet, Sarvesh Geddam, ELCA, Interfaith Executive, Bishop Paul Erickson, Interfaith Chair, Episcopal Diocese, Rev. David Simmons, Church of Latter-day Saints, Interfaith Cabinet, President Ken Elbert, AAPI Coalition of WI, Alexa Alforo, AAPI Coalition of WI, May yer Thao, ISM Brookfield, Imam Noman Hussain, BEGIN Interfaith, Pr. Kris Androsky, Interfaith Conference, Pardeep Kaleka

March 30, 2021 - A Call to Action. Over the past 2 weeks, the AAPI Coalition has been calling for the increased attention to targeted anti-Asian violence. The Interfaith Conference of Greater Milwaukee and our faith leaders are honored to work alongside the AAPI community to call for policy and legislative actions that build safe, inclusive, and loving communities. We are encouraged by the statewide and national call to action against rising hate. News coverage of Stop Asian Hate Rally

March 30, 2021 - Nonviolence: An Interfaith Conversation. Grateful to our friends at St. Norbert College and the Wisconsin Institute for Peace and Conflict Studies. Panelist included Interfaith Conference Executive Director, Pardeep Singh Kaleka. Presentations from three advocates of nonviolence, each describing the contribution of faith traditions to their perspectives. Included David Mueller, former resident of The Catholic Worker and co-founder of the Dorothy Day Canonization Network, and Jim Handley, certified Kingian nonviolence trainer and Senior Lecturer in Peace Studies at UW Stout.

March 26, 2021 - National Day of Action and Healing virtual zoom event at 5:30- 6:30 by the AAPI Coalition.  Participants included Interfaith Conference Executive Director,  and co-chair of the APPI Coalition, Pardeep Singh Kaleka.

March 25, 2021 - Until the Flood/Voices of Gun Violence adult and youth virtual panel discussions surrounding gun violence.  Panelists share their stories of pain and resilience around gun violence. Voices of Gun Violence is a living archive of stories of gun violence that seeks to share stories of pain and resilience to promote healing, understanding and community action. The program is a collaboration with UW-Milwaukee, Mothers Against Gun Violence and Carroll University. The Milwaukee Rep created two virtual panel discussions via Facebook Live and YouTube Live to amplify participant stories from Voices of Gun Violence and Mothers Against Gun Violence in conjunction with the play “Until the Flood.” On March 25 at 7pm CT, which will include a discussion with panelists Keyon Jackson-Malone, Interfaith Conference's Executive Director, Pardeep Singh Kaleka, Jasmine M. Moore, Kristina Paris and Colette Shumpert, moderated by Debra Gillispie.

Tune in for our first event on March 25 at 7pm CT, which will include a discussion with panelists Keyon Jackson-Malone, Pardeep Singh Kaleka, Jasmine M. Moore, Kristina Paris and Colette Shumpert, moderated by Debra Gillispie.

March 18, 2021 - Thursday at 5pm at Milwaukee’s City Hall, members of the Asian American Pacific Islander Coalition gathered with leaders from the Hmong American’s Women’s Association, Milwaukee Chinese Cultural Center, United Lao Educational Development, Janette Braverman, President of Ozaukee County NAACP, Earnell Lucas, Milwaukee County Sheriff, Reggie Moore from the Office of Violence Prevention, Angelito Tenorio, Alderman of West Allis, singer Caroline Gasao, Francesca Hong, State Rep. of District 7, Darryl Morin, president of Forward Latino, and faith leaders from Interfaith Conference of Greater Milwaukee, Rev. David Simmons, Bishop Paul Erickson (ELCA), Rev. Jennifer Nordstrom, Rev. Reirin Gumbel, Rabbi Moishe Steigmann, Imam Noman Hussain, and many more to denounce and condemn the race and gender driven shootings in Atlanta, GA on Tuesday where 8 lives were lost, 6 of which were Asian women. The AAPI Coalition formed last April because of the increasing attacks and hate fueled incidents toward the Asian American community nationwide since the start of the pandemic. 3800 have been reported but there are many more that are not reported.

