Ex Fabula Fellows are community members who use personal stories to inspire community-led dialogue around some of the most pressing issues in the Greater Milwaukee area–segregation and economic and racial inequality.
Why focus on those issues?
- Milwaukee is the country’s most segregated urban area; Wisconsin is the worst state at protecting African American children, the place that incarcerates the highest percentage of African American men, and more.
- In order to strengthen community bonds, we need to explore the things that divide us.
- Scientific research shows that storytelling has the unique ability to meaningfully connect people and create the conditions for empathy.
Upcoming Interactive Performances
Creating a Welcoming Community in Bay View
Presented in partnership with the Bay View Neighborhood Association. Bay View is currently experiencing a lot of growth and change, making it the perfect time to reflect on our past, present and future.
First, we’ll hear 3 true, personal stories from Ex Fabula Fellows, community members who have crafted stories that explore race and equity topics. Then, attendees will reflect on those stories and share their own experiences in small group conversations facilitated by the event emcee. Finally, we’ll regroup to share ideas for next steps – and then adjourn for socializing.
Free, but space is limited, so please pre-register here.
Past Interactive Performances (2016-17)
No More Preaching to the Choir: Storytelling, Dialogue, and other Transformative Practices for Community Engagement
presented as part of Imagining America
Friday October 7, 2016, 11:30 am-2:30 pm
Zeidler Center for Public Discussion
Ex Fabula Fellows @ MLK Day
Monday, January 16, 2017
Martin Luther King Library, 310 W. Locust St.
Free activities and performances from 9 am to 5 pm – some for youth, some for adults, some for all ages; Fellows shared stories about “Speaking up” at 2 pm. Full schedule here.
Saturday, January 21, 2017, 9:30 to noon
Zeidler Center for Public Discussion
The event began with stories told by Ex Fabula Fellows, continued with facilitated listening circles, and ended with a mini-workshop from SURJ about practical skills to address white fragility.
Embracing Cultural Diversity: A Community Discussion
Wednesday, February 15, 2017, 6:30 – 8:30 pm
First Congregational Church, 1511 Church Street, Wauwatosa, WI 53213
Tosa’s All-City Read intends to bring neighbors together, and this event did so by exploring some of the themes of the book “A Man Called Ove.” The evening began with true, personal stories from Ex Fabula Fellows. Then, attendees shared their own observations in small group listening circles directed by professional facilitators from the Frank Zeidler Center for Public Discussion.
Whiteness and Privilege
Tuesday, March 7, 2017, 6pm to 8pm
Workshop Architects, 201 E Pittsburgh Ave
The evening began with true, personal stories from Ex Fabula Fellows. Then, attendees shared their own observations in small group listening circles directed by professional facilitators from the Frank Zeidler Center for Public Discussion.
Breaking Boxes: An Identity Summit
Sunday, March 12, 2017, 2pm to 5 pm
Zeidler Center at 19th/Wisconsin
How do our various identities (race, gender, sexuality, class, age, etc.) shape who we are? What kinds of boxes do we find ourselves in? How do we break those boxes? This 3 part event included stories, facilitated dialogue and an interactive workshop about our identities.
Racial Justice: The Courage to Act with Chris Crass
As part of this day long conference featuring UU social justice activist and write Chris Crass, the Fellows presented an afternoon workshop about an important action that we can all take: share our stories about our personal social justice journeys – as a way to engage others and further our own learning.
Fair Schools: a Community Conversation
Thursday April 27, 2017, 6pm to 8pm
United Methodist of Whitefish Bay
A community conversation about equity, diversity and educational achievement. The event included a brief keynote from Reggie Jackson, stories from Ex Fabula Fellows, and small group dialogues facilitated by the Zeidler Center. Sponsors included: Parents Advocating for Educational Excellence (PACE), From the Same Dust Baha’i, United Methodist of Whitefish Bay.
