Monday, September 7, 2009

Forward Forum loses time slot for now; but it will live on!

Sunday, Sept. 6th represented the last scheduled day of broadcast for "Forward Forum," an award-winning progressive talk and public affairs show which began broadcasting in January of 2005. An active search is now underway for a new home for the broadcast. Please watch this space for developments.

In the meantime, Forward Forum host John Quinlan will continue his two decade-long commitment as a volunteer broadcast at WORT-FM, 89.9 FM, Madison's nationally-renowned listener-sponsored station. This includes serving as a guest host, and will result in his producing some special projects.

That new tradition begins on Monday, Sept. 7th, at 6:30pm, when he will host and produce a special Labor Day edition of "In Our Backyard," focusing on Immigrants Workers and Immigrants Rights developments along the US-Mexican border. This special is made possible, in large part, to the reporting and activism of Leila Pine and Craig McComb, a Madison couple who live part of the year in Tucson.

Also, although there will be a slight delay, archived versions of our August 30th and Sept. 6th Forward Forum shows (see below) will be available shortly.

If you're on Facebook, please see this "Facebook Friends of Forward Forum" page for information on how you can help us make the case that will bring Forward Forum back on the air. If you're not on Facebook, please drop me a line at , and I'll be glad to send you some simple instructions on how you can sign onto a petition, or write a quick note of support, toward those same ends.

Thanks to all who have offered their support to this program over the years, and in recent days. More on the evolving mission of Forward Forum as events warrant....

Friday, September 4, 2009

Lt. Gov. Barbara Lawton on Innovative Approaches to Wisconsin's Economy; SCFL's Jim Cavanaugh; Guest Co-Host Lisa Subeck

On the Sept. 3, 2009 edition of Forward Forum:

At the top of the show, Jim Cavanaugh, president of the South Central Federation of Labor, joins us with a preview of Monday's Labor Day activities, and his observations regarding the state of the labor movement in today's world. See .

More than 20 people representing 11 union affiliates (AFSCME, BAC, CWA, IBEW, IRON, IUPAT, OPCMIA, SCFL, SEIU, SMWIA, UA) rallied outside a Madison, Wisconsin gas station last year to draw attention to the Bush policies that created $4 a gallon gas. (Pictured third from right is guest Jim Cavanaugh.)

Then, in an interview I recorded on Friday, Lt. Gov. Barbara Lawton joins us for a wide-ranging interview that focuses on innovative ways to build Wisconsin's economy. Beginning with her cogent analysis about why Wisconsin's workforce is viewed as having many special strengths by employers worldwide, she also describes that potential for Wisconsin's leadership in the realm of the green revolution, specifically for biofuels and energy conservation. She then explains how Wisconsin's "creative economy," -- one that thrives in an atmosphere of diversity and a commitment to supporting the arts-- is exactly the kind of environment sought by entrepreneurs and high-tech industries seeking a new home. Lastly, she explains the need for Wisconsin to tackle the problems associated with maltreatment of mental illness as underlying the economic costs behind our growing prison population. All this and much more about her philosophy of government, business and community, from the woman who could very well be our state's next governor.

Lieutenant Gov. Lawton (center) is pictured with actors Lou Diamond Phillips and Billy Burke in Milwaukee for the filming of the pilot episode of "The Watch."

Read this essay by WTDY's John "Sly" Sylvester who believes that Barbara Lawton should be Wisconsin's next governor.

Guest host Lisa Subeck has been both an avid listener and frequent guest on the show, and it's an honor to have her join us as guest host this week. Well-known as a political commentator and activist on behalf of homeless people and others facing difficult times due to poverty and discrimination in Madison, Lisa's newest role is an advocate for reproductive rights, in her role as executive director of NARAL (the National Abortion Rights and Action League). Lisa is also an avid film and popular media buff, and aspires one day to host her own talk show, so it will be fun to share the air with her on Sunday.

This week's show takes on a bittersweet quality. After five years on the air, half on our current station, it's our last Forward Forum on WTDY, at least for a few months. At a station in an industry that's in transition and distress due to the economic downturn, we were told that the decision was made to make room for football on Sunday afternoons. Kind words were exchanged about the quality of the show, and the door may be open to the Forward Forum's return early next year, following the football season. Regardless, we've risen from the ashes before, and we hope to rise again.

If the show has made a difference for you, I'd love to hear from you. Especially if you'd like to see the show continue in some form, please write to us at, and we'll fill you in on ways that you can help in those efforts. In weeks to come, special efforts will be made to build upon this blog including podcasts featuring highlights from past shows. In the meantime, I'll be doing some guest-hosting at the award-winning listener-sponsored WORT, and blogging and writing elsewhere in the community, while pursuing multiple future avenues for continuing to bring voice to the many voices that made their home on Forward Forum. Take care, best wishes, and see you all soon! --John

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Jean Kilbourne, author "So Sexy So Soon: The New Sexualized Childhood & What Parents Can Do To Protect Their Kids"; LGBT Leader Cleve Jones in Madison

On the August 30, 2009 Forward Forum:

Our show begins with an interview with UW-Madison student and organizer Jessie Otradovec, previewing Monday night's appearance on campus of LGBT Rights Activist, Cleve Jones, an early colleague of Harvey Milk, and the founder of the NAMES Project. Jessie and Cleve and others are organizing an October 2009 March on Washington for LGBT Rights. Details below.

