LA CROSSE, Wis. (WXOW) – The second week of November will have several presentations about combating racism, learning about how racism works, and how to dismantle it, as well as how to improve diversity in the Coulee Region.
Darrell Ferguson, a Paraprofessional at Onalaska High School and committee member of the Creating A Healthier Multicultural Community Project, will attend and well as help set up the upcoming presentations.
Creating A Healthier Multicultural Community Project (CHMC) is based in La Crosse. It is an organization that promotes awareness and understanding of a wide range of racial, cultural, and ethnic topics.
“There is a multicultural community here, it is not just nationally,” Ferguson said. “I think
people need to understand that locally here in La Crosse, that diversity has been marginalized. CHMC wants people to understand that we need to start focusing on that, and not just keeping minorities on the outer periphery.”
On Thursday, November 14, at Graff Main Hall Auditorium on the U.W. La Crosse campus, keynote speaker Dr. Jacquenline Battalora will discuss the when, where and how racial categories were first inserted into law and its legal evolution.
On Saturday, November 16, at 10 a.m., at the English Lutheran Community Auditorium, distinguished speakers Reggie Jackson and Dr. Fran Kaplan will discuss how people can hold intimate conversations with individuals whose lived realities are different from our own.
Pat Lunney, Co-leader of CHMC, said people should celebrate that La Crosse is a diverse community.
“I hope that people who attend these events recognize that if we create a multicultural community, we create a community that will thrive and grows in the right way,” Lunney said. “We want people from all different cultures and racial backgrounds to come here to La Crosse to feel represented; we want our residents to embrace what it is to be an inclusive community.
The public lectures on Thursday and Saturday are free for anyone to attend.
Ferguson made a note about the prominent history of African-Americans in La Crosse, like George Edwin Taylor. Taylor was born in the pre-Civil War South to a free mother and an enslaved father. Taylor became the first African-American selected by a political party to be its candidate for the presidency of the United States. Taylor was raised in and near La Crosse by a politically active African-American family, he attended Wayland University in Beaver Dam, Wisconsin from 1877 to 1879, after which he returned to La Crosse where he went to work for the La Crosse Free Press and then the La Crosse Evening Star.