Peace and International Issues Committee

2021 Series
Tuesdays-in-March Virtual Lecture Series  NOON-1:30pm
Onward With Hope:  Inspiring Courage To Create The World We Want

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?

March 9 – “Nurturing Hope from Within: Wisdom Teachings and Spiritual Practices,” the 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. 

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.

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.

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.   

3 Payment Options

Online Mail Telephone
Click here to pay online. Click here to download
the registration form.
Call 414-276-9050

Students and others of limited means pay as you are able by contacting the Interfaith Conference office at 414-276-9050 or

2020 Series

- A Luncheon / Lecture Series - Sponsored by the

Peace and International Issues Committee of the INTERFAITH CONFERENCE of GREATER MILWAUKEE

#Truth . . . or Consequences

(We won’t know what we don’t know…)
Addressing the vital importance of a free and independent press in a democracy, and some essential considerations in our pursuit of truth.

March 3, 10, 17, 24, 31, 2020
Noon to 1:30 p.m.

First Unitarian Society of Milwaukee – a Unitarian Universalist Congregation
1342 N. Astor St., Milwaukee

$75.00 - series of five
$20.00 - individual sessions

Includes a simple buffet-style primarily vegetarian meal

March 3, 2020 – An Independent Press: Essential for Democracy
George Stanley, Editor, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, regional editor of USA TODAY Network Wisconsin, and vice president of the national News Leaders Association

March 10, 2020 – Democracy at Risk in Wisconsin: Spelling out the problems we face, from gerrymandering & the role of big money in our politics to the collapse of local media & local control, and offering some solutions
Matt Rothschild, Executive Director, Wisconsin Democracy Campaign and former editor & publisher, The Progressive

March 17, 2020 – Truth & Broadcasting in a Digital Society: How TV/radio newscasts & interview shows have been affected by economic pressures, political polarization, and the public’s increasing reliance on social media for news
Joanne Williams, host of Milwaukee Public Television’s award-winning Black Nouveau program, former television news anchor, and past president of the Milwaukee Press Club
Kathleen Dunn, retired host of The Kathleen Dunn Show, which was on Wisconsin Public Radio for 24 years, and member of Milwaukee Media Hall of Fame

March 24, 2020 – True News & Social Media Blues: From the Kardashians’ escapades to “fake news” and conspiracy theories, what dynamics are affecting all of the information we receive, and what are the checklists to guide us?
Milwaukee native Paul Oren, professor in Communication Department and faculty advisor to the student newspaper at Valparaiso University, Indiana, and journalist for the Times of Northwest Indiana.

March 31, 2020 – Truth & Mind Games: Our supercomputer minds naturally process complex realities into simplified narratives, but there are dangers if we consume media that feed only our ingrained opinions of truth
Pardeep Kaleka, Executive Director, Interfaith Conference of Greater Milwaukee, and a clinical therapist

  • We will be making the following resources available at the luncheon & online: a reading list on these topics, a list of recommended alternative news sources, and ways to support independent news coverage/journalism.
  • We know parking can be a hassle. There is a HOP stop left at the corner of First U (Ogden & Astor).

It’s free to ride! Check out your options for parking elsewhere and “hopping” on at

2019 Series

Registration Deadline for the fourth lunch in our 2019 series
(March 26) is noon on Friday, March 22.

Sponsored by the Peace and International Issues Committee of the Interfaith Conference of Greater Milwaukee

#Immigrants&RefugeesMatter "no one leaves home unless..."


March 5, 12, 19, 26, 2019
Noon to 1:30 p.m.

First Unitarian Society of Milwaukee – A Unitarian Universalist Congregation 1342 N. Astor St., Milwaukee

$65.00 - series of four
$20.00 - individual sessions

March 5, 2019 – Milwaukee's Changing Immigration Landscape
Barbara Miner, Award-winning Journalist & Author

March 12, 2019 – Human Rights & the Environment: Key Issues
Sumudu Atapattu, Director, UW Law School Research Center

March 19, 2019 – Where is the Welcome Mat for Refugees?
Refugee Resettlement Efforts

Mary Flynn, Program Mgr., Refugee Resettlement, Lutheran Social Services,
WI & Upper MI

March 26, 2019 – Tidal Wave of Changes in Law & Policies
Affecting Asylum Seekers, Refugees and Other Immigrants

Barbara Graham, Managing Atty. Catholic Charities Legal Services
for Immigrants Program

Note 1: Representatives from organizations working with immigration
& refugee issues will be at tables with information and what you might do
to help. A suggested reading list on these topics will be available, as
well as opportunities for purchasing books authored by the presenters.