Then, for the remainder of the hour, we're honored to have the opportunity to be in conversation with Dr. Jean Kilbourne, one of the most important intellectual voices of our time in the context of her critiques of the advertising industries effect on women and children. On this week's show, we discuss her latest book, "So Sexy So Soon: The New Sexualized Childhood and What Parents Can Do To Protect Their Kids."

Also known for her pioneering work in identifying the addiction-related dangers represented by alcohol and tobacco advertising--particularly those targeting youth-- she is a prolific author, and much-sought-after lecturer.

So Sexy So Soon is an invaluable and practical guide for parents who are fed up, confused, and even scared by what their kids–or their kids’ friends–do and say. Diane E. Levin, Ph.D., and Jean Kilbourne, Ed.D., internationally recognized experts in early childhood development and the impact of the media on children and teens, understand that saying no to commercial culture–TV, movies, toys, Internet access, and video games–isn’t a realistic or viable option for most families.

About this Book: Thong panties, padded bras, and risqué Halloween costumes for young girls. T-shirts that boast “Chick Magnet” for toddler boys. Sexy content on almost every television channel, as well as in books, movies, video games, and even cartoons. Hot young female pop stars wearing provocative clothing and dancing suggestively while singing songs with sexual and sometimes violent lyrics. These products are marketed aggressively to our children; these stars are held up for our young daughters to emulate–and for our sons to see as objects of desire.

Popular culture and technology inundate our children with an onslaught of mixed messages at earlier ages than ever before. Corporations capitalize on this disturbing trend, and without the emotional sophistication to understand what they are doing and seeing, kids are getting into increasing trouble emotionally and socially; some may even to engage in precocious sexual behavior. Parents are left shaking their heads, wondering: How did this happen? What can we do?

The authors offer parents essential, age-appropriate strategies to counter the assault.

For instance:

  • Help your children expand their imaginations by suggesting new ways for them to play with toys–for example, instead of “playing house” with dolls, they might send their toys on a backyard archeological adventure.
  • Counteract the narrow gender stereotypes in today’s media: ask your son to help you cook; get your daughter outside to play ball.
  • Share your values and concerns with other adults–relatives, parents of your children’s friends–and agree on how you’ll deal with TV and other media when your children are at one another’s houses.

Filled with savvy suggestions, helpful sample dialogues, and poignant true stories from families dealing with these issues, So Sexy So Soon provides parents with the information, skills, and confidence they need to discuss sensitive topics openly and effectively so their kids can just be kids.

More About Jean Kilbourne

Jean Kilbourne has lectured at about one-half of all the colleges and universities in the United States and all of the major universities in Canada, as well as scores of private and public schools, and has twice received the Lecturer of the Year award from the National Association for Campus Activities.

She is known for her wit and warmth and her ability to present provocative topics in a way that unites rather than divides, that encourages dialogue, and that moves and empowers people to take action in their own and in society’s interest. Even advertisers sometimes respond positively, as in an AdWeek editorial: “After listening to Jean Kilbourne, I would never doubt her intellectual honesty. While she bills herself as a critic of advertising, she is more akin to a prophet calling out in the wilderness for fundamental change in the way we communicate publicly with one another.”

Here's what others have to say:

“I have enjoyed seeing and hearing Jean Kilbourne wrestle with the issues that beset us all. Her intelligent probing and the deductions she has made are of use to all her listeners and readers.” —Maya Angelou, author (I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings and others)

“Jean Kilbourne’s work is pioneering and crucial to the dialogue of one of the most underexplored, yet most powerful, realms of American culture – advertising. We owe her a great debt.” —Susan Faludi, author (Backlash and others)

“Jean Kilbourne is a remarkably insightful critic and researcher of American mores.” —Jerzy Kosinski, author (The Painted Bird and others)

"Out of the banal and commonplace ads we absorb each day without believing ourselves influenced, Jean Kilbourne creates a politically sophisticated and frightening tapestry. Her presentation is fascinating, fast paced and extremely funny." —Marge Piercy, author (Woman on the Edge of Time and others)

“Jean Kilbourne’s arguments are as focused and unassailable as those of a good prosecutor. Piece by piece she builds a case for an America deeply corrupted by advertisers. …Jean Kilbourne is our best, most thoughtful, most compassionate teacher.” —Mary Pipher, author (Reviving Ophelia and others)

“Hearing Jean Kilbourne is a profound experience. Audiences leave her feeling that they have heard much more than another lecture, for she teaches them to see themselves and their world differently.” —Carole Beebe Tarantelli, Member of Parliament, Italy

Renowned National LGBT Rights Activist Cleve Jones in Madison Monday to Promote the Oct. 10-11 National Equality March

Cleve Jones (left) is pictured with actor Emile Hirsch, who portrays him in the Academy Award-winning film, "Milk."

At the top of the hour, we'll be speaking with UW-Madison student organizer Jessie Otradovec. Jessie is a local activist who is part of a coalition of local groups that are encouraging and supporting people who hope to attend the October 10-11, 2009 National Equality March, in promotion of federal action on LGBT rights.

