The Greater La Crosse Area Diversity Council Thu, 22 Jun 2017 20:24:00 +0000 en-US hourly 1 34645140 Welcome New 2017 GLADC Members! Wed, 26 Apr 2017 19:02:17 +0000 We are pleased to welcome the following new members to the GLADC for 2017.  Organizational members make our work possible, and demonstrate a commitment to our mission of making the Greater La Crosse Area a more welcoming, inclusive place for all.
Thank you for joining!
ABLE, Inc.
Altra Federal Credit Union
Dynamic Recycling
Festival Foods
Petro Energy Company
And thanks to all our continuing members, with special appreciation for our Champions,who sustain us at the highest membership level:
Gundersen Health System,
La Crosse County,
Mayo Clinic Health System-Franciscan Healthcare,
Walmart Distribution Center of Tomah
and our fiscal agent, Workforce Connections
It’s not too late for your company or organization to join our Council for 2017!
Meet GLADC Board Member, Mai Shoua Vang Wed, 26 Apr 2017 18:57:40 +0000 Story by Sonia Garcia–Mai Shoua Vang is one of the newest members of the Diversity Council, having just joined in the fall of 2016. She grew up in the La Crosse area where she graduated from Holmen High School. From there, she graduated from the University of Wisconsin Madison with a degree in Journalism and Mass Communication. She came back to the La Crosse area shortly after graduating and worked at the Hmong Community Center. Now, she is the Interim Advisor for Upward Bound at the University of Wisconsin La Crosse, a program that serves first generation college bound and underrepresented students in high school. Upward Bound prepares their students for college through academic and career exploration. Mai Shoua said the populations Upward Bound serves and the goal it has coincide with the Diversity Council.

Mai Shoua, a young professional and woman of color, brings a new perspective to the Diversity Council. This is an important group to be a part of, she explains, to grow and attract young, talented, and diverse people to La Crosse and to retain them. The Diversity Council has found its niche and is very specific about its goal: how do we impact workplaces in a positive way that will make this community more inclusive? Mai Shoua observed that, “Young people of color don’t want to come back to the area to live and work because communities of color are often ostracized, othered, and traumatized from experiences in a predominately white community like La Crosse. For example, the Hmong Center often received requests from college students to ‘observe the culture’ at the Center. Although the requests were flattering in showing that people in the community were interested in learning about Hmong culture, it also served to ‘other’ Hmong people.  We are not a zoo. We are not a science experiment for one semester. Diversity is not only about eating exotic foods and hosting festivals. It takes a long-term commitment to make real change happen.”

Mai Shoua feels that the Diversity Council has the opportunity to educate and empower employers to impact their employees and address the lack of diversity in the area at its roots.




Viterbo’s Spanish Language Newspaper Creates Student-Community Connections Tue, 28 Mar 2017 17:55:33 +0000

Story by Alicia Quiñones–

El Sol is a new student-run newspaper that covers politics related to Spanish speaking people and countries, education, art, sports, and entertainment at Viterbo University. In addition to helping Spanish language students at Viterbo use their language learning in meaningful ways, the newspaper also helps foster connections to La Crosse community. The Greater La Crosse Area Diversity Council interviewed Dr. Jesús Jambrina who has helped the students make the newspaper a reality and we would like to thank him fogiving us his time. We would also like to congratulate the staff and students working on El Sol on the success of this wonderful newspaper! 

Why is El Sol important to have on the Viterbo campus and for the community?  

“It is important on campus as a tool for teaching and learning in the classroom for faculty and also for both Spanish major and minors, the latter being one of the most popular minors at Viterbo. Writing along with speaking and reading is an important aspect of language learning, so with this newspaper students have the opportunity of practicing their writing. 

It  is also a vehicle for students to share their experiences with the Spanish speaking cultures, for example, when studying abroad. Around half of students traveling abroad on campus go to Latin America and Spain, and not only for courses, but for service trips, and family vacation, so the newspaper offers the opportunity to tell these stories to their classmates, but also to the Viterbo community.

Who do you hope will be served by El Sol? 

