Social Justice Committee

Social Justice Committee Meeting Minutes - July 26, 2017 

Attendees: Bob Block, Heather Marley, Char Thompson and Dave Leeper present. Started on time and ended early. Notetaker: Dave Leeper

Previous minutes were distributed and accepted.

Heather and Bob reported the Council agreed to make the capital campaign the capital and charitable campaign. The funds will go first to a sign at the east side of the neighborhood and then any excess to charitable purposes like proving food and other needs for food pantries and social worker identified needs for children in the schools in our neighborhood. Bob will work with Kathy to get an explanation of this plan to go with the membership materials.

Gracie was not present for an R sale report but it seems to have gone well. We agreed it should remain on the same formula date and publicized to neighboring associations.

Heather has gotten some nice student food donations and it was agreed she should give these to the summer meals program or any place the social workers say will help most with the summer food shortage problem.

Dave will prepare an article for the Hornblower that will include committee activities, and invitation to join, and a report on the churches that are sanctuary churches and hope people can volunteer to help if they want. August 12th deadline, circulate ahead of time.

Char brought up a new idea of creating some home histories as a way of recognizing the privileges and responsibilities of having a home in our neighborhood. This might be done in conjunction with the history committee and we might put some home histories on the website that would show people how to do this and show the history of homes in our neighborhood. It relates to our committee’s work on homelessness to see the positive progression of homeownership.

Since there is no Council meeting in August, we may not meet again before the next meeting. We will see if it is necessary. The explanation of the charitable campaign will need to be completed well before Labor Day so it can go out with membership packets.

R Sale Debrief from Gracie (emailed to SJC members on 7/27/17)

  • The 2nd Annual R Sale was held Saturday, July 15
  • 22 households participated with several multi-family sites
  • The R Sale was promoted and publicized via Isthmus calendar, the city of Madison public calendar, Craigslist events, Next Door, The Green, and other surrounding neighborhood association email blasts (Midvale Heights, Westmorland, Nakoma, Vilas, Greenbush, etc). We also promoted the R sale in the summer edition of The Hornblower newsletter that went to every DMNA home, printed flyers throughout the neighborhood, and electronically every week for 2 months via DMNA News Alerts. 
  • Each participating household received 30 copies of printed maps/corresponding sale listings (please see example below) plus SJC info sheets that were left over from Jazz in the Park.
  • Goodwill came to participating households on Sunday, July 16 to pick up any remaining curbside items.
  • I've received several emails from participants/visitors expressing their interest in making this an annual event, some have suggested that R sale sites could ask for additional donations to DMNA if they wish. 


Social Justice Committee Meeting Minutes - June 28, 2017

Attending: Bob, Bonnie, Pati, Char , and Gracie.  Notetaker: Pati

Bob called meeting to order at 5:05 pm. He shared thank you notes from the TEP and West High students for the Neighborhood’s donation of $250 for district food pantries.

1.Minutes reviewed and unanimously approved.

2. Budget Request: Bob reported that our request for $300 was approved at $200 ($100 for the R Sale and $100 for Movies That Matter). The council suggested that if we have need for the $100 requested for “Unforeseen Circumstances” that we return to council later with this request and specific as to its use.

2. Request for donation box on membership form (for neighborhood schools and their food assistance for homeless students): Bob reported that this was not addressed at last council meeting and would be put on their agenda for the next meeting (which will be second Wednesday this July because of the July 4th holiday). 

3. Jazz At Park report: Bob reported that informational sheet on the SJC was available at the event and that he staffed table for a couple of hours. Several people stopped or picked up info sheets. Extra info sheets will be used at R Sale and other events.

4. R Sale: Gracie reported that 13 households have signed up to date for Second Annual sale on July 15. Press releases concerning event have gone to local print and digital media. Posters were distributed to committee members and will be taken to local business and displayed along streets and bike path.  Goodwill is scheduled to pick-up sale leftovers on Sunday. All committee members are keeping fingers crossed for good weather.

5. Movies That Matter: Pati reported no info as yet. This item will be taken up at next committee meeting.

6. Food Collection for schools: Paul reported via email that he has talked to Trader Joe’s about a collection barrel there. It is possible. However, he felt that further committee discussion was needed to figure out the logistics of this idea.  Discussion followed regarding the best way to get additional food to neighborhood school pantries for the homeless students. Donation of food stuffs or cash donation (see item 2 donation box). Further discussion needed and this item will be on July agenda for committee.  Bonnie noted that Regent St. Market has a collection barrel and she will check on who it goes to and how the collection of the donated food is handled. Gracie will confirm with Heather about our current collection method (her porch). Gracie will also check on the REAP program and if they have needs in August (when school meal programs are closed) that we might address.

7. Sanctuary Movement: Char reported that the First Unitarian Church is part of those churches in Madison that will be Sanctuary shelters if needed. No discussion of how DMNA could support this.