Note 2: We know parking can be a hassle. There is a HOP stop right at
the corner of First U (Ogden & Astor). It’s free to ride! Check out your
options for parking elsewhere and “hopping” on at

2018 Series

A Luncheon / Lecture Series -

Sponsored by the
Peace and International Issues Committee
of the

The Danger of Silence:
Using Our Voices, Hands, Feet & Pocketbooks to Effect Change

March 6, 13, 20, 27, 2018
Noon to 1:30 p.m.

First Unitarian Society of Milwaukee –
A Unitarian Universalist Congregation
1342 N. Astor St., Milwaukee

March 6, 2018 – ‘The Fierce Urgency of Now’
Peter Bakken, PhD, Coordinator for Public Policy, WCC; Bruce Wiggins, Chair, First Unitarian Society Social Justice Council; Astar Herndon, State Director, 9to5 Wisconsin

March 13, 2018 – ‘Human Trafficking: Sex & Labor’
Jeanne Geraci, Executive Director, Benedict Center; Mariana Rodriguez, UMOS Program Manager, Latina Resource Center

March 20, 2018 – ‘Homelessness’
Amy Rowell, Manager of Community Relations, Guest House; Rev. Karen Hagen, Pastor, Tippecanoe Presbyterian Church; Tim Baack, President/CEO, Pathfinders

March 27, 2018 –‘Lead in our Water’
Kirsten Shead, Water City Program Manager, Milwaukee Water Commons; Robert Miranda, Founder & Community Advocate, Freshwater for Life Action Coalition

Issue Update Presenters

Peter Bakken
Coordinator for Public Policy, Wisconsin Council of Churches,
which supports grassroots advocacy on issues of social & economic justice and empowers faith communities to give public witness.

Bruce Wiggins
Chair, Social Justice Council, First Unitarian Society of Milwaukee,
& involved in advocacy for many years as a city planner, a teacher of non-profit management, & executive director of two non-profits.

Astar Herndon
State Director, Wisconsin 9to5,
who, as a non-profit advocate & community organizer, has managed various policy campaigns aimed at changing communities of color, using her skills & talents toward the missions of equality & unity.

Jeanne Geraci
Executive Director, Benedict Center,
which offers the Sisters Program: A street outreach, case management and skill building program for women in prostitution and or/sex trafficking. The program is an innovative community-police partnership and is gaining recognition as a more effective way to improve the health and safety of women and communities.

Mariana Rodriguez
UMOS Program Manager, UMOS Latina Resource Center,
a lead agency for the Metro Milwaukee Rescue & Restore Project
working to raise the awareness of sex and labor human trafficking in the metro Milwaukee area and other targeted counties, leading to increased victim identification and improved service response to the needs of foreign national victims of human trafficking.

Amy Rowell
Manager of Community Engagement, The Guest House of Milwaukee,
which was founded in 1982 as a community-based solution to the growing number of homeless in the central city.

Rev. Karen Hagen
Pastor of Tippecanoe Presbyterian Church,
home of Divine Intervention Ministries which has grown to be a year-round ministry with 4 missions serving the homeless.

Tim Baack
President/CEO, Pathfinders,
which empowers youth confronted by homelessness, crisis or trauma to be safe & connected in order to develop a path towards self-sufficiency, healthier families, and a stronger community.

Kirsten Shead
Water City Program Manager for the Milwaukee Water Commons,
where she co-leads the Drinking Water Initiative team & has been actively involved in efforts to address lead in tap water since June 2016.

Robert Miranda
Editor of Wisconsin Spanish Journal & featured international weekly columnist of the Istanbul, Turkey based national newspaper Yeni Asya (New Asia). Robert is a longtime community advocate currently organizing with the Freshwater For Life Action Coalition (FLAC) he co-founded. He has been at the center of the lead in water issue in Milwaukee.

2017 Series


- A Luncheon / Lecture Series -

Sponsored by the
Peace and International Issues Committee

of the

Youth Power:
Inspiring Stories of Active Hope

March 7, 14, 21, 28, 2017
Noon to 1:30 p.m.

First Unitarian Society of Milwaukee – a Unitarian Universalist Congregation
1342 N. Astor St., Milwaukee

$55.00 - series of four
$15.00 - individual sessions
Includes a simple vegetarian meal

March 7, 2017 ---- ‘Running Rebels,’ Dawn Barnett, Co-Executive Director of Running Rebels Community Organization, and youth participants

March 14, 2017 -- ‘Teens Grow Greens,’ Charlie Uihlein, founder of Teens Grow Greens, and Ryan Graham, scholarship recipient, education coordinator
and member of Board of Directors at Teens Grow Greens

March 21, 2017 --- ‘ACLU of Wisconsin,’ Solana Patterson-Ramos, Youth and Programs Organizer at the ACLU of Wisconsin, and youth participants

March 28, 2017 --- ‘Service Learning, “Let’s Do It Again,” “We All Benefit”,' Sarah Kubetz, Community Service/Service Learning Mentor, MPS, and youth participants

2016 Series


The Peace and International Issues Committee (PIIC) seeks to inform people about, and involve them in, issues related to local and international concerns. Every March we present a lecture/luncheon
series on Tuesdays.