Jan 7, 2021 - Interfaith Conference issues a statement condeming the assault on the nation's capital and calling for a peaceful trasition of power from the previous administration to the next one.  Also calling upon the leadership of our country to speak in clear terms for the cessation of violence and the honoring of our Constitutional process.
Read full statement

Jan 7, 2021 - Comments from our Interfaith Conference of Greater Milwaukee’s Executive Director, Pardeep Singh Kaleka and Archbishop Jerome Listecki, cabinet member of IFCGM.
Read and Watch Interview on Fox News

 

Outreach, Presentations & Representation

April 28, 2021 - Faith Friendly Allies Lunch and Learn encore presentation with Mark Denning. "Resilient & Strong: Narive Americans Faiths. An ongloing collaboration with Rockwell Automation for their employees to learn about faith diversity over the lunch hour.

April 15, 2021 - Equal Rights Commission's, Lunch and Learn program "Understnading the Muslim Faith", featuring Janan Najeeb and Othman Atta, moderated by Interfaith Conference's Executive Director, Pardeep Kaleka. To view the Lunch and Learn "Understanding the Muslim Faith" program

April 14, 2021 - 12pm CT  "The People vs Hate: Standing Up For Humanity" an event hosted by the Attorney General Karl A. Racine and the National Association of Attorney Generals on the 2021 Presidential Initiative to address the rise of hate. We will discuss legal solutions to prevention and how to better support victims and survivors of targeted violence. Joining the discussion was Susan Bro, Heather Heyer Foundation, Jeffery Meyers, Tree Of Life Synagogue, Jeff Binkley, Maura's Voice, and Rev. William H. Lamar, Metropolitan African Methodist Episcopal Church and Interfaith Conference Executive Director,  and co-chair of the APPI Coalition, Pardeep Singh Kaleka. We will discuss legal solutions to combat and prevent hate and how to better support victims and survivors of targeted violence in an ongoing campaign on violence. https://www.naag.org/.../the-rise-of-hate-and-its-deadly.../ 

April 8, 2021 - Interfaith Conference of Greater Milwaukee presents, "Interfaith Engagement in Milwaukee: A Brief History of Christian-Muslim Dialogue" with authors Professor Dr. Irfan Omar, Kaitlyn Daly, student researcher, Sundus Jaber, Founder and President of Milwaukee Muslim Women’s Coalition, Janan Najeeb. The discussion was moderated by Interfaith Conference's, Executive Director, Pardeep Singh Kaleka and Program Director, Cherrie Hanson. Click to watch the "Interfaith Engagement" dialogue on Facebook

March 11, 2021 - "Hidden Bias of Good People" aired on TMJ4 at 8pm. As part of its commitment to public service that inspires hope and change, TMJ4 News will aired a commercial interruption-free special to spark a dialogue around implicit bias and how these mindsets affect our everyday lives in shaping worth, dignity, and lack thereof. Some within our Interfaith family have been able to view parts of this special that will help inform our commitment to addressing religious, racial, ethnic, gender, age, and eco and systems justice going forward. The hour long special, “Hidden Bias of Good People,” was hosted by Bryant T. Marks, Ph.D., founder and chief equity officer of the National Training Institute on Race and Equity. The special was interactive and conversational, with a goal of helping viewers understand the unconscious biases we all carry based on our upbringings and environments. Implicit, or unconscious, bias refers to attitudes and beliefs that occur outside of our conscious awareness and control. Dr. Marks, was joined by Interfaith Conference Executive Director, Pardeep Singh Kaleka, Dr. Kweku Smith and friend Shalina Ali in a panel hosted by Shannon Simms and Steve Shamraz around local issues of bias. 
Watch the entire program, "Hidden Bias of Good People"  

