The Midwest Airlines Center will be filled with thousands of residents and civic leaders on Sunday, April 13 from 2:30 to 4:30 p.m. Why? Common Ground.
What's Common Ground? It's one organization in a national network affiliated with the Industrial Areas Foundation (IAF), the oldest and largest institution for professional organizing in the United States. According to the group's site, IAF organizations have been successful in passing universal health care legislation in Massachusetts, getting 3,000 affordable housing units built in New York, instituting school reform and effective job training in Texas, urban reinvestment in Washington, D.C. and other social issue campaigns.
In Milwaukee, Common Ground and its lead organizer, Mark Fraley, having been working "behind the scenes" since 2004, when a group of 38 religious, civic and business leaders raised $700,000 in seed money to launch a grassroots organization, then known as Greater Milwaukee Sponsors.
The seed money came from the congregations and religious groups affiliated with the Roman Catholic Church, Lutheran Church Missouri Synod (LCMS), Presbyterian, Episcopal and United Church of Christ (UCC). Foundations, individuals and unions also contributed.
I've meet Fraley and followed some of this group's organizing and community building. It's intriguing and hopeful. Its goal is to bring people together to affect the political process. Common Ground wants to "address critical social issues," and Sunday is the group's first public step. Stop by and see how you can help.
This looks like an excellent opportunity for Milwaukee area residents to work together despite differences on key issues that impact us all no matter what part of the region we live in, our skin color, our religious background, or political affiliation. I am excited about this happening in Milwaukee.
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