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Racial Justice in Milwaukee

FADICA member The Erica P. John Fund’s commitment to social and racial justice in Milwaukee demonstrates solidarity in one of the cities shaken last year by a fatal police shooting and subsequent unrest and protests. In the 1980s, Erica and Harry John and a group of parents spearheaded the re-opening of Messmer Catholic High School, located right on the dividing line between historically segregated North and South Milwaukee. Today, Messmer is an oasis for students from under-resourced urban communities. The high school boasts a culture of experimental and effective approaches, linked with strong spirituality and a vibrant campus ministry that integrates Catholic social teaching. The school is also graced with a beautiful chapel and accompanying spiritual art donated by the Fund, and houses a theater and a robust dramatic arts program. The Johns were involved and supportive of the civil rights movement in Milwaukee, long before civil rights laws were passed under President Lyndon Johnson.

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