Toward One Wausau: Final Deliberation (featured in WSAW)

WSAW: The community research initiative, “Towards One Wausau,” hosted its final community discussion session Monday to talk about issues of cultural diversity in the Wausau area.

The free public dialogues were held at the UW Center for Civic Engagement on the UW-Marathon County campus.

Toward One Wausau launched in October, 2016 following the homicide conviction of Dylan Yang, a Hmong teenager who had killed another teenager the previous year. The teens sentencing to adult prison sparked protests and tension.

“Rather than continue to watch people protesting and counter protesting and the sort of negativity that kind of surrounded those actions, we wanted to do something constructive,” Eric Giordano, director of Wisconsin Institute for Public Policy and Service told NewsChannel 7.

“We’ve had a lot of great questions come back,” added fellow Toward One Wausau Executive Committee member, David Stuart, “not just answers, but questions from community members who really want to be involved and who may not have the exact same ideas on how to get there, but we all want to get there and see that this community is one where everybody feels safe and is happy.”

Stuart said he is hopeful there will be solutions created to improve on what most participants have called a great place to live.

“I feel like I didn’t even go to history class because it wasn’t accurate what I learned,” Sandy Marvel said.

The final session was her second session she has attended and said these discussions have shown her how some voices have been muted over the course of history, adding defensiveness toward your own viewpoint can stifle understanding.

“If we opened our minds and hearts a little bit more we can all live together in peace and not with so much tension,” she said.

“If you have concerns, sitting on the couch won’t help,” urged Stuart. “We need you here to be apart of this and become engaged so we can become a better community together.”

Since the research launched, the release stated more than 300 people have participated.

The results developed from this research will be published in a “public issues guide” which will be announced Oct. 20 along with “some options/action plans for achieving unity in the Wausau area.”

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