Feb 1, 2021 - Pardeep Singh Kaleka was one of six Honorees chosed for the first-ever Milwaukee Magazine Unity Award.  The award honors those in our community working tirelessly to bring us all together.  The inaugural Unity Awards virtual event on Feb 25, 7:30 - 9:30am included a panel discussion with the honorees and a keynote speech from featured guest Rev. Nontombi Naomi Tutu. To read the full article: Unity Awards Article

Jan 17, 2021- On the eve of January 17th, we honored and appreciated the life of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.  This was a Milwaukee/North Shore Family event sponsored by the Local Spiritual Assembly of the Baha'is of Milwaukee, in collaboration with the Interfaith Conference of Greater Milwaukee, From The Same Dust, United Methodist Church of Whitefish Bay, Christ Church (Episcopal), Old Saint Mary's, Congregation Shalom, Our Lady of Divine Providence (Riverwest), Unitarian Church North, Saints Peter and Paul, Three Holy Women Catholic Parish, Saint Eugene Congregation (Fox Point). We celebrated with word, song and video the Faith and Vision of MLK by sharing these universal truths: Oneness of Mankind, Unity, Justice, and Service
39 presenters who gave their time and talent to make this MLK program special: Kathy Wurzer, Baha'is of Southeastern Wisconsin, Brent Arnold, Congregation Shalom, Lucy Norris, Kari Karth, Amira Randolph, United Methodist of Whitefish Bay, Aidan Saeian, Baha'i Faith, Mary McEllistrem, St. Eugene's Congregation, Rev. Christie Melby-Gibbons, Moravian Church, Kate Mitchell, Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Rabbi Noah Chertkoff, Congregation Shalom, Rabbi Rachel Kaplan Marks, Congregation Shalom, Glenda Battle, Baha'i Faith.Annemarie Adsen, The Religious Society of Friends, The Milwaukee Meeting, Isabella, Derek and Karissa Brown, Gideon and Frankie Thurow, Ben and Rubi Kastenmeier, Unitarian Church North, Father John Baumgardner, Catholic Church, Vernetta Jefferson, United Methodist of Whitefish Bay, Rev. Dr. Lisa Bates-Froiland, Redeemer Lutheran. David Noll, Baha'i Faith, Rev. Tony Larsen, Unitarian Church North, Ken Elbert, Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Rev. Oswald Bwechwa, Christ Church Episcopal, Rev. Dr. John Walton, Jr., Calvary Baptist Church of Milwaukee, Bill Alhauser, Baha'i Faith, Arya Saeian, Baha'i Faith, Nathaniel Bratchett, Baha'i Faith, Pardeep Singh Kaleka, Sikh Temple of WIsconsin, Rev. Edwin Leidel, Christ Church Episcopal, Sarvesh Geddam, Hindu Temple of Wisconsin, Sarih Leng, Baha'i Faith, Rev. Dr. Matt Hadley, United Methodist of Whitefish Bay, Pastor Janet Hartzell, United Methodist of Whitefish Bay, Leigh Hoftiezer, Unitarian Church North, Miryam Rosensweig, Milwaukee Jewish Federation

