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District 1

Alder Barbara Harrington-McKinney

Image of Alder Barbara Harrington-McKinney

Alder Barbara Harrington-McKinney

Contact Information

Home Address:

1209 Dayflower Dr

Council Office

Common Council Office:
210 Martin Luther King, Jr. Blvd
Room 417
Madison, WI 53703
Phone: (608) 266-4071
Fax: (608) 267-8669
WI Relay Service

Alder Harrington-McKinney’s Updates

D1 Message from Your Alder

July 11, 2017 9:42 AM

Dear Neighbor;

How Do We Stop the Violence? As an elected official, as many of you are, I am struggling with this senseless rash of gun violence. This surge of random acts of violence, gun shots fired, homicides, robberies, the senseless taking of another person's life -whether black or white- is causing a deepening tear in the very fabric of our community. Am I angry, YES. Do I feel a sense of urgency, YES. But I urge all of us to be careful not to fuel the fire with more hate and divisiveness.  Last week members of the  the AdHoc Committee on Education Resource Officers (EROs) in the high schools were invited to attend a Restorative Justice Symposium sponsored by the MMSD. The Symposium theme was not focused on closing the achievement gap, but on how to build within the culture of our schools a more restorative mindset. I have been a Restorsitive Justice practitioner for over 12 years. Some voices say that we should return to the use of ZERO TOLERANCE in our schools. Add more police to patrol our streets to make them safe. Guess what: the Police could not have protected the woman who was driving down a city street and shots were fired through her window. Nor could they have saved a man from having a heart attack resulting from traumatic fear during a robbery, nor can they project all of us from the random acts of violence that can put anyone of us at risk. What they can be is well trained in de-escalation protocol and use of force protocols. 

Alders have received inflammatory emails about wasting tax payer dollars on reviewing police policy,  practices and procedures. Our reality is that we are in a time of growing demand for accountability from all of us. Our communities are becoming more urbanized and culturally diverse.  I support having a well staffed police department, but I also realize that just adding more police will never resolve the core problems we face in our community.  Fear, distrust, stereotypes are distractions that we must be willing to challenge head on as a community.  I recently heard a principal say: that of the estimated 2200 discipline referrals he had received over a period of time, 2100 were for black and brown students. Something is inherently wrong with this statement. This feeds into the underlying bias that all black and brown kids are disruptive. It feeds into the school to prison pipeline, it breads a climate where a handful of asocial fokes are attempting to hold our communities hostage. Let us shift the tide with a resounding NO..NOT IN OUR COMMUNITY. Let's begin to take back our community in a constructive and future/lasting way. Enough is Enough! Our spending dollars must begin to reflect the City's priorities, as residents you have a strong say in helping to define and chart those priorities. Far too often a handful of voices are allowed to control the direction of the conversation. Write letters, send emails to your Alders-be involved. 

Parents -ALL PARENTS- must become involved in helping to turn the school learning environment into a positive experience  for all students. Join the parent/teacher groups, work together to create strong, diverse collaboratives. Let's work together to help build our schools into restorative spaces with a restorative mindset: 

A restorative mindset is one that looks at the whole person in the context of the situation.
A restorative mindset links deterrents to relationships/personal accountability.
A restorative mindset makes relationships and trust the center of community building. 
Where all members of the community are responsible to and for each other.
Where multiple perspectives are welcomed and all voices are equally important.
Where healing is a process essential to restoring community.
A restorative mindset is where harm-doers should be held accountable for and take an active role in repairing harm.
Where conflict is resolved through honest dialogue and collaborative problem-solving that addresses the root cause of the conflict and the needs of those involved.
Where cultural trauma is recognized as one of the root causes of some of the violence we are seeing today. 

Thank you to the Planning my group and MMSD for an excellent Symposium. My having attended the Symposium re-energized and reminded me how important it is to remain "active verbs" - which helps us to keep moving forward in spite of all the forces that try to dissuade us from building community WITH each other. 

The final day of the Symposium I was in a circle of women, various ages, ethnicities, experiences, from different school districts and areas around the state but all working in some capacity around education; our final challenge was in spite of all the challenges and reasons why not ..WHAT WILL YOU DO AS A RESULT OF BEING HERE? 

So I am organizing a study circle for Nonviolent Communication in District 1 using Marshall B. Rosenberg's book: Nonviolent Communication. A very powerful communication tool; with nonviolent communication you learn to: Significantly improve your relationships with family, friends and co-workers.
Stay peaceful in the face of judgement, criticism and anger.
Speak, think and listen in ways that inspire compassion and understanding.
Break patterns of thinking that lead to stress, depression, guilt and shame.
Discover common ground with anyone, anytime, anywhere. Please email me if interested in the study circle -

I initially began this blog last night, citing the details of yet another act of random violence - but these incidents cannot continue to be at the beginning of our story, but becomes the end.


Gun incident: Details from the shooting incident yesterday 2000 Block of McKenna Road.  A woman driving in the area of Raymond Rd. and McKenna Blvd. thought she had been shot this morning after a bullet pierced her rear window. Hysterical, she drove quickly to MPD's West District Station which is a very short distance away. There, officers determined she had not been shot, but injured likely by shards of glass which flew when her window was broken. A witness reports seeing a man outside in the 2000 block of McKenna Blvd. firing a handgun, possibly at someone else. The injured woman was not involved, but was just in the wrong place at the wrong time. The MPD's Violent Crime Unit has joined West District officers and detectives in a search for the gunman. At this time, there are no other reports of injuries or property damage.

Released 07/10/2017 at 11:37 AM by PIO Joel Despain

Your Alder


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