An Oral History of the Crime Victim Assistance Field
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Jo Kolanda
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Interview Transcript

timecode Seymour: Jo, welcome to the project. We're going to start by asking you to say and spell your name and where you're from.

timecode Kolanda: My name is Jo, J-O, Kolanda, K-O-L -A-N-D-A.

timecode Seymour: Jo Kolanda, when and how did you get... first get involved in the crime victims' movement?

timecode Kolanda: Well, in 1975, I was working for what was then called the Milwaukee County Department of Welfare, which is a non-PC name now and I hated my job; it was so horrible. And a friend and colleague saw a Milwaukee County job posting for a job called Citizen Contact and Support Coordinator for a new program called Project Turnaround. And she gave the job description to me and it sounded pretty interesting and I wanted to escape the Welfare Department and as I read the job description, I realized that, regardless of how interesting it sounded, what I knew about the criminal justice system was zero.

timecode So, I called a friend of mine, Michael Ash, who was a Deputy DA, and he agreed to have lunch with me. And I found out that Michael Ash wrote the definitive article, it was a law review article called "On Witnesses" and it described vividly how horribly victims, well witnesses, are treated. And as we know, unless a victim is dead, they're the most important witness for the prosecutor. And this article that Mike wrote was the inspiration for LEAA, the Law Enforcement Assistance Administration, who would, which was headed up by Don Santarelli.

timecode LEAA, based on Mike's article, decided that they'd better do something to help prosecutors preserve witness cooperation and that non-cooperative witnesses were probably not really non-cooperative, they had just been abused enough to abandon the system. So, the DA was E. Michael McCann, and he, Mike inspired Mike McCann, to look at witness, at victim witness problems. Mike helped write the grant and by the time he gave the article to me and started explaining all of this me, he had to recuse himself from the hiring process because he and I were friends and he had written the grant. And so I interviewed with, this was a separate program and there was the Director and Deputy Director of Project Turnaround and two Deputy DAs.

timecode All of them were men and they interviewed me. And to say that it was one of the more horrible experiences of my life would be minimizing the experience. They, well one of the Deputy DAs noticed an item on my resume which I normally tried to gloss over, as a period of mental illness. I was a performer and writer for a experimental theater company called Theater X and we did a lot, at the time most of our material was very satiric, anti-Vietnam War stuff. And one of the Deputy DAs, Lee Wells, had seen our shows. He liked Theater X and was telling the other people - I was sinking into the floor - telling the other people... interviewers the shows I'd been in. And the Director of Project Turnaround looked me right in the eye and said, "Well could we accurately describe you as an anti-government agitator?"

timecode So, I figured well this is fine, I don't have this job. And then they asked me all kinds of questions which, even back in 1975, were illegal. And when they found out I was a single mother, supporting two children, the Deputy DA asked me if I had adequate child care. And since I knew I didn't have the job anyway, I told him I thought that was an illegal question and if he wanted to know about my attendance record, he could check that and find that it was excellent. And I went home and thought, well the Welfare Department isn't really all that bad. And I found out when I got the job I was astonished and they hired me because of my theater experience. They didn't want, for want of a better, more negative word, bureaucrat who would just do business as usual. They wanted somebody who would bring a creative look to the program and so it was just... it was a wonderful experience in the end, until I got the job. (laugh)

timecode And then I realized quickly that I didn't know what I was doing. And every night about six or seven o'clock at night, I would sit down and write out my letter of resignation because I was sure somebody was gonna figure out I didn't know what I was doing. And after a few months I realized that nobody was gonna figure that out because nobody knew what I was supposed to be doing because it was the first prosecutor-based program. And, so in 1975, there were some initiatives for sexual assault victims and for domestic violence victims.