An Evening with Cleve Jones

"Why We Can't Wait:
The Struggle for LGBT Civil Rights”

HARVEY MILK’S closest collaborator, author, founder of the AIDS MEMORIAL QUILT, and progenitor of upcoming National Equality March to visit Madison August 31st to discuss the ongoing struggle for LGBT Rights!

Monday, August 31 -- 7:30 pm

3650 Humanities: 455 N. Park St. on UW Campus

Tickets are $5 - 10 sliding scale; all proceeds go to scholarships for the Madison buses to the National Equality March

Madison, WI— From the early days of Harvey Milk’s activism (as portrayed by Emile Hirsch in the Oscar-winning movie Milk), to the founding of the AIDS Memorial Quilt and today’s struggle for equal marriage, veteran activist Cleve Jones has been at the center of the LGBT rights movement for the last thirty years.

Now, as the promise from the Obama administration to be a “fierce advocate” for equality for gays and lesbians continues to go unfulfilled—with both the Defense of Marriage Act and Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell upheld since the administration took office—Jones and other activists from across the country are planning a National Equality March as a show of mass support for LGBT rights.

LGBTI Equality NOW!, a grassroots organization leading the local planning for the Equality March, and Haymarket Books, publisher of Sexuality and Socialism, will host Jones in a discussion of the history and current state of the movement for equal rights in the run up to the national demonstration.

Cleve Jones will speak at 7:30 p.m. in 3650 Humanities on the UW campus. Doors open at 7 pm. His talk, “Why We Can’t Wait,” will focus on the urgent need for demanding LGBT equality now.

“It is for equality. And it’s for shifting the strategy,” Jones said in an interview with Democracy Now. “We’re tired of this state-by-state, county-by-county, city-by-city struggle for fractions of equality.”

“We agree with Cleve Jones that it is time to demand full equality under federal law,” Emily Wickenhauser, LGBTI Equality Now organizer said. “With Obama’s vacillations on gay rights, it’s up to everyone who believes in equality, gay and straight, to demand civil rights.”

The event is co-sponsored by WORT Radio, Wisconsin Capital Pride, Outreach, International Socialist Organization, The Havens Center, Madison PFLAG, UW LGBT Campus Center and the MATC Pride Alliance, as well as LGBTI Equality Now and Haymarket Books,

Tickets are $5-10 (sliding scale) and are available at Room of One’s Own Bookstore (307 W Johnson St), Mother Fools Coffeehouse (1101 Williamson St), MATC Student Life Center (Truax, 3550 Anderson St.) and the LGBT Campus Center (UW Memorial Union, second floor), Woofs (114 King St) and Shamrock Bar (117 Main St.).

Tickets will also be available at the Jones event for buses to the upcoming National Equality March, scheduled for October 10-11 in Washington, DC. Sponsors of the event are organizing buses from Madison to DC for his historic march. We welcome donations to make participation available to the widest group possible.

For more information about the march, visit

For local information, email or call 608.446.0273.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Sharyl Kato on Rainbow Project's "Rhumba4Rainbow"; Renee Crawford on Thursday's "Restore The Vote Coalition" Capitol Hearing

Above: Forward Forum host John Quinlan with Associate Director Renee Crawford, at the ACLU of Wisconsin's February Bill of Rights Dinner in Milwaukee

On the August 23, 2009 show:

Two remarkable women doing important work for the benefit of the greater community: Sharyl Kato, and Renee Crawford



Note: Due to some important pressing family concerns, our planned special guest co-host Hedi Rudd is unable to be with us today. Look for her on a future show sometime soon. If you're a friend who was looking to connect with her this week, she'll be at this Friday's Dane Dances event. You can also reach her via email at .

Rainbow Project Exec. Director Sharyl Kato:
Previewing the 5th Annual Rhumba for Rainbow Event on Friday, Sept. 11th
Her Observations about the Rocky Times Facing Nonprofits Just When They're Needed Most

Sharyl Kato, executive director of the Rainbow Project previews the upcoming "Rhumba4Rainbow" event on September 11th--a benefit for the work of Rainbow Project in assisting children and families affected by abuse and trauma. It's a wonderfully entertaining event--one also made especially colorful and glorious by the multi-cultural diversity of both those who rhumba and those who watch.

The event takes place on Friday, September 11, 2009, 7:00 pm to midnight at the Marriott West Ballroom, 1313 John Q Hammons Drive in Middleton. This is the fifth year for this exciting event. A bit of history and context, excerpted from the event's website:

5th Annual Rhumba 4 Rainbow on September 11, 2009

What is So Special About the Rhumba for Rainbow, in 2009?
On September 11, 2001, our country experienced a national trauma, which affected millions of people. On a similar scale, young children and families right here in Dane County, are often experiencing similar effects of more private traumatic experiences, on a daily basis.

The Rainbow Project helps promote coping and recovery from such traumatic experiences. With this in mind, please do your part to help turn trauma into healing and TAKE BACK THE DATE on September 11, 2009, by joining us for the 5th Annual Rhumba for Rainbow Charity Event.

