Stevens Point forms team to address diversity, social justice, and other issues in marginalized communities

Published: Nov. 20, 2020 at 5:57 PM CST
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WAUSAU, Wis. (WSAW) - Mayor Mike Wiza announced the he has formed a team to help address some of the most pressing issues facing Stevens Point. Members of the team represent a cross section of the community who have been traditionally marginalized or underserved. The group will be charged with identifying strengths and weaknesses with regard to a spectrum of social issues from housing to racism to social equity.

“We are really following in the footsteps of many other communities and, most recently, Portage County and that is getting people together to provide perspectives and insight on relevant issues and challenges that the marginalized segments of society have struggled with” said Mayor Wiza. “We want to focus on addressing those issues and the only logical way to do that is to involve those affected in creating systemic solutions.”

Members of the team include:

Eric Riskus: IL Program Director at Midstate Independent Living Choices representing people with disabilities

Tamia Yates: Citizen to represent young females and people of color

Tiffany Krueger: Evergreen Community Initiative serving low income people and homeless

Rayvn Knipple: Former UWSP SGA Vice President to represent various student groups

Officer Chi Yang : Representing the Stevens Point Police Department and the Hmong community

Rio Greendeer: Student to represent indigenous people and our young community members

Idowu Odedosu : Executive Director at the Stevens Point Housing Authority representing public housing needs

Morgan Potter: MILC Peer support Mental Health Coordinator to offer perspective on mental health issues

The above list is only the beginning. The City expects to utilize many others as resources as they progress toward solutions.

“We’ll start with an evaluation of where people think we stand as a community,” continued Wiza. “What sorts of things are we doing well and where do we need to focus our attention. We will then break those things into key topics and prioritize them. We’ll then begin work on providing solutions. I expect some of those solutions will come before Council to act, but we’ll also likely have things that can be addressed without needing legislation.”

Stevens Point has been active in pursuing changes that denounce hate, bigotry, racism, misogyny and intimidation. We strive to provide a safe and welcoming environment for everyone. We have made policy changes in regards to equal housing and benefit rights for domestic partnerships, strengthened policies relating to hostile work environments and whistle blower retaliation, and partnered with UWSP and surrounding communities to bring attention to domestic violence, addiction and mental health issues.

It is expected that the group will meet at least monthly. Meetings of the group will be posted and open to the public. The first meeting is expected to be early December.

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