timecode And LEAA, when inspired by Mike Ash's article, thought it was time to look at the criminal justice system and how they were abusing people and so they gave very large grants, one to Milwaukee County and one to Brooklyn, New York, which is an odd sort of duo. And the reason they gave the money to Brooklyn was that the first time a criminal case went to criminal court, 60 percent or more were dismissed - the first time. And in Milwaukee the rate of dismissal of criminal cases, first appearance or twentieth adjournment, was considered statistically insignificant. So LEAA said, "Let's throw a lot of money at Brooklyn and see if they can reclaim this citizen respect for law enforcement." And they gave a lot of money to Milwaukee to say, "Can we preserve an unusual amount of citizen respect for law enforcement?" And so that's how our project got started and I was in charge of one part of it, delivering actual services to victims. So that's how I got started.

timecode Now the problem with the LEAA grants was that -- I mean this is one of those things, you know, what, that sounds like a good idea at the time -- they funded this big Project Turnaround and the Feds paid 90 percent the first year and the County 10 percent. The second year they paid 75 percent and the County paid 25 percent and the third year I think it was 40 Feds and 50 County, something like that. Well, LEAA figured that way they would wean the County off Federal money and establish the County's commitment to providing these services so that at the end of the three-year demonstration grant, the County would take it over. Ha! (laughter) That was dreaming.

timecode What the County did was every year, they cut the back, program back so that the County dollar amount was the same. So I'm... I'm not good at math but I could see what they were planning. At the end of the three-year demonstration program, they were gonna say good-bye to the program. So, here I was, at a job that was sort of destined for extinction and, of course, every day I got more passionate about it. So my biggest challenge right away was to see if we could continue the program. And I think had I not become so passionate, I would have just said, "Well this was a good gig while it was happening" and, but I was converted then as I learned more and more.

timecode Seymour: What was... what was uh, 1975 that's about...

timecode Kolanda: That was when we started, yeah.

timecode Seymour: What was the field like then, Jo, including the context of the area... era the... the mid-70s?

timecode Kolanda: Well, it was a law and order kind of an era and I learned immediately that that was the hook that we were gonna use because as soon as you said, "We're here to do good things for victims," people's eyes glazed over and they wanted you to go away. And so one of the first political lessons I learned, because the first thing you had to do back then was become political, I learned that the only way people would keep listening to me was to say, "We're here for a law and order reason. We, if you treat victims and witnesses well, prosecutors can successfully prosecute criminals." And, the, well the big challenge, of course, was how we were gonna survive and at the end of the three-year demonstration program, Project Turnaround died and I got picked up by the DA's Office.

timecode And oh man, the, I mean the Director of Project Turnaround threatened to fire me every other week because I was cozying up to the DA's Office and, of course, he wanted to preserve his job and I wanted to preserve the program. So, the DA agreed to pick up my part of Project Turnaround and, oh, man, we were held together with spit and glue. I mean we lied about uh, the fact that we were providing social services so we could get Title 20 money, which came with a nightmare of paperwork.

timecode Seymour: What's Title 20 for?

timecode Kolanda: It was social services. So I had to pretend that that's what we were doing. And then I had to pretend that we were doing job training so we got CETA money, which was Comprehensive Education and Training Assistance, and that came with a lot of paperwork. And, so (laugh), but the turning point for me was we had a strategic meeting on how to save the project and there were all of these men and I, and they were all talking about different ways to preserve the program, Project Turnaround, and I said, "Well, you know, I think that the only way this program is going to survive," because I knew we were getting interest for the law and order stuff, so I said, "There's got to be statutory authority for this program and there's got to be funding built in from the State. Because the State supports the court system, they should be willing to fund this."

timecode And every single person in the room laughed. And I was, at first I was so humiliated, and then I was so mad that I left that meeting thinking "there is gonna be statutory authority for this program or I will die trying, you expletive." So I contacted, a woman named Barbara Ulichny, who was at the time a freshman Senator... a freshman Representative in Wisconsin. And I knew she was very interested in sexual assault issues and I had helped on her campaign to get elected and I said, "You know, Barbara, we need a Victim Witness Bill of Rights." That sounded like a good thing to call it. And she was very excited about it and, of course, what I meant was we need a statute that will statutorily authorize all the program's services that we provided and so... and give us money to do it.

