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News & Events

CommNS Convenes Conversations on Racial Justice

Recent events across the U.S. have highlighted the need for Americans everywhere to better understand and challenge the racist systems that undergird the country’s history. Many are seeking opportunities to learn more and to engage in an effective and sustained manner that centers the leadership of people of color.

The UW Center for Community and Nonprofit Studies (“the CommNS”) at the School of Human Ecology, observing these calls and connecting with its partners and stakeholders, decided to host a series of “CommUnity Conversations” to address these interests.

“The movement doesn’t sustain itself and the work doesn’t happen unless you take action,” said Annette Miller, who co-facilitated the events. Miller is the founder of EQT by Design, a Madison consulting firm specializing in equity-centered strategic planning, change management, and organizational cultural design within government, community, and the corporate and nonprofit sectors. “How are we going to commit to making sure that this isn’t just a moment, and that is really truly is a movement forward?”

The live, virtual discussions occured Thursday, June 11, and Tuesday, June 16, and included panelists from across the university, in and around Madison, and a few nationally (see a full list below). They centered on the topic of “Sustained Engagement for Racial Justice: Sharing Ideas and Resources for Ongoing ‘Inquiry and Action for Social Change.'” Organizers, panelists, and attendees were also invited to contribute to a collaborative working document listing resources for learning and action.

Langston Evans, of the Madison Metropolitan School District and a panelist on the calls, shared, “Whatever identities you hold, whatever experiences you’ve had… we all have the power to educate ourselves. We all have a power to make change, understanding that growing ourselves is that first move that matters.”

Full video of the conversations can be viewed below or on the CommNS Facebook page.

For updates on the center’s work and news of future events, like its Facebook page and follow @UWtheCommNS on Twitter.


  • Annette Miller, founder, EQT by Design
  • Mary Beth Collins, Executive Director, the CommNS


  • Felicia Pulliam, commissioner, Ferguson Commission
  • Stephen Danley, Associate Professor of Public Policy and Administration, Rutgers-Camden University
  • Tarah Stangler, undergraduate student, UW–Madison
  • Lisa Bellanger, Anishinabe Ojibwa Teacher and Activist
  • Langston Evans, AVID Coordinator, Madison Metropolitan School District (MMSD)
  • Karen Reece Phiffer, VP of Research and Education, Nehemiah Community Development Corporation
  • Ruby Bafu, PhD Candidate, UW–Madison School of Human Ecology
  • Eric S. Upchurch II, Impact and Wellbeing Coach, Opportunity Inc.
  • Rosa Thompson, Founder of the Black Girl Magic Conference and Advanced Learning Teacher Leader at MMSD
  • Corinda Rainey-Moore, Community Outreach and Engagement Coordinator, Kids Forward
  • Precious Woodley, Teacher, One City Schools
  • Nasra Wehele, Board Member for the Morgridge Center for Public Service at UW–Madison, Downtown Rotary Club, and Boys and Girls Club of Dane County