Meeting adjourned at 5:46 pm


SJC Monthly Meeting Minutes - May 31, 2017

Attendees: Bob, Bonnie, Paul, Patti, Char, and Dave. Minutes compiled by Dave Leeper.

  1. We agreed to a slightly increased budget. We are requesting $100 for the R sale, $100 for movies that matter, and $100 for unforeseen circumstances and opportunities. Bob will present to the Council- maybe to Julia, 1st?
  2. Bob will also ask the Council for permission to put a statement on the bottom of the membership form to ask for added monetary contributions which will be distributed to neighborhood schools for school food pantries and needs for homeless children- if it is not a bookkeeping nightmare.
  3. We are suggesting Gracie contact neighboring neighborhood associations to tell them about the R sale and invite participation. Gracie- you were not at the meeting, and you make the final decision, but this is the suggestion to strengthen inter-neighborhood cooperation. (Gracie agreed via email, 6/1/17)
  4. Bob, Dave, and others have all suggested making contact with other Associations that may have SJC interest or inclinations. We will all continue to try to do this and report any useful contacts or possible partnerships.
  5. Patti and Paul will continue to think about movies that matter and making connections to libraries or other groups.
  6. Gracie- we are asking you, again, to communicate that there will be a SJC table and presence at Jazz in the Park and we will be collecting non-perishable food and healthy snacks for school food pantries and children in need in our schools. Someone might ask our social workers how we can meet needs in August when schools are closed. (Gracie agreed via email, 6/1/17)
  7. Dave and Bob will prepare a handout for the table with mission, last Wednesday meeting, and directions to the Website. Others are welcome to help keep a presence at the table which we hope will be connected to the membership table.
  8. I forgot to bring up the Sanctuary movement with ideas of how we might support this within our neighborhood- and make connections to others to have strong neighborhood support for the new Dane Sanctuary group starting.



Evicted in Dane County, Wisconsin, A Collaborative Examination of the Housing Landscape” by Sims, J.R. et al.  This is a 38 page report by students and faculty in the UW Department of Urban and Regional Planning.  It’s on-line at

The Study’s Major Findings:

  1. Between 2000 and 2015 there were 40,439 eviction court cases initiated in Dane County with an average of 2, 527 cases per year.  August has the most evictions filed.
  2. Race is the most important factor explaining eviction in Dane County.  Neighborhoods with the most non-white residents are the most impacted by the eviction process.
  3. A small group of landlords are responsible for the most eviction filings. 
  4. The legal landscape has shifted heavily in favor of landlords so tenants have less rights.  

Safe and Sound, A Community Plan To Prevent and End Homelessness in Dane County 2016.  This 103 page report is available at


Tenant Resource Center

This non-profit organizations mission is “For Housing Justice in Wisconsin.: TRC provides housing counseling, community outreach and education,  an eviction clinic, housing mediation services, homeless services, and a security deposit service funded by a local church.  TRC’s executive director is Brenda Konkel.  TRC receives some public funding but needs private donations as well.  Volunteers needed to be housing counselors, mediators in small claims court, or to provide administration/office support.  It is located at The Social Justice Center, 1202 Williamson Street, Suite 102, Madison, WI 53703.

DIGS (Dwelling Intervention Grants and Sustenance)

The DIGS Program is located at St. John’s Lutheran Church 322 E. Washington Avenue, Madison 53703. To make an appointment with the DIGS Coordinator, Hasan Mohr call (608) 252-8522 on Tuesdays and Thursdays between 8:30 and 9:00 a.m.  This program is funded by Porchlight (men’s homeless shelter and transitional housing provider) and local churches.  In 2015 there were 1274 requests for help with rent, utilities, moving, etc., but only 750 could be served with a total of $156,332 being provided. There was no funding available for the additional 524 (41%) of individuals and families that asked for help. 

Dane County Homeless Consortium

Homeless Services Consortium of Dane County is a partnership of agencies, funders, advocates, and formerly homeless persons committed to preventing and ending homelessness. 



THOREAU ELEMENTARY SCHOOL (Grades K-5)   3870 Nakoma Road (53711)

We spoke with the Social Worker Liz Sorge and she stated there were thirteen identified homeless students either doubled up or floating from relative to relative. The biggest need for their homeless students/families are prepaid cards for groceries, gas, or Walgreens.  GHC helps with snacks and a clothing closet.

CHEROKEE MIDDLE SCHOOL (Grades 6-8) 4301 Cherokee Drive (53711)

We spoke with Social Worker Kimberly Stalker Herron.  She identified 20 homeless youth in hotels or doubling up.  They started the beginning of the year with 9 homeless students in shelters but all have found housing or are doubling up with relatives. They try to send snacks home with these students on Friday and could use granola/nutrition bars or squeeze applesauce or yogurt packets—things should be easily concealed in backpacks and are not messy.  They also can use gift cards as noted above.

