151124ExFabula0171_5D3A5403Ex 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.

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Why focus on those issues?

  1. 160315ExFabula0082_5D3A9320Milwaukee 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.
  2. In order to strengthen community bonds, we need to explore the things that divide us.
  3. 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

Wednesday May 31
6:30 – 8 pm program
Sugar Maple, 441 E Lincoln Ave, Milwaukee WI 53207

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)

previous interactive performances featuring the 2015-16 class of Fellows

No More Preaching to the Choir:  Storytelling, Dialogue, and other Transformative Practices for Community Engagement

presented as part of Imagining Americafellows-and-facilitators-logo

Friday October 7, 2016, 11:30 am-2:30 pm
Zeidler Center for Public Discussion

EMLK Day flierx 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. 

 “White Fragility”

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

Tosa's All-City Read logo, which shows a cartoon book wearing glasses and reading a smaller book, with a city in the backgroundWednesday, 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 fellows-and-facilitators-logoprofessional facilitators from the Frank Zeidler Center for Public Discussion.

Whiteness and Privilege

fellows-and-facilitators-logoTuesday, 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

fellows-and-facilitators-logoSunday, 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

Saturday April 1, 2017, 8:30 am – 4 pmFlyer, see https://www.eventbrite.com/e/racial-justice-the-courage-to-act-tickets-32103322903 for text
Alverno College’s Bucyrus Conference Center

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

fellows-and-facilitators-logoThursday 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

Talking to Kids About Race headerSaturday May 13
9:30am – 11:30 am program
Plymouth Church

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!

Fellows’ Stories


Project Milwaukee Segregation Matters LogoFellow stories were featured in a segment on WUWM 89.7’s Project Milwaukee: Segregation Matters series in March 2017.

Wisconsin Life LogoThis 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.

This story was published in Humanities Booyah, an online magazine dedicated to the public humanities.

These stories were published in partnership with Milwaukee Neighborhood News Service



Blanche.  Audio Transcript

Brian.  Audio Transcript

Elaine.  Audio Transcript

Jennifer.  Audio Transcript

Kerri.  Audio Transcript

Nakia.  Audio Transcript

Rochelle.  Audio Transcript

Rossetta.  Audio Transcript



Take Action

  • 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.

    Name (required)

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    Your Message

    I'm interested in being an Ex Fabula Fellow! Please notify me if you do future Fellowships.

Thank you!

2016-17 Fellowship

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.

Northwestern Mutual logoGreater Milwaukee Foundation logoWisconsin Arts Board logoNEA_logo

Zeidler Center LogoThanks 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.