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Wisconsin Group: Time To Peel Off Band-Aid, Discuss Race Openly

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MADISON, Wis. -- Demands for systemic change in the U.S. grow louder by the day following the police killing of George Floyd, an unarmed African-American man in Minneapolis.

Activists say white populations need to listen, but also take action in their own lives. Those demanding change say in states such as Wisconsin, which is 83% white, it might be uncomfortable for some to openly discuss racial issues.

Tim Cordon, board president of the Wisconsin Network for Peace, Justice and Sustainability, says whites who feel guilt over the generational pain expressed during the protests shouldn't worry about how they're viewed in openly examining their contributions to that pain. "I think that it's actually refreshing for people of color and for all of us that people can just face the fact that we as white people, we all have racism within us," he states.

Cordon says that doesn't mean every white wishes ill will toward minorities. But he adds not being proactive in eliminating racism is part of the problem. To make a difference, Cordon suggests becoming more educated about these issues, donating to organizations advocating for racial justice and allowing more people of color to become part of your inner circle.

Cordon says even though many whites do not support racism, they tend to lead insulated lives that don't allow them to get a sense of the everyday pain people of color live with. "When we start seeing people of color as our neighbors and friends and the people we do stuff with, then their struggle becomes our struggle too," he states.

ordon says another way to help is to become more outspoken in public hearings so that government agencies feel more pressure to eliminate equity gaps through policy decisions.

Mike Moen is the Morning Edition producer and serves as a staff reporter for WNIJ. Every morning, he works with Dan Klefstad to bring listeners the latest Illinois news. He also works with the rest of the news staff on developing and producing in-depth stories. Mike is a Minnesota native who likes movies, history, and baseball. When most people hear his last name, they assume he is 100-percent Scandinavian. But, believe it or not, he is mostly German.
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