FRANKLIN ELEMENTARY SCHOOL (Grades 4K- 2)   305 W. Lakeside Street (53715)   

We spoke with Social Worker Mandy Harvey.  They have 11-15 homeless students this year plus siblings who are going to Hamilton Middle School.  They too can use gift cards as well as peanut free snack foods including beef jerky and string cheese (they have a refrigerator so can store it.)  She expressed an interest in being able to contact DMNA members when they have need for specific items of clothing especially in winter.   

RANDALL ELEMENTARY SCHOOL (Grades 3-5)   1802 Regent Street (53726)

We spoke with Peg Murphy.  She expressed the same needs for snack foods to send home with homeless students over the weekend and would be interested in contacting DMNA when there is a need for specific items.  Gift cards are also needed.

HAMILTON MIDDLE SCHOOL (Grades 6-8)   4801 Waukesha Street (53705)

We spoke with Social Worker Kris Ensminger.  They have 5 homeless students. They have need of snacks for weekends.  Small packages of nuts and nutrition bars (especially the KIND brand which has protein.)  They also could use art supplies such as color pencils, markers, watercolors, paper and paint brushes for after school programs. Gift cards are needed

WEST HIGH SCHOOL (GRADES (9-12)   30 Ash Street (53726)

We spoke with Michelle Marking.  The currently have 15-20 homeless families.  They have need of snacks including individual boxes of cereal. They can always use adult size backpacks and school supplies such as spiral notebooks, pens and pencils, thin magic markers, and 1-2 inch binders. There is also a need for winter clothes (in season), underwear and gift cards.

To volunteer in the Madison Metro School District call the Community Partnerships Coordinator at 608-663-4941 or see



The SJC convened on February 22, 2017 at 5 pm at the Edgewood College Cafe.  Present were Bob Block, Bonnie Block, Heather Marley, Evy Gildrie-Voyles, and Char Thompson.

Minutes of the January 25, 2017 meeting were approved. 

Movies That Matter. At the last meeting it was agreed we should start this project with a pilot in spring so we discussed when and where to show such a film.  Heather has contacts with Temple Beth El and will check with them about a Sunday evening in May so we can announce it at the DNMA Annual Meeting.  Bonnie suggested the documentary “13th” about mass incarceration.  At the previous meeting we had copies of two films on homelessness that Pati found at the Madison Public Library.  Bob and Bonnie watched both “The Homestretch” and “The Hidden Homeless” and neither seemed especially compelling.  We’ll try to track down a third possibility which is “16:49” (filmed in Beloit).  We can make a decision on the film(s) to be shown at the March meeting.

More Reports on Homeless Students in our Neighborhood Schools. Bonnie talked to Mandy Harvey the social worker at Franklin Elementary School (grades 4K-2). She reported 11-15 homeless students so far this year and some have siblings at Hamilton. If students name Franklin as their school of origin transportation must be provided and this is difficult at times. There are similar needs for snack foods (without peanuts) that Evy reported last month, but Franklin has a refrigerator so string cheese can be donated.  She also said how gift cards are very helpful and expressed an interest in having a way of contacting DMNA members when there were specific needs, for example certain sizes/items of clothing.  We’ll work on a process for doing that—possibly using the DMNA e-mail list?  

Bonnie also contacted Peg Murphy at Randall Elementary (grades 3-5) and Kris Ensminger at Hamilton Middle School via email but so far has had no response.  Once we have these responses Evy and Bonnie will compile a single list of all the items social workers from the individual schools have said would be helpful and do a piece for the DMNA e-mail list giving  people an opportunity to bring these items to the DMNA annual meeting for us to then distribute. 

Report on presentation at the February Council Meeting.  Four SJC members were at the Council meeting for the presentation by Amy Noble and Jani Koester from the Madison Metro School District about the Transition Education Program (TEP) for homeless students.  All agreed the presentation was excellent and was most likely the reason that the SJC suggestion that the Annual Meeting program be on Student Homelessness was approved unanimously.  Bob passed out a copy of the e-mail he sent to Amy and Jani to confirm they would put together a panel for April 23 and to list some of the issues we’d be interested in having them cover.

Annual Meeting.  After further discussion we agreed we would prepare a handout of community resources for evicted/homeless people including the Dane County Housing Consortium, Briarpatch etc.   Bonnie will do a draft for review at the next meeting.  Bob will work with Amy and Jani on the program including possible displays and also arrange for whatever tech support they need in cooperation with Jane Albert who set up the meeting at Edgewood.   

SJL Request for the Next Council Meeting.  Heather will attend the March Council meeting to report for the SJC. We voted to request the Council approve a $500 donation from the DMNA to the TEP program in order to purchase gift cards for groceries, gas, and Walgreens to be used throughout the MMSD.  We also request that during the fall Membership Drive any dollars contributed to the Capital Campaign over and above the $12 dues be assigned to the six individual schools DMNA kids attend for whatever the social workers need to help homeless kids. 