Jan 17-20, 2021 Sunday, Jan 17th - Wednesday, Jan 20th  9:30am -10:20am broadcasted live on Facebook and recorded "Praying Through The Presidential Transition:  A Wisconsin Interaith Response to Violence" vigil program.  We gathered in unity desiring a peaceful transition of power. Each day at 9:30 am, speakers of different faith traditions expressed their prayers, readings and reflections during a 50 minute event.  Co-sponsors were Wisconsin Council of Churches, Interfaith Conference of Greater Milwaukee, MICAH, Wisconsin Voices for Justice, WISDOM and regional affiliates CUSH, ESTHER, MOSES, RIC, SOPHIA, NETWORK and Faith in Public Life. Themes and speakers were:
Sunday, Jan 17th:  "Finding Strength When We Are Fatigued" Barbara Murray - Charging Crow and Delbert Charging Crow (Ocerti Sakowin Tribe, Lakota Tribe), Rev. Michele "Mimi" Maki (Emmaus Ecumenical Catholic Community of Oshkosh),
Fr. Yeprem Kelegian (Armenian Church/Racine Interfaith Coalition), Imam Noman Hussain (Islamic Society of Milwaukee)
Monday, Jan 18th:  "What Needs Protection", Mark Denning (Oneida Tribe), Rev. Reirin Gumbel (Milwaukee Zen Center/Buddhist Peace Fellowship), Rev. Marilyn Miller (MICAH),Rev. Karen Armina (James Reeb Unitarian Universalist Congregation)
Tuesday, Jan 19th:  "Healing, Accountability, and Responsibility", Rev. Jake Czarnik-Neimeyer (Emmaus Ecumenical Catholic Community), Sister Joan Durst (Sinsinawa Dominican), Rev. Walter Lanier (MICAH), Pastor Chuck Flugel (East Central Synod ELCA)
Wednesday, Jan 20th:  "Holding Space for Community", Rabbi Jonathan Biatch (Temple Beth El, Madison), Sarvesh Geddam (Hindu Temple of Wisconsin), Rev. Joseph Jackson Jr. (Friendship Baptist Church, MICAH), Pardeep SIngh Kaleka and Cherrie Hanson (Interfaith Conference of Greater Milwaukee) Watch live on Facebook at Wisconsin Council of Churches or watch post-recorded event @InterfaithConference.org or @WisconsinCouncilofChurches 


Amazing Faiths Project and Dinner Dialogue Program

April 27, 2021Amazing Faiths Earth Circles in collaboration with Interfaith Earth Network and Wisconsin Green Muslims to celebrate Earth Month and honor Water.  Since the Amazing Faiths Dinner Dialogue has been paused due to the covid pandemic, we wanted to adapt a virtual version, (without the sharing of a meal) dinner, utilizing the core concept of appreciative listening. Cherrie Hanson, Program Director of the Interfaith Conference and the Amazing Faiths Project program,  worked alongside members from the Interfaith Earth Network Steering Committee, Huda Alkaff, Dianne Dagelen, Linda Sheridan and Katie Heinen.  Huda Alkaf is the founder of WI Green Muslims.  Ahmed Quereshi, member of the Interfaith Conference Executive Committee, presented an understanding of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.  Nine guests partcipated in the sharing of questions exploring the intersection of faith and water.  

 

Committee for Interfaith Understanding (CIU)

April 8, 2021 - Interfaith Conference of Greater Milwaukee presents, "Interfaith Engagement in Milwaukee: A Brief History of Christian-Muslim Dialogue" with authors Professor Dr. Irfan Omar, Kaitlyn Daly, student researcher, Sundus Jaber, Founder and President of Milwaukee Muslim Women’s Coalition, Janan Najeeb. The discussion will be moderated by Interfaith Conference's, Executive Director, Pardeep Singh Kaleka and Program Director, Cherrie Hanson. Click to watch the "Interfaith Engagement" dialogue on Facebook

 

Interfaith Earth Network (IEN)

 

Peace and International Issues Committee  (PIIC)

March 2 “Political Minds: Addressing the Challenges of a Divided Nation,” Philip Chard will discuss conspiracy theories, insurrection, hate speech, misinformation, and white supremacists, and what can we do to bridge this interpersonal chasm, find common ground, heal divisions and not drive ourselves crazy in the process?
Philip Chard recently retired from Empathia, Inc. after 32 years as President and CEO. Empathia is a behavioral services firm providing health, safety and productivity solutions for over 400 organizations across North America. He remains a practicing psychotherapist who, for over 34 years, wrote an award-winning weekly column in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel titled "Out of My Mind,” now published in the Shepherd Express. Philip is author of The Healing Earth, which won the Midwest Publishers Award, and Nature’s Ways. Previously, he was Director of Behavioral Science Education at Michigan State University’s College of Human Medicine, where he was an associate professor and received the Outstanding Faculty Award.
Opening Prayer by Reverend Jennifer Nordstrom of First Unitarian Society of Milwaukee