The date is now set for Friday, September 11, 2009, for the 5th ANNUAL RHUMBA 4 RAINBOW. We will “take back the date” and promise a spectacular evening. The dance floorshow is set to include a special, traditional, Mariachi dance performed by a 3 year old children, as well as Urban Vibes Dance Troup, Brandon and Serena, Micah and Katherine and many others world class dancers! This is a rare opportunity to expose the Madison/Dane County community to such incredible talent!

The number and quality of dance contestants has grown and is so exciting to watch. Several teams of celebrity dance contest judges pair with professional dance instructors are already gearing for fun and judging for the best!

We are also very excited to have the opportunity to present and recognize special EXTRA MILE Award recipients this year. These are individuals who are making an exceptional positive difference for young children and families in our community.

We are so proud and fortunate to have Grupo Candela, an amazing, energetic 11 piece Latin band performing for us.

An exciting feature of Rhumba 4 Rainbow is the EVENT SPONSORSHIP, a component that offers two levels of event support, at $2500 and $1500. For more information on the table sponsors, ticket sales, silent auction donations, raffle tickets and other information, please see our awesome new website and visit the Sponsor section.

Oh, and there are silent auctions and there are silent auctions….then there is the Rainbow Project Silent Auction. By far the most amazing silent auction ever!! Our event host and hostess will be Jason Salus and Maria Guerrero, WISC-TV.

And one more thing! This year we began the Mayor Dave’s Dance Challenge Fund. If the community is able to contribute $10,000. towards a fund at Park Bank. Mayor Dave promises to take dance lessons and salsa dance at the event! Some celebrities will walk across the state or shave their head for a great cause. Our Mayor sacrifices even more by offering to do something he truly does not want to do. Let’s help the Mayor be a success at his premier public dance performance!


Part two of our discussion with Sharyl: The NonProfit Funding Crisis

Sharyl Kato also joins us for a wide-ranging discussion about the challenges facing non-profit organizations in these challenging economic times. Besides her untiring service for the past 29 years role at the Rainbow Project, Sharyl has also been active in countless community organizations, including a leadership role in the Wisconsin Women of Color Network. Sharyl will reflect on the frustrations inherent in this time when agencies like her own are needed as never before because of the very economic realities that threaten their ability to perform their important work.

See this August 2007 Asian Wisconzine article by Laura Salinger for an interview with Sharyl that explores more about the tradition and meaning behind this event. See also the Rainbow Project website.

Renee Crawford on the "Restore the Vote" Coalition, and this Thursday's Capitol Hearing

Also joining us by phone from Milwaukee is frequent guest Renee Crawford, associate director of the ACLU of Wisconsin. Our focus will be on the Restore the Vote Coalition, which seeks new legislation guaranteeing the restoration of voting rights of those who have been disenfranchised while serving time in prison. The Restore the Vote Wisconsin Now Coalition is a group of activists, citizens, organizations, faith leaders, legislators and other cool people who are working to restore the right to vote to over 42,000 ex-offenders immediately upon release from incarceration in Wisconsin. Current law in Wisconsin restricts the right to vote to individuals until after their sentence. This means US citizens can be living, raising families, going to school, working, and paying taxes in our communities and not have the right to vote.

Renee will be previewing an event many months in the making:
Wisconsin State Assembly
Committee on Corrections and the Courts
Public Hearing on AB 353
WI Democracy Restoration Act
Thursday, August 27, 2009, 10:00 AM
225 Northwest, State Capitol

Here are some of the reasons that this issue is important...

Who is disfranchised in Wisconsin? An estimated 62,342 people with felony convictions are barred from voting in Wisconsin . Only 39% of the disfranchised are in prison while 40% of disfranchised people are on probation and 21% are on parole. Like many of us, probationers and parolees live in their community, work, pay taxes and raise their families.

Racial Impact. Again, one in nine African-American voters is disfranchised in Wisconsin , compared to one in fifty of all Wisconsin voters. As a result, Wisconsin has the 11th highest rate of African-American disfranchisement in the United States. African Americans comprise 39% of the disfranchised population, even though they comprise only 5% of the voting age population.

Impact on Women Nationwide.
Almost 700,000 women are unable to vote due to felony convictions. African-American women are disfranchised at a disproportionately higher rate: nationally, 1.92% - one in 50 - African-American women is disfranchised, compared to 0.63% of voting age women. Wisconsin 's female prison population grew by 863% between 1977 and 2004, ranking 31st in 2004 for female incarceration rates. The growing female prison population in Wisconsin leads to a growing percentage of disfranchised women in Wisconsin , as more women are incarcerated and placed on probation, parole and extended supervision.

Impact on Children. Additionally, children who see their parents vote are more likely to replicate that behavior themselves. With the higher rate of African-American disfranchisement and close to two-thirds of African-American children being raised in single parent homes, it affects not only the current generation but also the coming generation as well. For example, parents who cannot vote cannot determine the school board member who decides important issues about their children’s education and by proxy the children’s welfare is directly impacted by those decisions made with their parents silenced about who best represents their children. In hyper-segregated communities like Milwaukee , this can be devastating to the entire community.