In our Department we have been trying to bridge our courses with the La Crosse community through several projects like collaborating with Centro Latino, Catholic Charities, and Lugar the Reunión, among other local and regional organizations. We organize a Hispanic Heritage Month reception every fall, and also program cultural events like performances and music concerts open to the public.  

The Latino community in La Crosse is around 2,500, but if we count Southeast Minnesota and Northeast Iowa then we reach several thousand of Latino Spanish speakers plus the student population at Higher Education Institutions who are immersed in Spanish language and culture in one way or another 

Finally, this newspaper is part of our Department efforts on hospitality, which is one of the core values at Viterbo. Welcoming diverse languages and cultures is an educational tool to expand and value other experiences, which will hopefully enrich students experiences on campus. 

What was the driving force in starting El Sol? 

“The Department received a small grant to develop Hight Impact Practices (HIP) for first and second year students, so we decided to upgrade our Newsletter to an actual Newspaper and students loved the idea. This is a project that is mainly elaborated by them with some mentoring, but they are the one choosing and writing the articles. This year, the Department decided to integrate the project into a course and now the plan is to offer this course (SPAN 406) every semester so we can have a Fall and Spring Edition. In the future, we would like to have a Summer edition as well.” 

 Is there a sponsor for El Sol? 

Spanish Club and also from a few advertisements sponsor the newspaper. If someone is willing to support this project, please, get in contact with me: *protected email* 

Additional Information about El Sol: 

Twitter account: @elSolLC & Facebook page: El Sol LC.  

“We want to serve as many people as we can by offering information about the Hispanic/ Latino community in tristate area. If you have something to say about this community or want to help, please contact us at *protected email* 



Meet GLADC Board Member Thomas Harris Tue, 28 Mar 2017 17:00:02 +0000 Story by Alicia Quiñones–

Thomas Harris is the Senior Student Service Coordinator for the Office of Multicultural Student Services at the University of Wisconsin – La Crosse and has been serving on the Council’s Board of Directors since its establishment in 2007. The concept for the Council was the product of a conference workshop geared towards creating better community connections involving the universities, local businesses, and surrounding La Crosse areas. Thomas likens the vision for the Council to that of a tree designed to branch out into the community and provide resources in hopes that their assistance could facilitate more strategic approaches to enhance diversity and equity in and around La Crosse.

Thomas dedicates himself to furthering GLADC ‘s mission by working on the Council’s visibility in the community, aiming to assist member organizations in providing integral spaces for sensitivity training. This involves taking a strong stand on pertinent social issues, helping to organize the Council, as well as gauge what members both current and future might need from the Council as both parties continue to grow.

The Council is becoming a centralized organization for diversity, inclusion, and equity resources in the La Crosse area, and Thomas is extremely grateful that it continues to create connections to education, local businesses, non-profits, faith- based institutions and political entities. Thomas believes the Council has not yet reached its capacity, and has great potential for further outreach in the community. More importantly, a good portion of the La Crosse community still hasn’t joined the Diversity Council.

The Council’s commitment to being action-oriented is one thing Thomas deeply appreciates about the work GLADC does, but he hopes these actions can take the work one step further in reaching more organizations and individuals with whom they would not normally connect. Thomas would love to see the Council promote more interaction between groups who have greater access to resources and those who do not have such an advantage. Thomas feels that with these enhanced connections, the Council could better assess the needs of its members and the Greater La Crosse area with the goal of a more diverse, inclusive, and forward-thinking community.

Thomas’s service  and leadership on the Council is especially appreciated because he is also involved in so many other professional and community service initiatives, including serving on the Board of Directors of the Privilege Institute, working on a La Crosse Juvenile Justice task force, and serving as a member of the La Crosse Medical Health Science Cultural Competency Committee, to name a few.  Thomas has been a founding member of numerous diversity initiatives and has led many critical conversations in the area.  He Thomas is a past recipient of the La Crosse YWCA’s Men on a Mission, the La Crosse Area Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Award, UW-La Crosse awards including one for Outstanding Involvement in the Profession of Student Affairs, and another as a Distinguished Alumni.