Hornblower Articles.  Bob passed out a copy of the SJC report he submitted on 2-12 for the next Hornblower.  Evy will do a piece on Briarpatch Youth Services for the following issue.

Miscellaneous.  Char mentioned that Gov. Walker’s budget for the next two years has more money for alleviating homelessness.  She also suggested on our way out of the meeting that we see if we can get press coverage for the Annual Meeting program.

Submitted by Bonnie Block 



January 25, 2017

The SJM meeting was called to order at 5 pm at the Edgewood College Café in Predolin Hall.  Present were Bob Block, Bonnie Block (note-taker for this meeting), Pati Chevis, Evy Gildrie-Voyles, and Char Thompson. 

Minutes of the 12-28-16 meeting were approved. The following reports were given. 

Movies That Matter.  Instead of a trying to put together a series of movies to invite the neighborhood to come watch, we decided to start with a pilot on the issue of homeless children/teens.  Pati reported that the Madison Public Library has two documentaries titled “The Homestretch” about three homeless students in Chicago and “Project 16:49” which was made in Beloit.  The trailer is at

Continuing Follow-up on “Evicted” by Matthew Desmond.  This is was the UW Big Read and is about eviction and homelessness.  Evy reported that her congregation--St. Dunstan Episcopal Church will have a five week discussion on this book starting on March 5th at 6 pm and a Facebook discussion starting on March 10th.  All are welcome.  Evy can be contacted at for more information. 

Information about Homeless Students in MMSD Schools. Evy reported that she talked to the Social Workers at Throeau Elementary and Cherokee Middle School. 

Thoreau has identified 13 homeless children who are doubled up or floating from relative to relative.  They currently have no families in shelters but have had had them before.  Ways to help are: donations of grocery cards, gas cards, Walgreen’s cards are most helpful.  GHC partners by providing snacks and clothing.

Cherokee has 20 homeless kids in hotels or doubled up with family or friends. Nine families were in shelters at the beginning of the year but have found housing or are doubling up. Ways to help are: grocery, gas or Walgreen’s cards and snacks to send home on Fridays that are not messy and easily concealed in back packs. They partner with Thermo-Fisher partners with technology and “survival back packs over winter break.

We will gather information on the other schools children living in DMNA area attend as listed on the DMNA website, i.e. Franklin and Randall Elementary and Hamilton Middle School.  The district-wide Transition Education Program (TEP) which provides help to homeless youth is a program we may want to work with more.

Bob reported on his conversation with the West High School social worker.  West has 15-20 families who are currently homeless.  The School partners with Vogel Foundation/MUM for school supplies at the beginning of the year and the Regent Neighborhood Association helps with West’s food and clothing pantry which was set up by students. 

Speaker at January Council Meeting.  At the December Council meeting it was agreed to have Amy Noble from TEP to talk about this program January DMNA Council Meeting next Wednesday at Wingra School. The meeting is at 6:45 pm and she will speak at 7:15.

The SJM also will request the Council to make the issue of homeless students be part of the program for the DMNA Annual Meeting since this is an important issue for everyone.  A panel could include school social workers, someone from Briarpatch, and Hasan Mohr from DIGS which is a community/church funded eviction prevention program.

Next SJC meeting is on February 22, from 5-6 pm at the Edgewood College Café on the second floor of Predolin Hall.  All interested neighbors are welcome. 


Committee Notes and Meeting Minutes - November 30, 2016

On November 9, 2016 the Social Justice Committee hosted a discussion of Matthew Desmond’s book Evicted at Wingra School. It was this year’s UW Go Big Read and the research on which the book is based took place in Milwaukee.  Desmond focuses on the two thirds of renting families below the poverty line who do not receive any housing assistance. That results in 20% of these renting families paying more that 50% of their income on housing.

Eviction affects millions of people every year.  In fact, “If incarceration has come to define the lives of black men from impoverished black neighborhoods, eviction was shaping the lives of women.  Poor black men were locked up and poor black women were locked out.”

Poverty frequently results in eviction but eviction can also cause poverty by the loss of possessions put out on the street when renters have no other place to go or when put in storage without the funds to reclaim those possessions.  Court ordered evictions (which assess not only back rent but landlord alleged damages and court fees resulting on a debt with 12% interest) affect credit ratings and allow landlords to refuse to rent to a person with such judgments on their record.

The evictions also allow landlords to rent substandard housing because people are desperate enough for any kind of housing.  It greatly affects children who find it difficult to learn when they don’t know where they will sleep or when repeated moves mean adjusting to different schools.

And neighborhoods are affected because there is less cohesion when people frequently move in and out. Transient neighborhoods also have more frequent police calls and social services involvement thus costing an entire city.

Desmond suggests possible solutions such as expanding the housing voucher program and providing tenants representation in eviction (small claims) courts.  He and his wife have also created a website and created a foundation from the profits from his book to help the Milwaukee families described in the book.

