The Milwaukee 53206 nationwide community screening tour: Strengthening Families. Healing Communities: Overcoming the Effects of Mass Incarceration launched this week with a sold out screening during Marquette University’s Mission Week. The theme of Mission Week was Racial Justice: Black, White and the call of the Church. MILWAUKEE 53206 director Keith McQuirter was featured in a full day of action events on Monday, February 6, 2017 beginning with a “Soup with Substance: The Making of MILWAUKEE 53206” lunch and discussion moderated by Dr. William Welbern the Executive Director of Institutional Diversity and Inclusion at Marquette University. The discussion was the most well attended in its history with over 250 students, faculty and community members in attendance. Following this discussion, Keith attended a Social Welfare Policy and Services class at the university where he spoke to 30 students studying Social Justice about the film and the impact mass incarceration has on the families affected. This was followed by an intimate conversation with 5 student leaders who inquired about his life, career and the making of this film. Additionally, there was an informal Q & A with students and faculty of Marquette’s William and Mary Diedrich College of Communications where the Dean, Kimo Ah Yun, described the event as a “ Powerful discussion and great advice”.
The screening of MILWAUKEE 53206 was attended by over 800 people and Dr. Kathy Coffey-Guenther, Associate Vice President of Mission and Ministry, provided a Mission Week welcome followed by Dr. Dan Myers, the Provost, who introduced the film. The day ended with a Dialogue Dinner, which quickly reached capacity, with over 250 attendees, that included two panel discussion and one table discussion in which Michael Lovell the President of Marquette University made opening remarks. The first panel discussion featured Keith as well as film subjects Beverly, Dennis and Chad and the second discussion included community leaders and leadership from the University. The panel included Darren Wheelock, Associate Professor at Marquette University and an instrumental member of the Mission Week planning committee, Michael O’Hear, Professor at Marquette University, Lindsey Draper, Milwaukee County Court Commissioner (Ret) and Janine Geske, Professor of law (Ret), Justice of the Wisconsin Supreme Court (Ret) and a Marquette University Trustee. Here are some takeaways from the discussion:
“It was a privilege to see 53206 tonight because that really gives an important human face to things that I mostly write about in a sort of dry policy sort of way. So I really appreciate the humanization that we see of the reality of mass incarceration and I especially appreciated the way that the film very powerfully depicted two of the aspects of mass incarceration that I find most troubling. One is the impact on families. Entirely innocent family members. The other aspect of mass incarceration that I find very troubling and is very powerfully depicted in this film is what do we do as a society with people who got off on the wrong track at a young age. Made some bad decisions but now are making good decisions now have dedicated themselves to being better people, better fathers, better citizens, better members of the community. “ Our system has done a terrible job of supporting that transformation.” – Michael O’Hear
“We have to decide that we mean what we say. We talk a darn good game about rehabilitation, about second chances. We have to decide that we mean it. The second thing is we have to decide not to be afraid to talk about the impact that race and our attitudes towards race has on this issue. We need to be brave enough to talk about race to talk about it’s impact.” – Lindsey Draper
When asked, “What is the one word, or phrase, you would want the audience to consider and take with them as they leave tonight?” The Director Keith McQuirter said, “Get involved.”