timecode And, amazingly, amazingly a freshman Senator pulled this off and the best thing about getting that legislation passed, because that would be the, when it passed in 1980, it was the first Victim Witness Bill of Rights, in a state. And during that time, I met Steve Derene, who... I mean Steve Derene and Barbara Ulichny and I became sort of the dynamic trio of "let's do legislation as fast as we can to help crime victims in the state of Wisconsin." And, one of the great things about the Bill of Rights was it was hard to sell, especially for a freshman legislator to sell a big funding bill.

timecode So it provided that criminals pay a victim witness surcharge. And interestingly over the years, the collection rate for the surcharge was better for incarcerated defendants, it came out of their inmate's wages. And the collection rate was better than for those defendants who were on probation because they were kind of a captive audience.

timecode Seymour: That's amazing.

timecode Kolanda: So getting the funding was huge and getting a beginning towards victim legislation. And the other biggest challenge I had in the beginning was getting respect. I mean we were all non-lawyers and the Project Turnaround people did that on purpose. They wanted non-lawyers who would advocate for victim right... victim interest instead of for legal expediencies. But to say that we were treated with scorn by the lawyers would be an understatement and Mike McCann was very smart about this. He gave us offices near his office.

timecode The staff was paid more than Assistant DAs when they started, which is no longer true. So although they resented us and didn't trust us and didn't want us meddling in their cases, there was a lot going for us to win their respect because of how the District Attorney himself regarded the program.

timecode Seymour: And that made a difference. His view of you made a difference to others?

timecode Kolanda: Absolutely. Without the commitment at the top, I think they could have driven us out. And I remember one Assistant DA, and we... we did have three years to win them over, but one Assistant DA who just said, "Do not touch my case files, do not mess up my cases." When the news came out that we were going out of business, he came running into my office saying, "What... what do you mean by this, you're... the program's... " and he says, "I'm gonna quit." It was (laugh), so it took a while but establishing creditability with lawyers was key.

timecode And, the other key thing was I had, I mean in the beginning my learning curve was, I told you, it was very steep and... and I learned something very important. In order for me to learn what victims needed, I needed to talk to victims. And so I very early on grabbed a whole stack of DA case files and started calling victims to tell them what was happening in their case. And it was horrible. I mean everything Mike Ash wrote about how victims were abused was true. I talked to a guy who had lost three jobs trying to cooperate in an armed robbery prosecution. And I looked down at the DA case file and it was adjourned, adjourned, adjourned, adjourned and this poor guy had kept coming to court, of course, because he was one of those solid citizens that we were so prized for, so that made me realize I had to get control of the subpoena function.

timecode There's no use relying on referrals from Assistant DAs. The lawyers at that time wouldn't know a victim problem if it whacked them over the head. So by getting control of the subpoena function in the DA's Office, I could also get control of the files so that they could come to us first and we could notify people what was going on and place them on-call, which was, I mean the first time I said, "I think we should place victims on-call and witnesses on-call," you'd have think I suggested bombing the criminal court system. It was, I mean it was wonderful except at the time it was so horrible, it was so hard. And because there were no colleagues, there was nobody I could call, I tried to devote the rest of my life to helping other people because it was hard thinking of... thinking that you weren't nuts when everybody was being mean to (laugh) and telling you not to mess up their cases.

timecode And you were talking to people who just needed so much, and one of the big decisions I had to make early on, which was a very hard decision ironically now when I'm... we're sitting here today in 2003, I had to -- we had a very small staff in the beginning -- and I had to decide where are we going to put the resources, in felony cases or misdemeanors. And I thought well far more citizens go through the misdemeanor courts, many thousands more, maybe we should start there. But I suppose it was hypocritical and self-serving, I said, "No, we'll pick felonies because it's high profile, I'll be able to get some press, we'll take felonies."

