Democracy demands wisdom and vision in its citizens

From the Director Dena Wortzel


“Democracy demands wisdom and vision in its citizens.” It’s a statement I have pondered and returned to countless times in my years with the Wisconsin Humanities Council, an organization deeply dedicated to work that flows from this belief.

Why wisdom and vision? Because democracy is not a gem that can simply be polished now and then. It is the product of human imagination, only as good and as lasting as our collective ability to create and sustain it.

At this moment in our nation’s history, the ravages of a virus and of the legacy of slavery are bringing us dramatically face to face with the imperfections and fragilities of America’s democratic experiment.

As individuals we can cultivate wisdom and vision, but only as a state and nation can we heal the wounds of history and build a democracy for today, for each and every one of us.  Today, our state ranks as one of worst in the nation when it comes to racial disparities, a fact lived by Wisconsinites of color but not understood by many of their white neighbors.  What wisdom can we draw upon to envision another kind of tomorrow?

As always, and now more than ever, we believe the humanities play a critical role in bringing us to a place where we can deeply experience what is unique in each of us, and makes us human. It is a place where individual voices and lives are lifted up, where our humanity and our dreams of democracy have a chance to grow even in dark times. The staff and board members of the Wisconsin Humanities Council hope that you will join us there. Bring your wisdom, vision, voice and imagination, because there’s work to be done.  In the days, weeks, and months ahead, let’s redouble our efforts.  Let’s do that work together.




Take me to meet Corey on the Love Wisconsin page!

We partnered with Wisconsin Institute for Public Policy and Service (WIPPS) in 2018 to create a series of Beyond the Headlines public conversations in Wausau on the topic of “Building Trust: Law Enforcement, the Media and You.” This week, WIPPS is hosting a conversation with two prominent black leaders in response to current events.

We invite you to join the free Facebook event on Friday, June 5th for a live conversation with two prominent national figures, Reggie Jackson (pictured above, top) and Jarret Adams (pictured above, bottom). Both men will share their compelling stories of being black in America and provide perspectives on the current national situation and the impact of racial disparities and its consequences.

Reggie Jackson is an historian, educator, the co-owner and lead trainer of Nurturing Diversity Partners in Milwaukee, and a former Wisconsin Humanities council member.

Jarrett Adams launched his own law firm in 2017. Adams was wrongly convicted of sexual assault and served 10 years in prison before being vindicated with the help of the Wisconsin Innocence Project.

Don’t miss this live stream Friday at noon on the WIPPS Facebook page.

WHERE: Go to: at noon.

HOW: You can post comments and questions for the guests during the event, or email questions in advance at


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