Second Annual Social Justice Week, April 3-7 Tue, 28 Mar 2017 14:25:29 +0000 Story by Sonia Garcia–

The Institute for Social Justice at the University of Wisconsin – La Crosse is hosting the second annual Social Justice Week. “More than One Struggle: Intersections and Activism” will run from April 3-7. All events throughout this week are free, and open to the public. The University of Wisconsin – La Crosse will host round table discussions, brown bag lunches, research presentations, panels, speakers, and performers that focus their work on intersectionality and activism.

Dr. Laurie Cooper Stoll, Director of the Institute for Social Justice, discusses the importance of Social Justice Week, which “provides an opportunity to center the importance of social-justice related work, raise awareness about a wide variety of social justice issues, and provide concrete ways to address them.” She continues by speaking to the importance of community members attending these events: “It provides additional opportunities for those of us who are affiliated with the university and community members to come together and form important partnerships. We all need to find ways to work together to address social inequalities.” There is an incredible amount of knowledge and expertise that will be shared throughout Social Justice Week. As members of the community, here are a few events that may be of interest to you:

Promoting Social Justice through Inclusive Leadership Development: A panel of UWL faculty will share their expertise on inclusive leadership development. Tuesday April 4, 4:00-5:30pm, Centennial Hall 2211

Community Connections Reception: Getting to know local businesses and non-profits that are engaged in social justice work. The Greater La Crosse Area Diversity Council will be represented! Tuesday April 4, 5:30-7:30p, UWL Centennial Hall 1300, Hall of Nations

“Inclusive Negligence”: Now What? Action steps for a Campus and Community: A focused discussion for members of campus and the community on how to practically engage in inclusivity. Wednesday April 5, 12:00-1:30pm, UWL Student Union, Room 3310

“Killing the Black Imagination: Where Do We Go From Here?” Charlene Carruthers, Director of the Black Youth Project. Tuesday April 4, 7:30-9:00pm, Centennial Hall 1400

Reducing Bias and Promoting Diversity in Recruiting and Hiring: Panel with expertise from UWL and community members. Thursday April 6, 4:00-5:30pm, UWL Centennial Hall 1404.

For the complete program, visit the Social Justice Institute website.

Being a Female Hmong Professional Fri, 03 Mar 2017 23:10:39 +0000 There is an increasing number of Hmong women completing their degrees every year in the United States. For a Hmong woman, finding balance between career, community, culture, and family can be challenging. In this presentation, Maysee shares personal stories and reflections of how she has been challenged by social and cultural expectations, and how she has learned to overcome them. Maysee opens up about conflicts she’s encountered both within and outside the Hmong community and explains how she has negotiated and navigated these situations while retaining her own dignity, as well as that of the Hmong community. She also presents the advantages and struggles of being one of still only a few Hmong individuals in academia.

Presented by: Maysee Yang Herr, Associate Professor of Education, UW-Stevens Point

This presentation is co-sponsored by the Wisconsin Humanities Council through its Shop Talk program.

Register Now

Language Access in La Crosse and Surrounding Communities: Promoting Social Justice and Community Empowerment Thu, 02 Mar 2017 23:16:17 +0000 Providing language access in our communities is not only a growing need in our community but also a federal requirement under Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. It is true that some professionals that work with interpreters may be unaware of the protocols, codes of ethics and standards of practice of this profession. We also know that failing to provide quality interpreting services can drastically affect the outcome of care and the services, as well as cause grave problems for the professionals who need to understand their LEP patients and clients. This presentation will examine the best practices for providing interpreting services and working with interpretation scenarios and will also examine the potential for shared community resources to implement language access in La Crosse and surrounding areas. Social Justice through language access is a meaningful way to promote community empowerment, equal footing and diversity in our daily interactions.

Presented by: Michelle Pinzl, Instructor and Coordinator, Community Interpreting Certificate, Viterbo University

Annual Half-Day Conference Wed, 01 Mar 2017 23:18:11 +0000 Mark your calendars for our much-anticipated annual half-day conference, to be held this year on November 2. More details coming soon.

