Have you seen “Vel Phillips: Dream Big Dreams,” a new documentary from Wisconsin Public Television? It tells the story of Vel Phillips, a Wisconsin civil rights activist and politician who made a difference in Milwaukee and beyond.

Did you know?

  • Promotional picture from documentary with title and current picture of Vel Phillips

    Vel Phillips

    When Vel Phillips was elected to the Milwaukee City Council, she was the first woman and the first African American. Despite that the other aldermen were unwelcoming and no one wanted to share an office with her, Vel persisted in fighting housing segregation; advocating for the right of African Americans to live in any neighborhood that they choose.

  • Vel Phillips’ five-year struggle to pass an open housing ordinance inspired activists to march. In the face of confrontation by white residents, the marches continued for 200 days.
  • The fight for open housing in Milwaukee influenced national legislation.

Learn more by watching the documentary online.

You also are invited to join the conversation about civil rights. On Saturday April 18, the Milwaukee County Department on Aging will present “Vel Phillips: Dream Big Dreams: Establishing Our Future: Garnering from the Past.” The event will feature intergenerational stories, for which Ex Fabula provided coaching, and dialogue. The program starts at 9:00 a.m.; doors open at 8:15 a.m. for registration and breakfast. It will be held at the Aurora Sinai Medical Center Rapkin Auditorium, “A” Building. Milwaukee County residents are welcome to attend this event geared toward youths ages 13 to 18 and older adults 60 years plus. Space is limited so please register by calling 414-289-5945 or by emailing agingevents@milwcnty.com.

We are grateful for the opportunity to work with the storytellers for Establishing Our Future: Garnering from the Past. You can support this and other great community partnerships by making a donation. Your support helps Ex Fabula to offer programming such as this that empowers people to tell their stories and build community. We truly appreciate your generosity in helping us build a stronger city and brighter future. Hope to see you at the event!