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Stephen Brashear / Getty Images

Last week, the Starbucks coffee chain announced its initiative to get people to talk about the sensitive issue of race.  The plan was pretty straightforward – have its baristas write #RaceTogether on coffee cups and initiative conversations. 

But the idea almost immediately became the source of ridicule on social media, criticized as heavy-handed or quixotic.

But take Starbucks out of the equation, and how do you initiate a dialogue about race relations and inequality?

Emily Forman

In Wisconsin, African Americans are 30 times more likely to be shot and killed than non-Hispanic whites.

Michelle Pitts is the owner of New Pitts Mortuary - a black-owned funeral home in the heart of Milwaukee. She sees this statistic first-hand.

Mike Wright, Flickr

In a mix of sports metaphors, Tuesday's Reading Blitz represents a full-court press for organizations trying to improve reading skills among Milwaukee kids.

The day's effort, sponsored by the United Way of Greater Milwaukee and Waukesha County, is the culmination of a concerted effort to increase the number of volunteer reading tutors in the community.  Community engagement specialist Karissa Gretebeck says the effort is aimed particularly at the youngest readers.

Erin Toner

The U.S. Supreme Court will not consider the constitutionality of Wisconsin's voter ID law, meaning the state is free to impose it, but the AG says not next month.

Absentee ballots have already been mailed and early in-person voting started Monday, so state Attorney General Brad Schimel says it's too late to enforce the law for the April 7 election.

On April 7, Wisconsin voters will elect a member of the state Supreme Court. The race pits Incumbent Justice Ann Walsh Bradley against Rock County Circuit Judge James Daley. We spoke with both judicial hopefuls about what they would bring to the court.

Bradley has been a member of the Wisconsin Supreme Court for 20 years. She says she’s seeking another 10-year term because she cares deeply about the people of Wisconsin. Bradley calls herself an unbiased judge.

LaToya Dennis

Three members of the Milwaukee Fire and Police Commission late last night upheld the firing of former MPD officer Christopher Manney. 

Manney was fired in October after an internal affairs investigation found that he conducted an out-of-policy pat-down on Dontre Hamilton, which led to an altercation and deadly force needing to be used. Hamilton was unarmed and suffered from schizophrenia.

antoniamurphy.com

In the modern day rat race of our constant and busy lives, few people actually act on the common thought of leaving the city behind and heading out in search of a simpler lifestyle.

Antonia Murphy was brave enough to actually do it. Murphy is an American whose primary experience with farm life came from an ill-fated effort to care for her father's chicken.

mpessaris - Fotolia.com

There are a lot of factors, scientists say, that feed into climate change. Carbon emissions are high on the list, of course. But another culprit is increasingly sharing the blame. 

Even if you drive an electric car, even if you have solar panels on your house, even if you compost, recycle and reuse, your food consumption habits play into the climate change dynamic.

S Bence

The activist was in Milwaukee last week to kick off UWM's Women Leaders Conference. Brockovich told its 500 attendees that she's gathering data to spur a national conversation about environmental and public health concerns.

Richard Hurd, Flickr

When you vote next month, you’ll notice two items on the ballot related to the Supreme Court. One will be the race for a seat on the court. The other – a referendum. 

Today, we examine the dynamics of the race. It pits Incumbent Justice Ann Walsh Bradley against Rock County Circuit Judge James Daley. High court elections seem to generate a lot more electricity these days, than in years past.

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