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WNPJ Presents the Peacemaker of the Year Award at the Fall Assembly

Updated: Dec 7, 2022

It is my honor to present our Peacemaker of the Year Award to Claude Motley. Mary Kay Baum, 11/13/2022

Forty five years ago I carried my two-day-old daughter into Waupun’s Maximum Security Prison to meet her Menominee father, my first husband. I experienced

what it was like to be part of a prisoner’s family. I found Wisconsin’s mass incarceration negatively impacts those incarcerated and their family members.

Claude, thank you for bringing your strong and convincing reality to the public.

You are like the Great Blue Herons I see in the rookery near my home.

You are like the adult herons who protect the newly hatched and the fledgling

herons in a rookery.

First they act in community by purposely choosing to form their nests close to

each other in one common rookery. This allows a couple adult Great Blue Heron to stay behind keeping guard and protecting all the nests of the rookery. Taking turns this allows all the herons in the rookery to fetch fish for themselves and their young ones back in the nest. In fact, If you walk under their rookery you will not miss the guarding ones. You cannot help but hear their very strong and convincing voices as they sweep down toward you.

The Great Blue Heron teach their young to fly and fetch food. But, above all,

they pass on the ethic of a community protecting its most vulnerable.

Claude, you reminded us that right now many adolescents in Wisconsin do not

see a future. Many are dying from gunfire, from overdose, or from hanging

themselves... be it in our central cities, in our suburbs, on our reservations, or

on our suffering farms.

We thank you, Claude, for all you do in the heartbreaking role of urging safe,

healthy, functioning communities. Thank you for speaking up with your own

strong and convincing voice. Thank you for being vulnerable enough to show

what can be mixed emotions. Thank you for ultimately accepting restorative


Yes, thank you for changing us every time we see a glimpse of your life. May we

think of you and the lessons your life teaches us. Most of all, thank you for

helping each one of us to work together toward more connected communities.

Compiled by Co-Chair Mary Kay Baum


Video of Debra Gillspie introducing Claude Motley to the WNPJ Fall Assembly - and Mary Kay's presentation of the award. Nov. 2022 -



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