March 9 – “Nurturing Hope from Within: Wisdom Teachings and Spiritual Practices,” Rev. Karen Hagen, Pastor of Tippecanoe Presbyterian Church in Milwaukee’s Bay View community will join us for a sampling of spiritual practices from around the world. A time to reflect and let the light of hope shine into our everyday living.
Rev. Karen Hagen of Tippecanoe Presbyterian Church in the Bay View area of Milwaukee feels deeply blessed to serve as pastor with the abundantly gracious folk of Tippecanoe Faithing Community (PCUSA). Tippe is home to Living Waters Contemplative Life Center, Divine Intervention Ministry to the Homeless, Tippecanoe just.good.food Gardens/ Food Justice Site PCUSA, and Arts and Science Literacy Camp for Kids. Also, with 30 years of professional development in the healing arts – including certifications in spiritual direction, reiki, reflexology, and body/mind/spirit practices – she is humbled by the opportunity to come alongside individuals and groups companioning them on their journeys to abundant life. She brings experienced care to each person and group with whom she is honored to work.
Opening Prayer by Imam Noman Hussain from the Islamic Society of Milwaukee.

March 16 – “Communities of Color: Finding Hope through Pursuing Justice", Eloisa Gomez, Minister Byron Johnson, and Jessica Boling will discuss some of the challenges that our diverse communities face in greater Milwaukee and how they have channeled their justice work around hope and community.
Eloisa Gomez is the Chair of Comité por el Voto Latino/Latinx Voter Outreach, a committee of the League of Women Voters of Milwaukee County to expand voter education and registration on Milwaukee’s South Side. She is the co-author of the book, Somos Latinas: Voices of Wisconsin Latina Activists, (Wisconsin Historical Society Press), a book that summarizes the activism of 25 older Latina activists from Wisconsin. Eloisa has a B.A. from Mt. Mary University and an M.S. in Urban Studies from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. In 1988, Eloisa served as a Mayoral Assistant for Mayor John Norquist in his first term in office. During this first term, she helped form a multi-racial ad hoc group of women and men to create the Mayor’s Breast Cancer Awareness Task Force which led to a Mobile Van providing free Breast Cancer screening. Over the years, Eloisa has served on various local, state and national advisory and nonprofit boards, including the Latino Historical Society of WI, the Catholic Campaign for Human Development at the local and national level and served on the Cardinal Stritch Advisory Committee for the annual Brother Booker Ashe Community Presentation.
Minister Byron Johnson is a native of the city of Milwaukee, Wisconsin and is a graduate of the American Baptist College of Nashville, Tennessee. He currently serves as Associate Minister of Progressive Baptist Church under senior pastor, Walter J Lanier. Byron’s ministry is centered on bringing God’s love, reconciliation, and grace to all who God has created. Minister Byron is excited to serve! He is a member of the National Urban League Young Professionals and formerly served as a program assistant at the African American Chamber of Commerce of Wisconsin.
Jessica Boling is an experienced community organizer. She has solved complex issues and promoted the influence of different communities. She recently helped the Biden campaign win Wisconsin as the Asian American Pacific Islander (AAPI) State Director. Prior to joining the Biden campaign, she was the director of community engagement to the AAPI community for the Milwaukee 2020 Host Committee. She is also a founding member of ElevAsian, an AAPI leadership group in Milwaukee and Wisconsin. In 2013, Jessica conducted research on international aid in Cameroon as a Fulbright Fellow. Additionally, she served as the secretary general for a nonprofit organization in South Korea for adoptees returning to Korea.
Opening Prayer by Rev. Dana Kelley, assistant Pastor of The Reviving faith Movement Church.

