logo for Toward One Wausau, outstretched hands in unity

Toward One Wausau Findings (featured in WSAW)

WSAW: After 13 months, the Toward One Wausau project celebrated their accomplishments. Friday evening, they hosted a gathering to reveal what they’ve learned in that time.

“The purpose for the project was to try and bring people together in the Wausau area, assess where they’re at with diversity,” said Mort McBain, a committee member with Toward One Wausau.

“One of the interesting things that we found in our surveys was that 86% community respondents feel that there could be better relationships in the community. By meeting their neighbors, talking with their neighbors, getting to know people of different color,” said McBain.

Almost 400 people took an online survey, and more than 300 people participated in both listening sessions and dialogues in what organizers call the first ‘phase’ of the project.

“We’re looking at an effort that must go on and will go on. This first phase was just that, the first phase. It’s making individuals in the community, as well as groups, aware of other ethnicities, other cultures,” said Darryl Mayfield, a member of Toward One Wausau.

Mayfield also helped facilitate the dialogues. He said the findings help to show how important culture is in the community, and how people don’t need to be afraid to talk about diversity.

“One goal is that we continue to talk. We continue to go out, we continue to meet with other members, and other groups in the community to spread the message that we do have to talk about cultural changes that are happening,” said Mayfield.

Even though phase one is complete, Toward One Wausau will continue to take the steps to help make the community more welcoming.

“It’s going to continue, it’s not a one and done type of thing, and that is good,” said Mayfield.

The overwhelming consensus of the project was that Wausau would be more welcoming if people who look and think differently got to know each other through individual and group activities.

Read more here.