timecode And I made the right decision because it was helpful when we got press and... and did something on some big spectacular case, but I feel terrible now that I was inadvertently party to the fact that now people argue about whether there should be services for victims of non-violent crimes. That's... that's craziness. You can't separate out victims and say who is more deserving of services. I mean a purse snatching is the worse thing that happens... can happen to a person. Any crime, I just feel bad that can be minimized now. Do you know what I'm saying?

timecode Seymour: Yes, Jo, and still is, is what you're saying.

timecode Kolanda: Yeah, yeah.

timecode Seymour: There's a difference.

timecode Kolanda: And I wish people would understand that I didn't mean that. I, that misdemeanors were less important.

timecode Seymour: That's all right.

timecode Kolanda: I'm very sorry because when, by the time I retired, we had separate felony units, misdemeanor unit, children's court unit, crisis response unit, oh, and I want to talk about children's court. I, in the beginning, I didn't even know there was a children's court and one day, I didn't know there were homicides in the beginning. And again by talking to victims, I remember getting a phone call from a women who kept apologizing to me. "I'm very, very sorry to bother you." Oh, God. "But my husband was killed two years ago and I wonder if you could tell me what happened to his, the case against the guy who killed him."

timecode And she hated to bother me and that's sort of how I found about children's court. Talking to somebody who said some horrible story and whatever happened? And it took me about two days to find out that it was a juvenile offender and that these people were invisible to the system. Um...

timecode Seymour: The victims?

timecode Kolanda: The victims. Their names weren't written down anywhere except hidden in a case that could only be accessed if you knew the defendant's name. So I just shudder when I hear people minimizing any victims, because no victim should be invisible in the system.

timecode Seymour: Secrets, tactics, strategies of the early days that you employed that worked? You've already mentioned talking to victims.

timecode Kolanda: Talking to people but I can't stress that enough because that's, when we get to my biggest fears that... that will be one of them. Talking to victims and developing a political strategy not assuming that, anybody was gonna stay interested in victims tomorrow. I think it's folly if people assume that this will go... this will be all fine unless we keep working at it. Getting control of, I mean I even made the decision not to create separate files because I felt the need to control, to not let any cases slip through the cracks. That is very important to me that every victim and witness be contacted. And I take umbrage that people dismiss witness services. I mean that's one of the problems with VOCA money that we had when VOCA money finally became available, was that they said you couldn't spend the money on witnesses.

timecode Well, to me the biggest the services I provided to every victim was getting that case successfully prosecuted and getting some semblance of justice going. And if there was a witness problem, that was important to the victim and so I think that was a bad VOCA decision. And that, witnesses, first of all, are citizens and witnessing an armed robbery or witnessing a crime can be very traumatic for people. How can we just dismiss witnesses? And like, oh, I love it when uh, you get a bank robbery and they pick the victim out of the whole assembled teller group and the one who had the gun pointed at her... at her head is the victim. Well that's nonsense. That whole, all of those people are just... just witnesses and I have a lot of trouble with that still and I never was able to convince people. I just keep begging them.

timecode Seymour: Not yet, huh?

timecode Kolanda: Don't, don't ignore witnesses because that doesn't help victims either and they have a lot of ...they can be scared and traumatized as much as victims.

timecode Seymour: Well, good segue to the next question. What... what were some of the failures that you perceived?

timecode Kolanda: Oh, man, the biggest failure was I could not, I was... I was not able to let DAs around the state of Wisconsin understand the importance of who... of the professionalism of the person who was going to be providing victim witness services. When Chapter 950, the Bill of Rights for Victims, passed and enabling money was made available, DAs around the country looked at that money and decided to steal it by taking the money, promoting a clerk typist or a secretary and calling them a Victim Witness Service Provider and not training them and it's, oh, it was horrible.

timecode So I didn't, I wasn't able to convince the DAs. And you know what's so interesting to me is that DAs never saw, never, some of them have obviously, but in the beginning I felt like batting them over the head. "This is good for you politically to have somebody treating citizens who vote, hopefully for you, and why don't you see the importance of who's doing this?"

