Toward One Wausau

A Dialogue on Community Diversity

Toward One Wausau brings together community members from all walks of life to talk openly, listen earnestly and act in unity to make the greater Wausau area a safe, welcoming and attractive place for a diverse people.

What is Toward One Wausau?

As the Wausau-area population has become more diverse, people here have had more opportunities to learn about cultures, lifestyles and views different from their own. At the same time, the community has been exposed to real ethnic and cultural divisions, with deep roots that rarely are acknowledged, much less understood. This project aims to help people talk openly and listen earnestly—and, where possible, to find common ground for action around addressing these complex issues in a constructive way.

Hundreds share their feedback at our community dialogues!

From September 2017-October 2018, more than 600 community members gave valuable feedback at listening sessions, story circles and deliberative dialogues. These conversations were designed to help people come to reasoned public judgment about the problems associated with an increasingly diverse community—and tensions that have arisen around perceptions of whether or not our community is a welcoming place for people of different ethnic, cultural, religious, gender, socioeconomic and other backgrounds. Ultimately, the purpose was to help the community find tangible and constructive means of working together toward a vision of one Wausau that is welcoming to all residents regardless of differences.

Key findings revealed at Toward One Wausau ‘Culmination, Evaluation, Celebration’ on October 20

After over a year of research gathering, an online survey and community conversations across the city of Wausau, it was time to reveal the findings and ask community members for next steps in this process. On October 20 a “Culmination, Evaluation and Celebration” event was held at Northcentral Technical College in Wausau, complete with ethnic food, Hmong and Hispanic dancers and a special “Music with a Message” program by David Deon Stuart’s Soul Inspirations -featuring Chris Norfleet. Both Stuart and Norfleet served on Toward One Wausau’s Executive Committee. Click here for key findings overview.

Next steps for One Wausau.

The next steps for the “One Wausau” coalition are picking up steam! After more than a year of community dialogues, information gathering and deciding on concrete action steps for change, we’re ready for the next steps. Join us in our goal of greater unity for the Wausau area. The next two events will occur on March 21, and 22. Both events will be held in the UW Center for Civic Engagement – 625 Stewart Ave. – Wausau, WI. The March 21 event will go from 6-8 p.m., and the March 22 event will occur from 8-10 a.m. Watch for updates in the media, on the WIPPS Toward One Wausau Web page and in social media announcements. We welcome your involvement, feedback and continued interest in this important initiative.

If you have any questions on Toward One Wausau, or would  like to become involved, email or call 715-261-6368.

Click here for snapshots from September Final Deliberation.

Toward One Wausau – in the news

We still need to be able to talk about difficult issues in civil ways. And, to be able to express differences and similarities, we may discover that we have more things in common than we thought before we started.

Wausau’s a small town that got infused with people of different cultures and backgrounds. There’s been like a wall of fear built up that needs to be brought down. When people see me, they see a 6-foot-5, 300-pound black man, and they don’t know how to take me. I smile and show myself as friendly to try to break down those barriers. Then it totally changes. The fear is gone.