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Upcoming Across The Red & Blue Divide Event To Focus On Criminal Justice Reform

Michelle Maternowski
WUWM's Mitch Teich is joined in the studio by Zeidler Center’s Director Katherine Wilson and Milwaukee Journal Sentinel’s Erin Richards, and on the phone by Millennial Action Project Founder / President Steven Olikara. ";s:

People from across the political spectrum will join on Thursday, Sept. 6, at The Bavarian Bierhaus in Glendale, Wis., for our Across the Red & Blue Divide: Reforming Criminal Justice event.

For more than a year, WUWM 89.7 FM - Milwaukee's NPR and the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel have been partnering on a conversation series to bring people of differing political philosophies together. The aim of the Across the Divide series is not to persuade one side to think like the other; rather to give people insights into how and why others think about issues.

At the same time, the Zeidler Center for Public Discussion and Washington, DC-based Millennial Action Project have been inviting people to take part in a similar effort — their A Red & Blue Conversation series.

Now, the two efforts are joining together for this week’s event.

>> If you’re interested in attending the event, RSVP here.

The conversation will focus on criminal justice reform, a topic Millennial Action Project founder and president — and Brookfield native — Steven Olikara says is a bipartisan opportunity.

“In Wisconsin, we recently saw a pretty promising bipartisan effort around the closure of the Lincoln Hills youth prison,” he says. “That bill actually passed the assembly unanimously — you saw conservatives making conservative arguments for it, you saw progressives arguing progressive arguments for it. So, they weren’t giving up their principles, but they saw a common solution that advanced their respective values in politics.”

Katherine Wilson, director of the Zeidler Center for Public Discussion, wants people to know that it’s OK if everyone doesn’t agree.

“When people hear dialogue, we don’t want people to think that they need to go into the space thinking that they’ll be asked to change their political views, but that it is a space of creativity and an opportunity to build understanding across the divide,” she says.