MARCH 2015

"Confronting the Realities of Segregation"

  • Segregation and its Unique Hold on this Northern City: Eric Von, former voice of black talk radio in Milwaukee, and web publisher/editor of Brain Brawn & Body; Barbara Miner, former editor of Rethinking Schools; and Patricia McManus, President/CEO of the Black Health Coalition of Wisconsin
  • Struggle for Justice in the Jim Crow North: Jeanne Theoharis, Distinguished Professor at Brooklyn College of CUNY, and author of many books including The Rebellious Life of Mrs. Rosa Parks
  • Sister: An African American Life in Search of Justice: Jody LePage, co-author with Sylvia Bell White about the shooting of her brother, Daniel, by Milwaukee Police
  • Economics, Education, Housing: Prof. Michael Bonds, Chair of Milwaukee School Board and immediate past chair of Dept. of Educational Policy and Community Studies at UWM; James Hall, Jr., civil rights attorney and former president of the NAACP of Milwaukee; and Conor Williams, Economic Policy Analyst for Pathways to Ending Poverty Project at Community Advocates Public Policy Institute and secretary of Milwaukee Transitional Jobs Collaborative
  • Crossing the Bridge of Racial Healing: Venice Williams, Executive Director of Alice's Garden, ELCA, Director of Body and Soul Healing Arts Center
  • Crude Comes to WisconsinMargaret Swedish, director of Spirituality and Ecological Hope, author - Living Beyond the End of the World: A Spirituality of Hope

MARCH 2014

"Wisconsin: Issues That Matter
Justice, Equity, Democracy"

  • The Corporate Takeover of Wisconsin State GovernmentRebecca Kemble, staff writer for The Progressive, founding member of Wisconsin Citizens Media Cooperative
  • Crude Comes to WisconsinMargaret Swedish, director of Spirituality and Ecological Hope, author - Living Beyond the End of the World: A Spirituality of Hope
  • The Midwest Mining Rush and Conflicts over Tribal Sovereignty: the Mole Lake and Bad River Ojibwe of Lake SuperiorAl Gedicks, Professor Emeritus of Environmental Sociology at University of Wisconsin-LaCrosse
  • Protecting Voting Rights in 2014Karyn Rotker, Senior Staff Attorney for the ACLU of Wisconsin, heading its Poverty, Race & Civil Liberties Project


"Why We Fear the Other: Theological Reflections on Racism, Immigration, and the Roots of Prejudice

  • Voices of the Community: Dr. Hardeep Ahuja, Azmi Alaeddin, James Causey, and Nancy Flores
  • Interfaith Just Peace: Rev. Susan Brooks Thistlethwaite, Professor of Theology and former president, Chicago Theological Seminary
  • Why Don't I Recognize My True Self?: Tonen O'Connor, Soto Zen Buddhist priest, Milwaukee Zen Center
  • An Instrument of Your Peace? How Religion Both Makes and Unmakes Racial Prejudice and Fear: Rev. Bryan N. Massingale, Professor of Theology, Marquette University.

MARCH 2012

"Standing Up for Democracy: from the Middle East to the Capitol Rotunda."

  • The Complexities of Promoting Democracy Around the World: Rob Ricigliano, Director of the Institute of World Affairs at UW-Milwaukee
  • The Resurgence of Democracy - in Wisconsin and Throughout the World: Ruth Conniff, Political Editor of The Progressive magazine
  • Saving Democracy: Getting Our Wisconsin Back: Mike McCabe, Executive Director of Wisconsin Democracy Campaign, a non-partisan watchdog group
  • Responding to Democracy’s Challenges: Spirituality, Hope and Action for People of Faith: Rev. Linda Lee, United Methodist Bishop of the Wisconsin.

MARCH 2011

"Threats to Peace: Who Will Control What We Need for Life?"