Book discussions have been taking place all over Madison and there appears to finally be more public concern about this problem.  The next event on Homelessness is with The Madison Institute on Saturday, December 17th, at 9:15 a.m. on the second floor of the downtown library.  And the SJC decided at its last meeting that will continue to focus on this issue.

As Desmond says: “This cold denial of basic needs, this enforcement of pointless suffering—by no American value is this situation justified. No moral code or ethical principle, no piece of scripture or holy teaching, can be summoned to defend what we have allowed our country to become.”

---Respectfully submitted by Bonnie Block, SJM member and attendee at the book discussion.


11-30-16 Meeting Minutes of DMNA Social Justice Committee 

Bob Block, Pati Chevis, and Dave Leeper met at the Wingra Café at Edgewood College.

It was agreed we need a regular place for our meetings in addition to our regular time. We agreed we would meet at the Wingra Café at 5 pm on the Wednesday before the regular DMNA meeting. We are asking Gracie publicize this regular meeting information through DMNA communication channels so people will know they can always join in this meeting.

There was a report on the Evicted book study group. 4 people participated and Bob and Pati had both attended. Bob had followed up on that discussion to talk to social workers at West and Randall. He found that Madison, in general has about 1,100 homeless students at any 1 time according to the McKinney/Vento criteria which are the federal standards for determining homelessness. Another important statistic is that during their school career, about 40% of the students will meet criteria for being homelessness at least once. Bob reported he learned the West Students were setting up their own food and clothing pantry for students in needs and we may be able to help publicize this for neighborhood residents who want to contribute.

Pati will work on getting access to the video of the Evicted author at a library or Edgewood or some location for more publicity.

Bob will bring up a suggestion that the DMNA Council should invite Amy Noble- the MMSD expert on homelessness- to address the Council and anyone else who might like to attend to learn more about homelessness and what our neighborhood might be able to do to help. She has offered to come speak on homelessness among students. It was suggested this might work well at the Feb 1 meeting so there is time to publicize it.

We discussed the idea of having movies that matter to combine entertainment, community activity and information and inspiration on social justice issues. This is done at the First Unitarian Society and Dave will contact them to learn about costs, possible sharing or collaborating, and get ideas for movies etc. Dave will pass on information to Pati.

Pati will check with the branch libraries and with Edgewood library and social issues courses to see if we can collaborate with either of these groups. We talked about the possibility of starting this quite small- it will probably start that way, anyway, and maybe just have an in home showing the will not require public showing licenses etc. If we start this small with private home showings or in partnership with others and find it has a good audience, we can write grants to request funding for larger public showings.

We talked about trying to start some sort of column or presence in the Hornblower to present the committee as well as to educate neighborhood residents about important issues. We may make a column presentation based on what Amy Noble presents if she comes to speak.

We are also asking Gracie to put these minutes on the website and report them in any other appropriate communication. This is particularly important in terms of setting our permanent meeting time and location.

--11/30 meeting minutes submitted by Dave Leeper, recorder


Committee Meeting Minutes - July 27, 2016

Attendees: Bob, Bonnie, Patricia, Heather, Char, Gracie

“R” sale posters have been printed and are ready to distribute. UPS employee scaled the poster incorrectly; there is slight pixilation and they offered to reprint. Committee agreed they are fine as-is. Dividing up the neighborhood for sign placement on utility poles, bus stops, businesses, etc:

Heather – all side streets Odana to Chapman

Patricia – all Madison public libraries, all side streets Chapman to Edgewood, Wingra Park/Wingra Boats

Bob – Edgewood campus, along Monroe Street corridor and at all Monroe Street businesses

Gracie – Monroe St farmers market, Vilas businesses & Bay Creek businesses, Regent Market Co-op, SW commuter path, all side streets around West Lawn (Prospect, Harrison, Spooner, etc)

5 families (not including Char) have signed up for the sale thus far. Additional marketing needs to happen (more DMNA News Alerts, Facebook posts, notify Isthmus & WI State Journal, post on The Green, Next Door—Gracie and Andrew will do over next 2 weeks)  Char has received some email complaints re. Goodwill’s policies. Goodwill is the committee’s pick for this year, can change pick-up provider next year. Char can hand out balloons and participant lists to families who’ve signed up by Aug 10. No rain date, keep scheduled regardless of weather

“Evicted” is this year’s Big Read. Char spoke with Sequoia Library staff, future book discussions still TBD. Likely an event happening in November, SJC can promote that event as well. Bonnie followed up with Sr. Mo about meetings/book discussions at Edgewood

Upcoming committee meeting options:

--Wed, Aug 31 at 5pm still needs to be confirmed at Edgewood (Bonnie)

Can invite a broader group, students and faculty

--Monroe Street library basement meeting room – Patricia will try to book that for September 28

--Gracie can host at her house (1934 West Lawn) on October 26

Idea of a possible film series this winter—similar to Unitarian Church’s Movies that Matter. Patricia suggested Madison Community Foundation for a small grant for licensing the viewing rights, should be straightforward since DMNA is 501c3, she will ask around libraries about costs for a license to show these films. Bonnie will do the same at Edgewood


Committee Meeting Minutes - June 29, 2016

Meeting attendees: Bob and Bonnie Block, Char Thompson, Dave Leeper

Main discussion was about the coordinated garage sale to take place on August 13th. Char is coordinating this. It is called the “R” Sale because it will Reduce the items in our attics and garages, it will Reduce the impact on landfills from throwing those items away, it will allow people to Re-use the items someone else does not need, and it will Re-invest in our community by making things available to others at a low cost and will support Goodwill Industries in providing local jobs and low cost household items.