Voting and Public Safety. Felony disfranchisement runs counter to the goal of public safety. Restricting voting rights does not prevent crime, nor does it provide compensation to victims. In fact, disfranchising persons after release from prison is antithetical to the reentry process and harmful to long-term prospects for sustainable reintegration of ex-offenders into society. Recent research finds a link between voting participation and re-offense; people who voted after release from supervision were half as likely to be re-arrested as those who did not vote. Similar effects were found among people with a prior arrest; 2 7% of non-voters were re-arrested, compared to 12% of people who had voted.

That's right: non-voters are more than 50% more likely to re-offend than voters! Far from making streets safer, felony disfranchisement may be detrimental to fostering public safety. Voting demonstrates an individual’s commitment to the institutions of American democracy. The cruel irony of felony disfranchisement is that the very behavior that society strives to encourage – the commitment to the larger social and political collective – is undermined by a policy that requires people who desire to engage in that behavior to relinquish the right to vote.Please join us on Sunday to engage in this important issue, and on Thursday at the State Capitol. For more information, contact Renee Crawford at .

"Wearing Another Hat": Please Check Out Renee's Fantastic Blog, Crawford's Take

P.S. Like Hedi and Sharyl, Renee Crawford is also someone who sees the interconnected Big Picture with between all struggles for social justice. Taking off her ACLU hat, and wearing her hat as private citizen and activist, Renee is also the author of an outstanding and highly-quoted political blog, "Crawford's Take." Be sure to scroll back to January to read her fascinating and moving account of her family's trip to Washington, DC for the Obama Inaugural, as well as hundreds of other cogent, humorous, and insight-filled blog entries.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Author Atty. Frederick Hertz, Author of "Making it Legal: A Guide to Same-Sex Marriage, Domestic Partnerships & Civil Unions"

Above: Longtime Madison LGBT community leaders and 8-year partners Tamara Packard and Renee Herber were among the first to sign up for the new Wisconsin domestic partnership registry in the office of the Dane County clerk. Photo: Mike DeVries, The Capital Times

Click for an archived version of this show
On the August 16, 2009 Forward Forum:

This week's special guest is Attorney Frederick Hertz, co-author, with Emily Doskow, of "Making it Legal: A Guide to Same-Sex Marriage, Domestic Partnerships & Civil Unions." As pictured above, countless Wisconsin couples celebrated on August 3rd, the first day of statewide registration for same-sex domestic partners. As the Wisconsin Capitol Pride celebration gets underway this weekend, many couples will be renewing their commitments to one another at a beautiful public ceremony on Friday at 5pm in the State Capitol.

And in recent months, many Wisconsin couples have taken the additional step of being married out-of-state (such as in nearby Iowa), or abroad, in jurisdictions that now recognize same sex marriage. How do and don't these rights transfer across state lines? What questions should be asked before a couple decides what choice is right for them, and is that choice always marriage or other variations on marriage?

Given the many legal challenges and legislative battles that lie ahead, no one knows exactly what path this all may take. Our guest Fred Hertz is an Oakland-based attorney who will provide many insights and valuable advice, helping to us explore the current confusing crazy quilt of laws affecting same sex couples nationwide. A native of Minnesota, he proudly points to the pioneering role for legal recognition of LGBT families that’s long been played right here in the Midwest.

He also comes at this issue with a fresh approach, resonant with his own decision not to marry despite his 27 year-long same sex partnership—the notion that marriage may not be for everybody--and that’s a discussion with relevance to couples and individuals both gay and straight. Regardless, though, he believes in the power of entering into any partnership with eyes wide open, and clear understandings about how finances, caretaking, and other issues will be handled. He also observes that LGBT people--in forging creative new solutions to these challenges and persevering despite the obstacles--may even have a few things to teach their straight counterparts about the meanings behind marriage and other partnership agreements.

Above: Longtime activists Phyllis Lyons and Del Martin were married in a June 2008 ceremony at San Francisco's City Hall, after 57 years together.

This week’s edition of Forward Forum is on tape, so we won’t be able to take your calls. However, we’ll be back live next week. And if you have questions or comments to share in the meantime, please write to us at or feel free to leave a message on our blog below.

Take care, Happy Pride (see article immediately below), and have a great week!

Article and Video from the Cap-Times on Aug. 3rd Domestic Partner registrations

Dec. 2008 Video Interview with Fred Hertz on the biggest challenges he faces in mediations

Making it Legal Website; With Updates to the Book and Links to the Co-Author's Blogs

Saturday, August 8, 2009

LGBT Celebration in Madison: Highlights of Upcoming "Wisconsin Capitol Pride" Weekend, August 14th, 15th, and 16th, 2009

Click to Listen to Archived Show

On the August 9, 2009 Forward Forum

We're joined by Scott Willems (Senior Co-Chair), Maria Parker (Junior Co-Chair), and Kelley Richardt (Treasurer) from the Wisconsin Capitol Pride Committee, who tell us:

"Wisconsin Capitol Pride (WCP) is proud to announce that the 2009 Pride Festival will be held on Saturday, August 15th and Sunday, August 16th on Willow Island at the Alliant Energy Center.

"The Pride Festival will celebrate the diverse LGBT community in Dane County and Greater Wisconsin and will feature various events ranging from live concerts, to contests and family-oriented activities. Wisconsin Capitol Pride has embarked on an aggressive $25,000 fundraising campaign to fund the event.