timecode Seymour: Has that changed today?

timecode Kolanda: Yeah. It's changing, but not all of them get it and the, I mean I'm very, very worried about the professional future of the movement. I'm um...

timecode Seymour: We're not to your fears yet.

timecode Kolanda: I know. Okay.

timecode Seymour: (laughs) Um...

timecode Kolanda: Oh, the other failure I had was we had a Witness Protection Unit in Project Turnaround and when the funding ended, the Sheriff's Department let it die because they didn't care about it. Uh, then eventually, with Steve Derene's help, we got it back but I think it belongs under the DA's control and I failed at that. It was a political nightmare but my, you know how good hindsight is, I wish I had, after it vanished, I wish I had gotten it into the DA's Office instead of back into the Sheriff's Department because I think witness protection efforts should be controlled by the DA's perspective and not law enforcement. And a lot of people would line me up and shoot me over that but I feel very strongly based on my experience with trying to get witness protection.

timecode You know, another class of victims that's very neglected are the less than fine upstanding citizens. You know, we can't pick our victims. And it still pisses me off that victims who aren't shiny examples of fine citizenhood can be treated badly. And when they're murdered, their families have to, can't get victim compensation. I mean that really bothers me to this day. That was another huge failure never getting victim compensation based on, in homicides I think victim compensation should be based on the survivors not on the deceased because it's they who are stuck with the grief and the funeral bills and the need for counseling. And it... I mean it's mean spirited. Do you know what I mean?

timecode Seymour: Oh, yeah. Yeah. One greatest accomplishment of the field?

timecode Kolanda: Of the field. Well and it's a double-edged sword.

timecode Seymour: Okay.

timecode Kolanda: One big accomplishment is getting Victim Witness Services institutionalized into the criminal justice system. I feel like that was a huge accomplishment. There's nobody now who wonders who the Victim Witness Service Provider is when she talks to the judge and asks the bailiff for stuff and the Defense Attorneys don't question who the... who they are. They're accepted. They're part of the system and that's a huge accomplishment, I think. And the other, and I'll get back to that later, it's a double-edge sword, and the other huge accomplishment is... are the State Constitutional Amendments because in my experience statutes are just poetry unless they have two things.

timecode Unless there's funding to adequately provide the services that are mandated in the statutes, and they're poetry unless the lawyers and the judges pay attention to them and the symbolism involved in a constitutional amendment does that. It says "pay attention, this is important to the lawyers and the judges." So, I think that's major and that... that's why we... why we need one at the Federal level so badly.

timecode Seymour: All right, Miss Jo, what is needed today to continue the growth and professionalism of our field or... or what's missing?

timecode Kolanda: Well, I used to hire people who had gone through the Criminal Justice major in their colleges and had never heard the word "victim." And after I retired, I went back and got a Masters in Marquette University and Milwaukee let me create a victims' course. And I think what's needed is to hook those bright young things who are so full of idealism and hook 'em on providing victim services whether they're headed into law enforcement or law school or straight for social services, you need to have... .you need people who are educated about victims.

timecode People still do not, unless it happens to them, people have basically no clue what victims go through and what the criminal justice system demands of them. So I think curricula has to, in undergraduate, graduate and law school, has to include victim issues and has to prepare people to professionally be able to deal with victims. The other thing is training, training, training-- like the National Victim Assistance Academy. And I think that there should be a viable national organization which there isn't right now, that could someday do something to compel training and I know certification is a bad word but I mean, based on my experience in Wisconsin, there are people who, DAs who resist having their victim witness person trained because they're out of the office.

timecode There ought to be, they have to understand how important that is to train people and keep them up-to-date on... on new stuff in the field. Uh, I mean I can't say the need for training often enough.

timecode Seymour: Tell... tell me a little bit about the Wisconsin Victim Assistance Academy because you were the Director of... of that project, one of the first state level academies.

