Many of us find ourselves wanting to communicate with the people in our lives who have a different perspective – and to do it in a way that builds connection and prompts genuine conversation. We created this resource page to help you with that challenge. Below we share some of our stories by topic along with a few suggestions for how to get a conversation started about the issues they may raise.
We hope you will share these stories with the people in your lives and think of yourselves as Love Wisconsin story ambassadors!
Because you’re reading this, we’re guessing that you are as addicted to personal stories as we are. We imagine that you enjoy Love Wisconsin’s stories because like us, you find them by turns inspiring, thought-provoking, heartwarming, and often just plain fun. We travel around the state to find people whose stories can help break down barriers between us because we believe stories have the power to help us better understand each other.
We are so proud of the unique social media space we created, and to have you be part of our Love Wisconsin community. Even though we are living in a time when we increasingly struggle to understand each other, we have been able to build a vibrant community in a digital space – a community that looks like Wisconsin. We encourage you to take a few minutes to read the stories on this resource page and share them with the people in your life.
Here are some conversation starters that we have found useful when talking to friends and family about Love Wisconsin stories.
- I want to share this story with you because it interested me for (insert reason) and I would love to talk with you the story.
- Reading this story had a powerful impact on me (insert impact.) How about you?
- Reading this story introduced me to life experiences that I have never really thought about before. Did you have a similar experience?
- Reading this story made me think of an experience in my life and I want to share it with you.
- Reading this story really challenged my thinking. I would love to hear your thoughts on the story.
Waging Peace through Brotherhood. A story about a surprising friendship that emerged in the aftermath of the Sikh temple shooting in Oak Creek. Pardeep Singh Kaleka, the son of the slain temple president and Arno Michaelis, a former white supremacist, became friends and have been working together ever since to spread peace. (Check out Pardeep and Arno’s story here. Click here to learn more about their book, ‘The Gift of our Wounds: A Sikh and a White Supremacist Find Forgiveness After Hate.’)
Making a Home in “a Whole Different World.” Lee Lo’s father was recruited by the CIA during the Vietnam War. After the war it was dangerous for Hmong people to stay in Laos, so they fled to a refugee camp in Thailand. Through the strength of her own perseverance and with the support of great teachers, Lee made her way from refugee to successful entrepreneur in Wausau, WI. (Check out Lee’s story here. Click here to read more stories about the immigrant and refugee experience in Wisconsin.)
Bridging Racial Divides. When she saw that many of her neighbors didn’t understand what life was like for people of color in Cedarburg, Erica Turner launched Bridge the Divide, a community-wide program for discussion and action around racial reconciliation. (Check out Erica’s story here. Click here to find similar stories.)
Stories of Our Shared Democracy. More than 230 years ago the United States ratified the Constitution—and our guess is that we have been arguing about the intent of the document ever since. Here in Wisconsin, we are lucky to have John Kaminksi, a renowned constitutional scholar who can answer pretty much any question about the document. (Check out John’s story here, our poll worker series here, and our first-time voter series here.)
“My parents gave us this chance to live.” In 2021, members of the Wisconsin legislature voted unanimously in support of a bill mandating that all Wisconsin students study the Holocaust and other genocides. They agreed that knowing this history is crucial to helping young people learn compassion—and act on it. So how do you talk about the Holocaust with kids? We featured three incredible people who go into schools to do just that. Werner Richheimer, a Holocaust survivor, shares his story in schools because he believes people need to hear this history firsthand. (Check out Werner’s story here. Click here to read Nancy’s story. She is the daughter of a Holocaust survivor.)
“I dedicate my life to educating others about Native people.” Dylan is many things: an archaeologist, a tribal council member, a father, a Wisconsinite, and a Bad River Tribal Member. Dylan found his calling in helping to educate others about Native culture, and by empowering his people to do important work. (Check out Dylan’s story here. Click here to read more Indigenous voices stories.)
This podcast episode spotlights Tracey Robertson, a nonprofit leader and community organizer who was tired of hearing her neighbors repeat stereotypes she knew were not true. She figured that to change the narrative, people needed to be able to see each other more clearly, as complex individuals each with a story to share. In this episode, we learn about a project called Color-Brave that evolved from conversations in a coffee shop to a traveling exhibit and book. You’ll meet Mushe and Shawn, featured in Color-Brave, and the photographer and museum curator who made it possible.
This podcast episode starts with a meal around a fire, in a place where people have been cooking and eating for more than 5,000 years. Our hosts are Marvin Defoe and Edwina Buffalo-Reyes, members of the Red Cliff band of Lake Superior Ojibwe in Bayfield County. For the last three years, the Red Cliff Tribal Historic Preservation Office has been collaborating with two archaeologists helping excavate sites on tribal lands. Listen to hear what they are doing to reclaim and revitalize the deep history and culture of their people—and to help train a new generation of scholars committed to centering indigenous knowledge.