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Diversity Circles
Date: January 08, 2008 11:21PM

The following article was written by Pam Petersen, a teacher at Robert E. Ellsworth Correctional Center in Wisconsin. It appeared in the July/August 2007 issue of the CEA-Wisconsin newsletter. The complete newsletter may be found at www.ceawisconsin.org.

Diversity Circles at Ellsworth Correctional Center

On April 20, 2007 a group of twelve women at Robert E. Ellsworth Correctional Center attended the orientation for a new program, Diversity Circles. Diversity Circles is offered by the University of Wisconsin-Parkside Center for Community Partnerships in conjunction with the Study Circles Resource Center. The women were excited to be a part of the first Diversity Circles program held at a women’s correctional facility in Wisconsin.

Each Friday for two hours, the participants were led by a community volunteer, and discussed the curriculum, “Facing Racism in a Diverse Nation.” This circle created ground rules, listened to each others stories, and developed trust for each other.

During the group, the women learned about each others’ personal histories as well as the ethnic background and struggles of their ancestors. Community was emphasized throughout the six sessions, and it was agreed that even though these women came from different parts of the state, they shared the same community at REECC. The women are looking forward to putting what they learned into action. They will be working on their project of a Diversity Quilt to be hung in the center for all to see.

by: Pam Petersen, REECC

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