  • Who Will Control What We Need For Life: An Overview: Margaret Swedish, Center for New Creation, author - "Living Beyond the End of the World: A Spirituality of Hope"
  • Good to Eat and Good to Think: Aligning Food Choices with Spirit and Sustainability: Jack Kloppenburg, PHD, UW Environmental and Community Sociology
  • Energy Crunch Time; What Is It, and How to Respond to It Ethically: Tom Brandstetter, a founding member of Transition Milwaukee
  • Threatening the Human Right to Water: Laurel Phoenix, PHD, UW-Green Bay, Assoc. Prof. Public and Environmental Affairs Dept., Chair of the Geography Department
  • Faithful Response for our Time: Robert Pavlik, MU Institute for the Transformation of Learning; Gigi Pomerantz,Youthaiti; Gretchen Mead, Victory Garden Initiative; and Rev. Jamie Washam, pastor, Underwood Memorial Baptist Church.

MARCH 2010

"The Times, They Are a’Changing: Looking Beyond the Headlines."

  • Challenges of the Times: Panel consisting of Claire Anderson, Pastoral Associate at St. Robert’s, Shorewood; Rev. Amy R. Becker, Associate Pastor at Church of the Resurrection, Pewaukee; Bushra Zaibak, Author and Activist; Rev. Dr. Bobbie Groth, Unitarian Universalist Community Minister, SE Wisconsin, Moderator;
  • Beyond the Greed Economy: Matt Rothschild, Editor of The Progressive
  • Enough to Go Around: Searching for Hope:, Chip Duncan, author and award-winning film maker
  • Transitioning War Zone Skills to Home: Understanding Readjustment: Catherine Coppolillo, PhD, Psychologist; Andrew Hendrickson, RN, Coordinator, OEF/OIF Connection Team, Zablocki V. A.
  • Entering Sacred Digital Space: Richard Thieme, futurist and ethicist.

MARCH 2009

"The March 2009 series was entitled "Sustaining the World, Sustaining Our Souls."

  • Living Beyond the End of the World: with Margaret Swedish, Director, Center for New Creation and author
  • Global Warming in the Driver’s Seat: George Stone, Ph. D., Dept of Physical Science, MATC
  • Great Lakes Water Woes: The Waukesha Conundrum: John Krezowski, Ph.D., Director, University Safety and Assurances, UW-Milwaukee
  • Global Economy: Mary Botari, Director of Global Trade Watch's Harmonization Project
  • One Chicken, Two People, Three Meals – An exploration of our food system, how we lost our way, and how we can get back on track: Young Kim, Executive Director of the Fondy Food Center.

MARCH 2008

"Moving Toward a Just and Peaceful World"

  • Resisting Empire: G. Simon Harak, SJ, director of Marquette University’s Center for Peacemaking
  • Security, Morality and Realism: The Government’s Response to 9/11: Athan Theoharis, Professor Emeritus of History, Marquette University
  • From Soldier to Healer: Transforming the Post Traumatic Stress Disorder Dragon from Death to Life: John Zemler, Visiting Assistant Professor, Department of Theology, Marquette University and Life Member of the Disabled American Veterans.

MARCH 2007

“Violence: Faith Perspectives.”

  • Isa Sadlon, Executive Director of the Islamic Society of Milwaukee
  • Bishop Paul Stumme-Diers of the Greater Milwaukee Synod, Evangelical Lutheran Church in America
  • Rabbi Ronald Shapiro, Congregation Shalom
  • Rev. Tonen O'Connor, resident priest of the Milwaukee Zen Center

MARCH 2006

“United Nations Millennium Goals.”

  • Microcredit and the Millennium Development Goals
  • Reducing Child Mortality, Maternal and Child Health in Africa and Haiti
  • Why Investing in Africa's Health is Critical for Achieving Economic Development

MARCH 2005

“United Nations Millennium Goals”

  • Environmental Sustainability, Women & Education: Why Women’s Education is Key
  • Poverty’s Long Reach
  • Africa’s AIDS Pandemic: A Doctor Reports on His Medical Mission to Kenya
  • Jubilee 2000 in 2005 – An Update: In 2000 all the countries of the UN signed the Millennium Development Goals that by 2015 progress would be made to: “Eradicate Extreme Poverty and Hunger; Achieve Universal Primary Education; Promote Gender Equality and Empower Women; Reduce Child Mortality; Improve Maternal Health; Combat HIV/AIDS, Malaria and other diseases; Ensure Environmental Sustainability; and Develop a Global Partnership for Development.”

MARCH 2004

"Elections, Globalization and the Faith Community"

  • Peace Building and Globalization, Food, Agriculture and Globalization
  • Globalization: What is Just?
  • Budget Priorities and Globalization
  • Widening the Circle:" A panel discussion on ways to engage your faith groups

.MARCH 2003

"Global Leadership: The Many Roles of the United Nations"

  • Why the UN Matters in the 21st Century
  • UNICEF: Helping Children Survive and Thrive
  • The International Criminal Court: New Era for Justice?
  • Ending Hunger in Our Time