We will ask people to respond to our committee email address to participate and Char will monitor that and keep a list and respond to questions etc. She needs to get the password from Gracie. We hope it will be publicized in the Isthmus, Craig’s list,, the free site, Vilas and Westmorland and Nakoma neighborhood associations if possible. I think Char takes on this with the help of Gracie to craft our clever and compelling message.

We also hope Gracie can prepare a simple poster; Dave will print out about 30 posters and all of us will help post them in the libraries close to us, the coffee shops and restaurants, Edgewood, Wingra Boats, and businesses that allow postings. We are inviting people to shop the sale and to join in to sell their own things, if they want. There is no charge or percentage to DMNA- we are just coordinating it as a service and community building event. Maybe if it becomes popular we can ask for contributions to join in the sale in future years. I think we said we will ask DMNA for up to $100 to cover some paid publicity, if needed. We want a record of all participating homes so we can make a map and also so we can give Goodwill a list of places to go pick up at the end of Saturday- which they have agreed to do. We will send instructions to each home that signs up that will include notice that Goodwill does not pick up mattresses or TVs. Bob will look into Goodwill to be able to say what they do in terms of jobs and sales of used things in our community so we can publicize that.

We also discussed the book Evicted and the fact that this book addresses homelessness and could be a good community building activity. We talked about setting up reading or discussion groups at It’s a Mystery to Me, or Edgewood, or the Sequoia or Monroe Library, or Hotel Red etc this fall. I think Bonnie volunteer o contact Edgewood and Mystery to Me. We would need to organize this and set up group leaders to pick locations where people could gather to discuss.

We also agreed we want a simple committee blurb along with other committees asking for volunteers. Gracie, again, we think you have the material and connections to get us on the committee blurb list.

Dave agreed to attend the DMNA meeting and present our modest activity on this and ask for up to $100 if the Board wants to encourage this. We may or may not need it.


Committee meeting minutes - May 25, 2016

Meeting attendees: Char Thompson, Heather Marley, Bob and Bonnie Block, Gracie Foxwell


DMNA first annual "R" sale

  • Exact name for the event still to be determined (something more environmentally justice geared than simply garage or rummage sale) 
  • We want to incorporate "recycle-renew-reuse-reduce-restore-repurposed" language somehow
  • Char spoke with Betsy Houser, Westmoreland rummage sale coordinator, their annual sale this year is on Sat, Aug 6 (always 1st Sat of August) 
  • Her advice is to be consistent, if you want to make this an annual event, pick one Saturday and stick with it
  • Perhaps DMNA could pick the following weekend, Saturday, August 13. Timing suggestion from Betsy Houser is 8am-2pm, with some homes setting up and starting early on Friday evening. If DMNA Council is in favor, let's go with Sat, Aug 13
  • Would then need to promote the event online via Next Door, The Green, Craigslist,, an insert/announcement in Hornblower, DMNA News Alerts, Facebook, flyers at Monroe St. businesses, flyers at Monroe St farmers market, flyers Wingra Boats/Brittingham Boats
  • Westmoreland has printed promo signs that they reuse every year, paid for by participating home listings. We could start this year by not requiring homes to have a paid listing but we could request a small $50-100 DMNA budget request to print flyers, maps, lists of items for sale, etc.
  • We would need to schedule and confirm Goodwill to come afterwards
  • Parking in some areas could be a challenge, maybe Edgewood would be accepting of additional cars in their lot. Neighborhood children could sell lemonade and cookies at various locations.  

Next steps--to discuss at June 1st Council meeting:

  • Confirm sale and proposed date with DMNA Council
  • We missed summer Hornblower deadline, but we can print flyers and promote the event online (see budget request above) ​

Other SJC issues discussed at May meeting:

How can we encourage more regular neighborly events. exchanges, freelance work, volunteer opportunities, etc—including block parties, furniture/plant exchanges, book exchanges, Free Little Libraries, yard work, meal delivery for the elderly, etc? Some residents may want a more structured, or more organized system--the printed DMNA directory lists individuals interested in babysitting, yardwork, etc but would be helpful to have something online, more easily updated and current 


Bob doing more research on Capitol Neighborhoods, a collection of 5 neighborhood associations. Their publication is well done and focuses on various downtown issues, including homelessness, etc. Exploring what we can learn from them and bring to the Social Justice Committee. Many faces of homelessness—especially children. Maybe DMNA could start with Wingra School—promoting backpack drives, school supplies drives, etc—to help. Every school has a homeless coordinator. Maybe we could have one come speak to a future DMNA council meeting? We could also schedule a showing of a video/documentary about homelessness. 

