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Racial justice group hoping to help people of color after they leave La Crosse jail



Two non-profit organizations are teaming up to help assist people of color who are leaving the La Crosse County Jail.

The La Crosse chapter of Showing Up for Racial Justice (SURJ) is partnering with the Western Foundation to assist Project Proven, which helps inmates gain skills they can use once they leave jail.

“One of the biggest barriers is finding a job,” Pat Lunney with SURJ said of those getting out of prison. “So many people, even a year after their release, they are still looking for employment.

“Project Proven is trying to make sure that they have skills to pursue meaningful work.”

The groups are hoping to raise $10,000 in an endowment to provide more resources. Normally a couple hundred dollars is committed to each person helped.

“That’s where we really thought that if we had an endowment, ” Lunney said. “Each year, just have that base still in place, that could be utilized every year, based on what we’re able to build. That would really sustain it over time.”

The goal is $50,000 before all is said and done. The endowment would start in 2020.

Lunney said having a support system is a powerful thing for people in bad situations.

“Just even knowing that there’s people that care and are working towards helping to re-assimilate goes along ways,” Lunney said. “With our Showing Up for Racial Justice group, we wanted to bring additional monies and support for people of color in our community.”


Born in Decorah Iowa. I've been a news reporter for the last 10 years, starting right out of college in Fort Dodge, Iowa. Other professional opportunities led me to Marshalltown, Iowa and Antigo Wisconsin, before I finally was afforded the opportunity here in La Crosse. I've been here since 2016. I also act as the voice of local sports, doing play by play of high school and college football and basketball. When not working I enjoy golfing.

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