"The 2009 Pride Festival, which will commence on Saturday, August 15th from 2 – 9 pm, will feature a performance by comedienne Vickie Shaw (pictured at right) and other local acts. Admission will be $5.

"The focal point of Sunday, August 16th activities will be a pride parade, beginning at 1 pm that will circle Madison’s Capital Square, starting at Café Montmarte and ending at the corner of Pinckney St. and East Washington Avenue. The parade will be followed by a community picnic celebration at Willow Island at the Alliant Energy Center from 2 – 7 pm.

Family friendly activities and performances by local groups and organizations will be the focus of the day’s events. Admission on Sunday will be free, however Wisconsin Capital Pride will be asking for donations."

This year marks the 20th anniversary of Madison's first major pride march, which was organized by the Gay and Lesbian Visibility Alliance (GALVAnize), and these events also carry on festival traditions begun under the auspices of the MAGIC Picnic. (See details in this Wikipedia article on Madison LGBT Pride traditions.)

See the webpage of Wisconsin Capitol Pride for the full list of this year's pride committee, sponsors, and the complete list of events.

Pictured below: Two of our three guests, Kelley Richardt and Maria Parker. Not pictured: Scott Willems.

Map below: Willow Island (circled) is located adjacent to the Dane County Coliseum, on the grounds of the Alliant Energy Center, just off of John Nolen Drive, and its intersection with the Beltline. Click on image to enlarge map.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

"The Sharing Solution" Author Janelle Orsi on getting by in challenging times; How to Save Money, Simplify Your Life, and Build Community

On the Aug. 2, 2009 Forward Forum:

Click for Show Intro
Includes Preview of "Lanterns for Peace," and "WI Capitol Pride" Events

Click to Listen to Janelle Orsi Interview

Our guest is Attorney Janelle Orsi (pictured below at left), co-author (with Atty. Emily Doskow, at right) of the book "The Sharing Solution: How to Save Money, Simplify Your Life & Build Community."

The authors write, "Sharing is the answer! Build community and save money with the ultimate resource sharing guide.... You may be motivated and committed to creating a more sustainable lifestyle in your community, but where do you start? And how can you do it without the hassle and legal entanglement that so many greener initiatives seem to require? The Sharing Solution guides you, in plain English, through the steps you’ll need to take to create and maintain successful sharing arrangements.

From housing to childcare, cars to lawnmowers, gardens to bike repair, The Sharing Solution gives you the tips and tools to share your resources, while addressing commonly held questions about liability and individual security with compassion. How can you benefit from sharing?

* Get help with meals and pet care
* Share needed resources in retirement to save money
* Buy property with others if you can’t afford a single-family home
* Work fewer hours while reducing living expenses
* Grow your local economy with community initiatives
* Plan to make big purchases with others to keep costs low

And, if you’re concerned about the environment and want to start living greener, The Sharing Solution is filled with environmentally sound ways to build a more sustainable – and affordable – lifestyle. Written by public interest attorneys, the book provides the practical tools you can use to make sharing agreements.

As noted author Alice Walker says, “Sharing is the answer…”

Some Madison-based examples of successful "sharing programs"

Arboretum Co-Housing Program

Arboretum Cohousing is a cohousing community that is designed to encourage interactions between people and enrich our lives with the pleasure of cooperation and friendship.

From their webpage: "The community is a mix of affordable market-rate and low-income units. We care about the earth and are committed to environmentally sustainable practices and building techniques. Our multigenerational community welcomes diversity and values the input of each person.

"Sharing Our Lives We are a community in which we share work, celebrations, laughter and tears. We support each other through the milestones of life. We sustain each other as we learn, raise children, and become wise elders. We strive to build a community where we can all belong for a lifetime."

This is just one example of co-housing in Madison. For more information, please visit the website of the Madison Area Community Land Trust.

Madison Community Car

From left: Patricia Eldred, Director of Development and Communications for Independent Living, Inc.; John Ribolzi, Vice President of Community Car; Sonya Newenhouse, President of Madison Environmental Group; Colleen Moran, Operations Manager of Community Car; Tom Linfield, VP of Grantmaking and Community Initiatives for Madison Community Foundation; and Meals on Wheels Volunteer.

Delivering daily meals to Madison residents just got a bit easier for Independent Living’s Meals on Wheels program. The Madison Community Foundation is sponsoring three years of access to Madison Community Car’s fleet of hybrid and high-mileage vehicles.Because of the poor economy, Tom Linfield of the Madison Community Foundation said the foundation has shifted its priority to supporting organizations that provide life’s basics — food, shelter and energy. "We were worried that a lot of non-profits who do great work would struggle and go out of business," Linfield said. "We wanted to not just give them extra money to do what they regularly do but help strengthen them."

Independent Living can now take the $5,000 a year it had spent on vehicle-related expenses and keep prices low for its Meals on Wheels clients, usually elderly residents, said Rita Giovannoni, Independent Living CEO. The three-way partnership, with its focus on bettering the community and environment, creates "the kind of world we want to be a part of going forward," Giovannoni said. After the three years of foundation sponsorship, Independent Living could continue with Community Car on its own at 50 percent of what they spent on transportation before the Madison Community Foundation suggested a partnership with Community Car, a Madison-based car sharing organization.