Next SJC meeting: Wednesday, June 29 at 5pm. Bob and Bonnie Block offered to host at their home, 2237 Fox Ave


Committee meeting minutes - April 27, 2016

Attendees: Bob Block, Bonnie Block, Pati Chevis, Sue Pope, Dave Leeper, Stephen and Gracie Billingham.

Bob reminded the committee of some of the commitments and plans from earlier meetings including contacting other neighborhood associations about their peace and justice issues. Bob has checked out the Capital website and found an active group particularly around homelessness issues. Bob will follow up with personal contact with Capital. Pati volunteered to look at the Westmorland, Regent and Vilas websites and make personal connections to see if they are doing anything where we might help or learn from them. Bonnie raised issues of homelessness and criminal justice, including the new westside police station, conditions in the jail, and building a new jail or coming up with alternatives.

Dave brought up the question of food security, creating an edible landscape in the neighborhood through education and encouragement and the possibility of supporting a food coop in the allied drive neighborhood close to us. Discussion was had on the importance of concentrating on direct neighborhood impact of what may be very large issues. As issues are identified and individuals volunteer to lead an initiative, the committee will vet the issue, confirm it comes within our scope of activity and take the issue to the DMNA Council as appropriate or provide other support. Education, action, advocacy and action may all be appropriate responses. There was discussion and confirmation that environmental issues are peace and justice issues whether it be reducing our carbon footprint, protecting the lakes or reducing landfill demands: all are issues that our neighborhood impacts directly and locally with justice implications. We want to highlight attention to planning for the Monroe St corridor recognizing that safety, bike use issues are concerns of our committee.

The committee took up the request of Char Thompson to hold a DMNA-wide garage sale day for the fall. The committee responded positively and will support and introduce the idea to the Council at the next meeting. There are issues of reducing landfill space by passing on things to other people rather than throwing them away and justice and sharing issues of making things available to people who may not have the money to purchase them new. We want to suggest related educational activities on the need to reduce consumption of resources and our impact on landfills. We suggest contacting John Imes, who has special expertise in recycling and reducing landfill use. He may be able to produce a pamphlet that can be made available at the garage sale locations. We also thought it might be good to publicize the collection of canned goods at garage sale sites that will be donated to food pantries. We can also make arrangements with St. Vincent’s or Goodwill or Easter Seals to plan a collection at the end of the day or weekend to pick up anything not sold. This will be an effort to protect landfills and pass the items on to someone who can use them at a low cost. It would be good to have the garage sale identified as a DMNA Social Justice Committee activity with information about DMNA and the committee and the connections to peace and justice. This will be good exposure for DMNA and the committee. We discussed avoiding football Saturdays and possibly coordinating with Edgewood College or some other venue to show the movie Affluenza the day of the sale with a discussion and testimonials following.

This led to a discussion of the community building benefit of watching movies that matter. Bonnie will contact Edgewood College to see if our committee might co-sponsor a series of movies that relate to peace and justice issues that can be connected to, or impact our neighborhood like Affluenza, homelessness, or domestic violence.

Finally, Steve made a proposal that the committee prepare some presence for Jazz in the Park on June 18th. Steve is on the JIP committee and suggested we could have space at the DMNA tables and have some brief time to address the crowd from the stage. The committee accepted this suggestion and will work toward having a presence. Dave and Bob both said they were willing to be present at the tables for at least some of the time during event. We will all take this as a goal to produce any information about the committee we can use to publicize and invite others. We can prepare a simple statement about the committee scope and invite people to offer suggestions of issues and give their contact information if they are interested in working on the issue.

Committee meeting minutes - March 30, 2016

Attendees: Heather Marley, Bob Block, Char Thompson, Laura O’Flannagan, Gracie Foxwell

Issues discussed:

1) Some DMNA residents have emailed Heather wishing to address racial inequality and disparity issues, she informed them on how this committee works and our structure. There’s not enough social contact with people of color or other backgrounds. We want to be a welcoming neighborhood. 

2) Low income and affordability issues, especially for people of color and the elderly. Especially with new construction, more low-income housing needed. Alder Sara Eskrich can speak to those issues at public meetings with developers. Can low-income housing be part of the Monroe Street reconstruction dialogue? More involved block captains and showing more of an interest in everyone’s welfare.

3) Neighborhood garage/rummage sale with leftover items being donated to St. Vincent’s

4) Continuing to share community news and volunteer opportunities via Next Door, The Green, other smaller/street Facebook groups, etc.