Talking to Kids about Race
At this highly interactive event, attendees heard 3 true, personal stories from Ex Fabula Fellows and then reflected on those stories and shared their own experiences in small group conversations. Then, Dr. Erin Winkler spoke about how young children start to notice race and how we can talk to them age-appropriate ways. After a Q&A with Dr. Winkler, the group envisioned next steps to empower our children and ourselves to be anti-racists. The event ended with socializing and opportunities to connect with local anti-racist groups. This event even had childcare available at no cost!
Here are some of the great things that were written about the Fellowship!
- “Stories Worth Sharing: Ex Fabula seeks to spur conversations about race”, article by Joshua M. Miller on p 92 of M Magazine’s November 2016 “Giving” issue. (PDF of article)
- “New Storytelling Fellowship Hopes to get People talking about race“, article by Jabril Faraj on Milwaukee Neighborhood News Service and also published on OnMilwaukee.com
- “Storytelling Group Engages Milwaukee In Conversation On Race”, interview with Megan McGee on Central Time on Wisconsin Public Radio
- “On the Record”, Milwaukee Record’s podcast. Megan McGee and Leah Delaney talk about Ex Fabula and the Fellowship.
Fellow stories were featured in a segment on WUWM 89.7’s Project Milwaukee: Segregation Matters series in March 2017.
- “Ex Fabula Fellows Foster Tough Conversations about Race and Segregation in Milwaukee” by Ann-Elise Henzl (written transcript and audio)
This story was produced in association with Wisconsin Life, a program of Wisconsin Public Radio and Wisconsin Public Television. It aired around the state of Wisconsin in February 2017.
- “Camp Memories and White Privilege” by Elaine Maly (written transcript and audio)
This story was published in Humanities Booyah, an online magazine dedicated to the public humanities.
- Rochelle’s Story: Piecing together family history by Rochelle Fritsch (written story)
These stories were published in partnership with Milwaukee Neighborhood News Service
- “Overcoming the Special Ed Label” by Nakia Hood
- “Roadblocks to Higher Education” by Rossetta Hall
- “Privilege Hiding in Plain Sight” by Jennifer Hoepner
- “The Talk I Don’t Want To Have” by Rochelle Fritch
- “Camp memories” by Elaine Maly
- “Fighting the Cloud of Disempowerment” by Cris Siqueira
- “The ‘awful reality’ of prejudice” by Blanche Brown
- “Moving Furniture While Black” by Nakia Hood
Blanche. Audio Transcript
Brian. Audio Transcript
Elaine. Audio Transcript
Jennifer. Audio Transcript
Kerri. Audio Transcript
Nakia. Audio Transcript
Rochelle. Audio Transcript
Rossetta. Audio Transcript
- Apply to become a 2016-17 Fellow.
- Take Harvard University researchers’ online tests to explore subconscious bias. Click “I wish to proceed” and then select a test such as “Race” or “Skin tone”.
- Peruse YWCA of SE Wisconsin’s list of “Racial Justice Resources”
- Check out Rid Racism Milwaukee’s calendar of events
- Explore the online museum curated by America’s Black Holocaust Museum
- Get involved with SURJ Milwaukee (Standing Up for Racial Justice) via their facebook page
- Use this form to submit stories (you grant us permission to share on our website, on social media, etc) and to indicate interest in future fellowships.
The 2016-2017 Fellowship is supported in part by a grant from the Northwestern Mutual Foundation; a $20,000 grant from the Greater Milwaukee Foundation‘s Douglas L.P. Hamilton Fund, George and Evelyn Gay Family Fun, and Jerry L. Tollefsen and Jessica J. Suhr Memorial Kacynski Family Fund; and a grant from the Wisconsin Arts Board with funds from the State of Wisconsin and the National Endowment for the Arts.
Thanks as well to the Zeidler Center for Public Discussion, our partner for 6 of the interactive outreach performances. For those events, attendees will split into small groups, each with a Zeidler Center facilitator, and participate in Reflective Structured Dialogue.