From the Madison Community Foundation e-newsletter.

Community Car began operation in Madison,Wisconsin in October of 2003. It is a member-based car service that provides rental by the hour for individuals and organizations, in an attempt to provide an economical, environmentally-friendly alternative to owning a car or second car.

Dane County Timebank

The Dane County Timebank is a network of individuals and organizations in Dane County working to increase efficiency, opportunity and resource sharing through mutually beneficial exchange -- building community ties and community self-sufficiency.

How does it work?

When you need something like minor home repair, child care, companionship, an exercise buddy, whatever -- look on Community Weaver and contact a member directly, or call the Timebank coordinator and ask. The coordinator will set you up with a neighbor, who has had an interview and basic background check like every other Timebank member, who can help you. After the neighbor helps you they or the coordinator deduct one Time Dollar per hour of service from your account and adds the same number of Time Dollars to your neighbor's account. You can earn back the credit by helping anyone else in the network. You can also accumulate a few debits before you need to pay them back. It's easy to ask for help when you need it!

See also, the website of the University of Wisconsin Center for Cooperatives.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Connecting Young People and Our Civil Rights History: Selma Historian/Guide Joanne Bland and Milwaukee filmmaker Scott Rivera

On the July 26, 2009 Forward Forum:

Click to Hear Archived Show

Guests Joanne Bland and Scott Rivera (inset photos) join us for a very special edition of our show, to discuss their joint participation in Scott's 2008 documentary, Exact Change, which chronicles the journey of 25 Milwaukee high school students to the civil rights sites of the Deep South. An adult chaperone on a life-changing bus trip sponsored by the Milwaukee-based Nehemiah Project, Scott documented the trip and the experiences of these young people in his remarkable film. This includes capturing the fascinating interchange that occurs between Selma to Montgomery March veteran Joanne Bland and that group of young people, as she challenges them to fully engage and relate to a history with profound ongoing relevance to their lives.

All of this was recently discussed by Scott on a September 2008 episode of Wisconsin Public TV's Director's Cut, with host Charles Monroe-Kane, who, in turn shared his impressions with us about the film and Ms. Bland on the June 5, 2009 Forward Forum.

Although she's based out of her hometown of Selma, Alabama, Joanne Bland is among our most frequent and favorite visitors to Forward Forum. She is a much-respected oral historian, who describes in compelling detail her memories as an 11-year-old attending the 1965 Selma to Montgomery March. (At that young age, she had already been arrested 13 times as a result of her participation in non-violent civil rights protests. To hear her story, follow this link to her interview with Amy Goodman, recorded in 2005, on the 40th anniversary of the march.) That historic march began bathed in the blood of its non-violent participants at the hands of Gov. George Wallace's Alabama state troupers in shocking scenes broadcast nationwide, ultimately drawing allies from across the country and world, proving to be the catalyst for the passage of the 1965 Voting Rights Act, later that year.

In August of 2006, Forward Forum broadcast live from Selma's National Voting Rights Museum, which Ms. Bland co-founded. She is a frequent visitor to Madison and Wisconsin, thanks to a relationship forged almost a decade ago with the UW-Madison, and parallel relationship in Milwaukee, forged after her participation in a conference entitled, "Milwaukee: the Selma of the North." Resonant with the journey depicted in the film, countless UW-Madison students have traveled to Selma, to experience firsthand the history of this place central to the civil rights and voting rights struggles. And yet few people in the greater Madison community are aware of that relationship, or have benefited from it. That's something we're working to change.

Milwaukee native and UW-Madison alumni Scott Rivera is a media producer for Leaping Frog Productions, and has worked in film, documentary and television production since 1994. Scott's projects include School Takeover: A Case Study in Compton, CA (54 min., documentary) and Exact Change (66 min. documentary). Scott is a segment producer for Milwaukee Public Television, and his production experience includes broadcast television, corporate media, and work on feature films in Los Angeles.

He describes Exact Change as follows: "For many Milwaukee youth, our nation’s fight for civil rights is a far-off story told through a handful of black and white photographs, ending with the words, 'I have a dream.' But that perception [was] about to change for a select group of Milwaukee teens.

"Exact Change follows twenty-five Milwaukee high school students on a civil rights bus tour through Atlanta, Selma, Montgomery, Birmingham, and Memphis. The story
shows how a first-hand look at the struggle for civil rights impacts the students, and how the experience changes their attitudes and approaches toward race relations."

[At left: a young man, also pictured above, who seems initially disinterested about Ms. Bland's presentation, is called out by Ms. Bland, and temporarily leaves his classmates, heading back to the bus. Filmmaker Rivera, also a chaperone, steps out of his filmmaker role, and engages him in conversation. Subsequently, the young man not only apologizes to Ms. Bland, but also leads the group in marching across the historic Edmund Pettus Bridge, where the Selma to Montgomery March began.]

Is the history of the civil rights movement merely a passing curiosity, or does it still have an important role to play in the lives of today's young people? In a week when issues of race and history are looming large in the face of the controversy over President Obama's reaction to the Cambridge police's alleged mistreatment of distinguished Harvard professor Dr. Henry Louis Gates, it's a question well worth asking.