Council Welcomes New Interns! Tue, 28 Feb 2017 15:15:22 +0000 The Council is delighted to have the energy, ideas, and skills of our Spring, 2017 interns, Alicia Quiñones and Sonia Garcia. They have been assisting with our Council’s newsletter and other forms of outreach, and updating our Multicultural Resource Guide. Sonia photo

Sonia Garcia

Sonia grew up in Hales Corners, WI which is about 15 minutes outside of Milwaukee. She is pursuing a degree in Interpersonal Communication, along with minors in Spanish and Ethnic and Racial Studies. Her involvement throughout the past four years at UWL has demonstrated a strong commitment to diversity and inclusion. Sonia is a McNair Scholar and the focus of her research is on first generation college students from underrepresented populations. She also works with the Institute for Social Justice, Intercultural Organization Promoting Awareness (IOPA), Mujueres Orgullosas (a Latina empowerment group), and as a Peer Coach through Student Support Services.

She is excited to be a part of the Diversity Council as a means to learn more about community outreach, connections between the University and the community, and to be able to help in any way possible. Sonia says the Diversity Council will offer her insight, knowledge, and experience as what it entails to be on a Council. She is very happy to be able to work with a diverse group of individuals who have so much knowledge to share. This experience will help Sonia on her journey to pursue a graduate degree in Student Affairs Administration.

Alicia Quiñones


Alicia is originally from Rochester, MN and moved to La Crosse to pursue her Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science with a minor in Public Administration at UW-L. She is a junior at UW-L now, but spent her freshman year at the University of Minnesota – Twin Cities.  Alicia is currently serving as the Diversity Organization Coalition Representative for the Latin American Student Organization where she is working to create better connections between organizations in hopes that they can help each other grow. She also just recently became a McNair Scholar and will be starting her very first research project this summer!

Alicia says she is extremely excited to be working as an intern with the Council. “It is an honor to see how the Council conducts their programs with their members while also serving as a great resource to the community. My interest in the Council has much to do with the values their work is centered around, as someone who hopes to one day make a career in Public Policy, diversity and inclusion are  large motivators in my own personal drive to success. I am excited to see where this position will take me and hope I can be a unique asset to the Council as we move forward.”

Alicia and Sonia are both unique assets to our program and to our region.  As the Diversity Council Director, I feel extremely fortunate to be working with both of them!


Celebrate Women’s History Month 2017 Tue, 28 Feb 2017 14:20:10 +0000 Check out these local opportunities to celebrate the struggles for justice, the accomplishments, and the contributions of women in our shared past–and present!

International Women’s Day Celebrations:March 8:  International Panel. Sponsored by UWL’s International Education & Engagement Office, at 5 pm, UWL, Hall of Nations, Centennial Hall.

This free event will consist of a panel of women from Bulgaria, China, Iceland, and Ukraine.  They will discuss their personal journeys as well as share reflections on what it means for women to be bold for change in their countries.

The event will also welcome a special guest speaker from Syria. Free Parking in Lot C10, Corner of 16th and Vine Streets | UWL Campus

March 9:  3rd Annual International Women’s Day Celebration, Sponsored by The People’s Food Co-Op and Hackberry’s Bistro, 6-7 pm.Celebrate the creativity, determination, and skills of women supporting women! Join women in the community for a very special International Women’s Day event in Hackberry’s Bistro. Hear about International Fair Trade initiatives led by women and benefiting women. Enjoy a relaxing glass of wine and delicious, specially prepared appetizers with friends while gorgeous women’s garments from India are modeled and described.

Month of March: 

American Association of University Women (AAUW) will have a Women’s History display in the windows of Pearl Street Books, 323 Pearl Street, during the month of March.  The display will depict the 2017 theme for National Women’s History Month, Honoring Trailblazing Women in Labor and Business” 

Also for this month, AAUW will have the new book, First Woman:  Celebrating the historic Presidential Campaign of Hillary Rodham Clinton and Other First Women in Government, for sale.  The book is a 2017 publication from the national Women’s History Project.  It is a 48-page book full of photos and facts about women in government.  The book will be for sale at the International Women’s Day program and at the Mayor’s Neighborhood Expo at La Crosse Center on March 25th. . You can also buy the book by contacting AAUW.