A town hall-style event addressing race, culture and recidivism.
Community leaders and business organizations in the Fox Valley are asking a difficult and important question: What is it like being black in the Fox Cities? As they work toward making our region more welcoming and inclusive to people from all walks of life, they are searching for a better understanding of what life is like here for African-American students, families and professionals.
With this in mind, Josh Dukelow saw an opportunity to amplify the conversation and explore solutions. He worked with organizers of the Wildwood Film Festival to create a Friday Feature event that includes a discussion on issues of race, culture and recidivism in a town hall-style event from 3-5 p.m. on Friday, March 10 before a screening of the festival’s main feature film, “Halfway” (starring Quinton Aaron from “The Blind Side”), at 8 p.m.
I have seen the possibility of transformation through discussion. This can be a powerful tool to make our community more welcoming and inclusive, and that benefits everyone.
Dukelow, host of the local news talk show “Fresh Take” on WHBY, cares deeply about economic development, talent attraction and workforce retention. Those goals connect to the issues in the film and the larger community conversation.
“I saw a way to bring new voices into the discussion,” he said. “This is what my radio show is all about so I jumped at the chance to do it in real-life as part of the Wildwood Film Festival. Everyone is welcome to attend and participate, and we hope they will come back to view the film later that evening.”
The Fresh Take Town Hall: Exploring Race and Recidivism will feature storytelling, panel discussions and a Q&A session moderated by Dukelow with panelists from ESTHER’s Prison Reform Task Force, Fox Valley Technical College, Lawrence and local artists. The History Museum at the Castle will also have portions from its exhibit “A Stone of Hope: Black Experiences in the Fox Cities” on display. The town hall is free, but those with tickets to any part of the festival will get priority admission to the event.
Dukelow knows talking about difficult social issues through art makes the topic more approachable. “I have seen the possibility of transformation through discussion. A face-to-face conversation helps us to learn from those who are different from us, who might hold different beliefs and have different life experiences. This can be a powerful tool to make our community more welcoming and inclusive, and that benefits everyone.”
In addition to a new audience, the town hall also attracted new sponsors; Pulse Young Professionals Network, United Way Fox Cities, ThedaCare, the City of Appleton, Lawrence University and WHBY are proud to present this important community conversation.
The town hall and film festival (a two-day event) will take place in the Kimberly-Clark Theater at the Fox Cities Performing Arts Center. Tickets to “Halfway” are available at wildwoodfilmfestival.com.