5) Learning more about ongoing issues facing the homeless throughout Madison. Continuing the conversation with our neighbors, Alder Sara Eskrich, and others. 


Committee meeting minutes - February 24, 2016

Attendees: Dave Leeper, Heather Marley

Ideas/issues discussed:

1) Allied Drive neighborhood and the potential for a community supported co-op

2) Various interconnected emergency preparedness issues

3) Neighborhood composting at Wingra Boats (especially with help from Monroe Street restaurants and apartment buildings)

Committee meeting minutes - January 15, 2016

Attendees: Bob Block, Bonnie Block, Dave Leeper, Heather Marley, Gracie Foxwell

Dave began the meeting by proposing an overall direction for the SJC, including a decentralized committee made up of "issue coordinators" who pursue various social justice-related passions and causes they want to spearhead in our neighborhood. For example, issue coordinators would propose specific concepts and issues moving forward for the SJC (and then in turn to the DMNA Council) to address and tackle regarding various challenges related to homelessness, sustainability, food, etc. The issue coordinators would then take the lead on conducting research, observing other neighborhood associations' work in this arena, gathering educational materials, and proposing new ideas/options with the support and feedback from the SJC and DMNA Council, depending if the proposed idea would need approval from the Council before tackling. In summary, if there's passion, there can be real action.

Heather and Gracie explained what drew them to joining SJC: wanting to give back to this neighborhood in a positive, impactful way; wishing to actually DO something tangible versus just continuing to talk, complain, or dissect what's wrong; seeing everyday issues that we could be addressing in earnest but there's very little awareness or just general education of these issues to DMNA residents. The SJC then discussed potential outputs of the committee, including but not limited to: more effective communication of HOW residents can get involved in social justice-themed issues, invitations to residents to come together and work toward a general good; the publication of an issue that hasn't had much attention before; ongoing dialogues with DMNA Council about how an issue or issues are progressing; information and fact sharing via the website and social media to both inform and motivate citizen advocacy and/or involvement; etc etc. 

The SJC proposed reaching out to other Madison neighborhood associations to see if they have similar committees, and if so, how they function, what issues they've tackled, how they're dealing with ongoing challenges, etc. SJC then began a brainstorming session of issues the current attendees are most interested in. Dave would like to tackle improved recycling, Bonnie raised the issue of ongoing criminal justice problems and the new location of the near west side police district and continuing to monitor those changes. Heather raised the idea of a monthly or weekly neighborhood meal, collecting food waste/leftovers and distributing them to those in need. Gracie also expressed interest in a food-related issue and proposed more effective pooling of resources when it comes to CSA leftovers, compost, garden vegetables, etc. 

The SJC then discussed a monthly meeting rotation at various neighborhood churches, agreed that all committee meetings should always be open to anyone, and agreed to keep meetings to just an hour. SJC monthly meetings will be held the last Wednesday of the month at 5:00PM, locations TBD. (This scheduling should aid in bringing issues to of DMNA Council meetings in a timely manner.) Bob will reach out to downtown neighborhood association(s) to get a sense of their activities in regards to social justice. Dave will draft a formal announcement of the formation of the SJC to be included in the next issue of The Hornblower, posted on, and via email on DMNA News updates. Gracie will review the announcement and edit as needed before submitting to Aileen and posting on the website and via DMNA News. The announcement should include a description of the SJC and our proposed meeting schedule. Heather agreed to be listed as the official SJC contact for any resident questions or if further information is needed. (

Dave will reach out to Moravian Church to inquire about scheduling future SJC meetings there, Bonnie will reach out to synagogue, Gracie will do the same with Blessed Sacrament.


Social Justice Committee History

At its January 2016 meeting, DMNA Council authorized the creation of the Social Justice Committee (SJC). SJC will identify social justice issues which have an impact on or in our neighborhood, and by extension our city and the world around us. Additionally, SJC will provide information and options for advocacy and/or action to the DMNA Council and to the broader community. 

In its first meeting, SJC discussed several issues including the new Westside police station, Madison's criminal justice system in general, food security and support for local food production, education, recycling, homelessness, and climate change. SJC recognized that one of its first steps will be to investigate what other neighborhood associations and city departments are doing in regards to social justice issues and build partnerships where appropriate. Any neighbor with a social justice issue of concern is invited present the issue at a future committee meeting. If anyone is willing to take responsibility for the issue and become the issue coordinator, the committee will consider and approve the issue for further study, education, and action as proposed by the issue coordinator. This structure will allow the SJC to feasibly address those issues where there is community concern as well as volunteer support. The SJC will review proposed education and action plans on specific issues and present those plans that call for greater action to the DMNA Council. 

SJC will be co-chaired by Bob Block and Dave Leeper. Heather Marley will be the official SJC contact for anyone interested in learning more information about the committee or future meetings. Heather can be reached at Please visit the calendar for a monthly schedule of upcoming SJC meetings.