March 23 – “Moving forward from our own spiritual casteisms with genuine hope and connection,” Pardeep Singh Kaleka and Rhonda Hill, Inspired by the book “Caste” by Isabel Wilkerson, will have an open and honest conversation on the role that cultural dynamics have played in their own personal lives and continue to play in America.
Pardeep Singh Kaleka is executive director of the Interfaith Conference of Greater Milwaukee, published author of “The Gifts of Our Wounds,” award-winning columnist with Milwaukee Independent, and clinician specializing in utilizing a trauma-informed approach to treat survivors and perpetrators of assault, abuse and acts of violence. A native of Punjab, India, he grew up in Milwaukee, and served as a Milwaukee police officer and educator in the inner-city of Milwaukee until the shooting in 2012 at the Sikh Temple of Wisconsin, where a white-power skinhead took the lives of seven parishioners, one of them being his father and temple founder. In the aftermath, called to help the community heal, Pardeep channeled his energy into transformational love. His work today is to encourage stewardship of healthy social and spiritual fabrics that commit to nurturing the village and fostering genuine connections between individuals and their communities so that hate and hate crimes are less likely to happen.
Rhonda Hill has spent over a decade focusing on issues of racism and poverty. She has served as counselor, consultant, coach, and group facilitator. She is an analytical, creative, systems thinker with compassion. Her commitment to raising awareness about racism is seen through her previous work with the Milwaukee County Social Development Commission, the YWCA, the Greater Milwaukee Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, the Interfaith Conference of Greater Milwaukee, and now as founder of Race and Faith, which educates, promotes and facilitates healthy, faith-based conversations on the topic of racism.. Rhonda has a master's degrees in marriage and family therapy and in theological studies.
Opening Prayer by Rabbi Steven Adams, President - Wisconsin Council of Rabbis, Director of Pastoral Care for Ovation Communities: Jewish Home and Care Center, Chai Point

March 30 – “Moving Forward Together with Hope after Incarceration,” Dr. Terri Strodthoff, Jeanne Geraci, and John Serrano join us to talk about the role of hope for those who have been through and may be going through the legal system. 
Jeanne Geraci has served as the Benedict Center's executive director since August, 2011. Founded in 1974, the Benedict Center helps justice-involved women create healthier and safer lives through direct service and advocacy. Jeanne has increased the agency’s capacity to service justice-involved women in Milwaukee through new initiatives including adding co-occurring mental health services to the Women’s Harm Reduction Program; creating a new Women’s Re-entry Program at the Milwaukee County House of Corrections; and partnering with the Milwaukee Police Department and the District Attorney’s office to create a public health centered street-level prostitution diversion program. Since 2011, the Benedict Center’s Sisters Program has grown to one of the largest programs to serve women in the street-based sex trade on the south side as well as the north side of Milwaukee. Prior to the Benedict Center, she served as the Associate Director of Voces de la Frontera. There she played a critical role in moving a fledgling immigrant worker center to an established state and national leader in the immigrant rights movement. She also worked as a family advocate at Mental Health America of Wisconsin, development director of Esperanza Unida and community organizer for the Riverwest YMCA Housing Initiative. She graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Madison with a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and Economics.
Terri Strodthoff is the Founder and Executive Director of the Alma Center. The Alma Center is a community-based agency in Milwaukee working to heal, transform and evolve the unresolved pain of trauma that fuels the continuation of cycles of violence and abuse in individuals, families and community. Alma Center works primarily with men at-risk or involved in the criminal justice system, with a particular focus on men who have a history of domestic violence. Dr. Strodthoff has more than 25 years in the field of Healing Focused Care.
John Serrano is a Peer Guide and Co-Facilitator at the Alma Center. He works to support the restorative transition of men returning to the community from incarceration and to create peaceful change among men and families in our community. John has courageously and wholeheartedly engaged in his own process of transformation, having first come to the Alma Center as a client. Utilizing his own experiential knowledge of having walked in the same shoes, as well as his deep study of trauma resolution and restorative practice, John has helped many men re-examine and heal from the violence in their own background and stop repeating the same cycle of violence.
Opening Prayer by Rev. Tonen O'Connor, Resident Priest Emerita, Milwaukee Zen Center

 

Interfaith Restorative Practices Coalition