timecode Kolanda: And you were the queen. So (laugh) and it was fun.

timecode Seymour: Yeah, it was fun. It was also highly educational.

timecode Kolanda: It was very educational.

timecode Seymour: Why'd you do that? What was the point in Wisconsin to, because you did it with pretty much a limited budget and...

timecode Kolanda: Yes, and without Steve Derene it would never have happened. Steve Derene made it happen and Marquette was supportive in providing an academic environment, (laugh) dormitory, to stay in. And every day going through that Academy, seeing how energized people were and yes, we're learning new stuff and making new contacts and talking about issues and it was just so wonderful to see people so charged up. People need that experience. It's lonely for a lot of people working in the victim field. They're one person and they need colleagues or you get cynical or hardened or too sad.

timecode You need to get together with your peers and colleagues and have phone numbers to call and you need to hear the new stuff. You need refreshers. You need to be reminded of what you've forgotten. Training should be an essential part of every victim service provider's agenda and their bosses should understand the importance of it. Yes. (laugh)

timecode Seymour: I'm having a little too much fun with this interview. Jo Kolanda, what advice can you give to professionals and volunteers who have just recently joined the field, they were not here 30 years ago?

timecode Kolanda: Oh, my first advice would be learn the history of the movement and be very afraid. Uh, those of us who started in the bad old days, you should know how bad it can get or you're not, I mean who said "if you don't know history, you're doomed to repeat it?" Because in bad economic times, darling, you could be a frill again in the criminal justice system and you'd better be careful because you could be the first to be cut in the funding crisis and you'd better get political. I mean I have stuffed, folded so much campaign material and stuffed so many envelopes and addressed envelopes for fundraisers.

timecode Get connected with a state legislator or a county supervisor, anybody political, go out and do lift drops for them, help with their campaigns so that you can talk to them and educate them about what victims need and doggone it, go out and do that political work. Uh, I've seen so many people who get so squeamish about politics. I mean, my God, what the heck do you think this is all about? Everything is political. Everything is about resources and priorities and don't be... don't be arrogant and don't assume you're gonna be here next year---would be my best advice.

timecode Seymour: Oh, what vision do you have for the future of our field?

timecode Kolanda: This is my vision for the field. In the course of - I was mostly an administrator and the most direct services I provided were to families of homicide victims in cases that were, the media was gonna mess with them and I, they needed some extra protection from the media. So I learned, I met some of the most wonderful people on earth and through various other activities and naturally I've met the most wonderful people in the world. Victims, I see victims becoming a political force and when I started political, victims had no political power at all.

timecode Political figures and people who control money not only didn't know who victims were, they did not want to know who they were because of the stigma attached to it back in... at... in the bad old days and the "I don't want to hear about little babies getting killed and sons and daughters getting murdered. I, don't talk to me about that." Well that's... that's over. They're now more visible and I've seen them... I've seen that developing from being zero to being having advocates for them in the, and now for them becoming their own advocates.

timecode And I would like to see them becoming more and more political. And you know as well as I do that if a legislator or a county supervisor gets a letter from somebody who is an actual constituent crime victim, it's worth more than twenty phone calls or letters from you or me or from any service provider. They're, that's real and the more political they become, the safer the movement is. Um...

timecode Seymour: What is your greatest fear?

timecode Kolanda: My greatest fear is the double-edged sword that I talked about. That as, and I've seen it happen, that as victim services become institutionalized in the criminal justice system, that it will become too institutionalized. It'll become just a job.

timecode Seymour: And... and talk a little bit about that.

