On Sunday, April 13, 2008, over 2,300 delegates from throughout Southeastern Wisconsin gathered together at the Midwest Airlines Center in downtown Milwaukee for the Founding Convention of Common Ground.
The convention was held to officially launch Common Ground as an organization and force for social change in Southeastern Wisconsin. The convention offered the opportunity to share Common Ground’s history, the urgent need for change in our region; stories about the damaging and lingering effects of crime, unemployment and inadequate health care on ordinary citizens; the issues Common Ground will address going forward; an introduction to and formal commitment of support by Common Ground’s founding members; and, finally, Common Ground’s next steps.
A wide array of speakers, sharing personal stories, set the tone and underlined the need for change in our region. Father Jeff Haines, pastor of St. Frances Cabrini Parish, spoke about the effects of job loss on a member of his own parish. Bernadette Davel, a member of St. Catherine’s Parish, shared the terrifying effects of high healthcare costs on her own family. Pa Vang, a member of Hmong First Baptist Church, described the residual effects of a home burglary on herself and her family.
The agenda then turned to success. Reverend Jason Butler of the Transformation City Church in Wauwatosa highlighted the power of Common Ground’s united voice in helping him overcome recent struggles to secure a place for his church to gather and worship.
Milwaukee Mayor, Tom Barrett, and Wisconsin Secretary of Administration, Michael Morgan, formally recognized Common Ground’s efforts and value. Mayor Barrett also asked for Common Ground’s help in his efforts to restore recently-reduced public transportation in the Milwaukee area. Secretary Morgan expressed Governor Doyle’s commitment to work with Common Ground to address issues that affect Southeaster Wisconsin.
Common Ground’s founding member organizations then individually and formally committed to supporting Common Ground by:
• Providing teams of 3-20 people who will attend training, organize membership within their organizations and work on issue campaigns
• Financially supporting Common Ground through annual membership fees (no less than $500, no more than $15,000, based on each organization’s financial resources).
Please stay tuned for photos, videos and more information about the Founding Convention event.
OUR HEARTFELT THANKS GO OUT TO:
- Our speakers who made the event so inspirational and exciting:
- Rabbi Marc Berkson
- Reverend Bobby Sinclair
- Jodee Liedtke
- Frances Rodriguez
- Father Jeff Haines
- Bernadette Davel
- Pa Vang
- Reverend Jason Butler
Reverend Brian Sonderman
Reverend Tom Eggebrecht
- Reverend Willie Davis
- Our national network affiliate, the Industrial Areas Foundation (IAF).
- The 2328+ delegates and guests who attended and are ready to make a difference.