Please join us for this week's edition of Forward Forum, and please join in our conversation by calling us at 608-321-1670.

Courtesy of the Veoh website (brief free registration process may be required), the 66 minute documentary Exact Change can be viewed online. See also this short report on the film by WISN-TV's Mike Gousha.

Recently "retired" from her post as co-founder and longtime executive director of the National Voting Rights Museum, Ms. Bland continues to speak at venues across the country, and conducts civil rights-themed tours, featuring her participatory and compelling narratives, for people of all ages and background through an organization called Journeys for the Soul; email: Her next visit to Madison has been tentatively scheduled for late February of 2010.

Below: Ms. Bland marches across Selma's historic Edmund Pettus Bridge in March of 2007 in the company of then presidential candidate Barack Obama, and civil rights movement leader the Rev. Joseph Lowery (who delivered the keynote at Madison's 2008 King Day celebration, and the closing prayer at Obama's 2009 inauguration). Both candidate Obama and his then-opponent, Sen. Hillary Clinton (see wider shot, pictured at right with former president Bill Clinton), delivered emotion-filled speeches during their respective pilgrimages to Selma at that time. During that visit, Obama broke away from a black tie dinner, to spend three hours one-on-one with Ms. Bland at the National Voting Rights Museum, reveling in the history of a movement that made his historic run for the presidency a possibility.

More ripples from the Wisconsin to Selma Connection.

Ms. Bland's most recent visit to Madison was in January, which dovetailed with her appearance as King Day keynote speaker at Cardinal Stritch University in Milwaukee (a role she also performed last year at Beloit College). The illustration below, from the Cardinal Stritch website, is symbolic of the resonance between Ms. Bland's visit, and the historic inauguration of the nation's first black president, which occurred the next day.

Photo from August of 2006 with Ms. Bland (below at left) with fellow Selma to Montgomery march veterans Lawrence and Dorothea Huggins. Back row: Rev. Darrel Richey, pastor of Madison's James Reeb Unitarian Universalist congregation, and Forward Forum host John Quinlan. Richey and Quinlan helped conduct a half dozen interviews with several of the "untold heros and heroines" of the civil rights struggle. Richey's congregation is named for a former U.U. pastor, an ally who was martyred during the weeks preceding the march, and upon his return to Madison, Rev. Richey continues to speak out about this important history.

John Quinlan has maintained an ongoing supportive friendship with Ms. Bland, providing technical and financial support for her work and for associated oral history projects, and inviting her back to his radio show on numerous occasions to comment on the resonance of history with the 2008 presidential election. After rendez-vousing with Ms. Bland in Atlanta, he returned with her to Selma in August of 2008, where they watched Barack Obama's nomination at the Democratic National Convention together in her home. Ms. Bland, in turn, was in Madison during the inauguration, and Rev. Richey and Quinlan were privileged to view that historic occasion together with her. As noted above, while Ms. Bland has spoken extensively to UW-Madison students to powerful effect, and in venues throughout the Milwaukee community through a decade of visits, only a relative handful of people in the non-university greater Madison community have heard her powerful message--something that we hope to change in months to come.

Highlights of Past Forward Forum shows with Joanne Bland (more to be posted shortly):

August 25, 2006
Forward Forum host John Quinlan broadcasts live from the National Voting Rights Museum, with its co-founder and then executive director (she retired from this position after 15 years in April 2007), Joanne Bland. Ms. Bland takes listeners on a guided walking tour of the museum in the second hour. After an introductory segment with Ms. Bland, we're joined by Spencer Overton, author of "Stealing Democracy: The New Politics of Voter Suppression." Laura Gutknecht anchors from back in Madison, in the company of former museum intern and UW grad student Tyina Steptoe (who has since finished her PhD, and now lives in Seattle). Then in our third hour, we interview Howard Bayliss, the president of the LGBT rights group, "Equality Alabama," and summarize our show with commentaries by the Rev. Darrel Richey (also on the ground in Selma), Laura, Tyina and John. See also: Texas native Tyina Steptoe's outstanding blog about her several month-long internship in Selma, and its cross-cultural revelations, Lone Star in Selma .

Nov. 4, 2007
Joanne is joined by Univ. of Wisconsin-Madison Comm Arts professor Sue Zaeske and students Mary Carter, Charles Hughes, Mobolaji Falomo, and Alan Pietrowicz. The students share the life-changing nature of their trips to Selma, where they were guided on a tour of history by Ms. Bland while also helping to capture that history through a variety of hands-on projects. interviews.

Other links to stories about Joanne Bland, and related recent events in Selma:

Baylor University Magazine

Selma to Montgomery National Historic Site Interview

Eastern Mennonite University

University of Wisconsin-Madison press release chronicling a 2002 trip to Madison in the company of other civil rights leaders

UW-Madison release about a 2004 Chadbourne Residency Program's civil rights event, and Ms. Bland's particiption

October 29, 2002 UW-Madison Daily Cardinal article

October 29, 2002 UW-Madison Badger Herald article

New York Times video presentation, with an interview with Ms. Bland, following the Nov. 2008 election

New York Times March 2007 article on visit of Senators Obama and Clinton to Selma