timecode Kolanda: I've seen DA's Offices react to Constitutional Amendments by saying, "Okay, we're going to do this all with forms. All form letters, check-off. Cover your ass." Because in Wisconsin if uh, in Wisconsin if a victim feels their rights have been violated, they can lodge a complaint and ultimately lawyers and judges can be fined, which really got everybody's attention big time. So some people are reacting to that in what I think is a very cynical mean-spirited way and saying, "Okay, we're gonna do everything with paper. We're gonna flood people with paper." Now one thing I learned very quickly is that the illiteracy rate in this country is something nobody is aware enough about or talks about but a lot of victims are intimidated by a lot of paper. I mean, I am. I get something from the Government I, my whole brain kind of shuts down. Well, you have to keep talking to victims.

timecode You can't just send them brochures and form letters that say what their rights and oh, if you want to exercise your rights, sign here and send it back or call me. That's, we're on the equivalent of family television right now, so that's nonsense. And people, you don't know what kind of problems a victim, I can't say this often enough, until you call them and you talk them and you find out are they afraid, are they about to get evicted because their car was stolen and they can't get to work. I mean all the stuff you find out the first time you talk to a victim, you have to keep doing that and I've really digressed now. What was the question?

timecode Seymour: Greatest fears.

timecode Kolanda: The greatest fears. My greatest fear is that the momentum that we've gained will not result in a more professional movement and that we won't have it, victims as much as anything a part of all curricula, all and law schools. And, uh and I think that one of the biggest things that a Federal Victims Rights Constitutional Amendment would be, I think then they've got to have that in law schools. Don't you think?

timecode Seymour: Um-hum.

timecode Kolanda: So at least lawyers will have heard the word and I mean, we hope. (laugh)

timecode Seymour: For God's sake. Can I ask you a bonus question?

timecode Kolanda: A bonus question?

timecode Seymour: Yes.

timecode Kolanda: I hope I have the answer.

timecode Seymour: The bonus round. Wisconsin is a state that has, you know, many firsts. You had the first Victims' Bill of Rights. You had one of the first children's courts. The first, your program, prosecutor-based victim program. One of the first and best state victim academies and, of course, the Green Bay Packers. (laughter) What is it about Wisconsin? I mean you, it really it is if you had to pick a pioneer state in victim issues, a lot of people indicate Wisconsin. What's the secret?

timecode Kolanda: Well the Packers, of course, they inspire us and that cold weather, you know, builds character... (interruption)

timecode Seymour: Frozen tundra.

timecode Kolanda: It gets the insects down to the size they're supposed to be. Um...

timecode Seymour: Something about Wisconsin?

timecode Kolanda: Well, I think that the fact that Mike Ash pioneered to get LEAA to pay attention to victims in the criminal justice system. Mike McCann, a long, long-time DA, who spearheaded uh, victims getting in the... into the system. Um, I guess maybe there's that early start and Steve Derene. A lot of this, a lot of this is people and Steve, I can't say enough about him. How all the legislation he shepherded and all the funding conniving he did to help programs stay afloat and grow and we had some wonderful victims who helped us with uh, contacting legislators. I mean, when Barbara Ulichny was trying to get signatures on the first Bill of Rights, the, uh, it was only Barbara Ulichny in the House and Jim Flynn in the Senate and I mean there was a lot of money, nobody was going to sign on.

timecode And so the few of us that were in the state at the time were trying to get victims that we had helped and I felt guilty about that, you know, I didn't want to se people but they were happy to do it and a legislate, we wanted them to call their Representatives and urge them, tell them how important this Bill was. And Barbara told me she... said she had this Legislator running after her down the hall waving a pen saying, "Barbara, you know that victim thing you got? I got to get my name on that, a call poured in."

timecode Seymour: (laugh) A call...

timecode Kolanda: And that's how, people don't understand that's how things get done.

timecode Seymour: Right. Great.

timecode Kolanda: And I, maybe we just got a running start. I don't know.

timecode Seymour: Great. Anything else you want to add? Did we cover all of your insights?

timecode Kolanda: I'm very happy you all are doing this because, like I said, I'm scared people will forget the history and forget how bad it was and how far people have come. And people shouldn't get discouraged knowing how far we've come. It... it's terrible when people get discouraged.

Seymour: That's great.