Community Invited To Dialogue On Racism, Prejudice In Beaver Dam

(Beaver Dam) A program Wednesday in Beaver Dam seeks to create a safer space for the public to discuss discrimination and bias. The “Community Dialogue About Racism and Cultural Prejudice” is being presented by the American Association of University of Woman.

Annette Kamps is the chair of the Associations’ Diversity/Equity/Inclusion subcommittee. Kamps says the purpose of the program is to increase the community’s awareness of cultural diversity, celebrate it, support inclusiveness, and foster cooperative efforts that address racism and bigotry wherever they exist.

Some of the panelists include Elisha Barudin from the Racial Justice Group of Dodge County; Laura Goral from Habitat for Humanity Restore and the Beaver Dam Playground Movement; and Beaver Dam Chief of Police John Kreuziger. They will be using the book “So You Want to Talk about Race” by Ijeoma Oluo to facilitate discussion.

Kamps encourages people to read the book but it is not required to understand the presentation.

“Although we encourage reading the book, it is not needed to get the full benefit of the panelists’ presentation,” says Kamps, “their introductory thoughts about the book will lead to a larger discussion about the community’s role in addressing racism and bigotry.”

Plans for the program began a year ago when the national AAUW association challenged local branches to address their DEI goals. After realizing that such efforts were underway, the AAUW committee did some research, decided the book was a clever idea, and presented it to over 20 organizations in the Beaver Dam area. Following the presentation, the next step was to plan a program agenda that would help the community understand where prejudice occurs.

President of the Beaver Dam branch of the UW Roberta Marc is pleased that the program is taking place on a certain day.  

“The UN’s 2022 Peace Day theme is ‘Build Peace, End Racism,’” says Marc. “We hope that this program will open the door to more public conversations and events that will unify community support for this important purpose.”

After the presentation, attendees will have a chance to participate in small breakout sessions with panel members to discuss their thoughts and feelings. The community dialogue will begin at 7pm Wednesday at the Beaver Dam Area Community Theater at 117 West Maple Avenue in Beaver Dam. The program will be facilitated by Craig Warmbold of WBEV. The event is free to attend and no registration is required.