Nestic Morris grew up on Madison’s South Side, graduated from West High School and UW-Whitewater, hails from a family whose roots in Madison date back three generations and at 33, already has a pretty deep resume.
Currently, she is outreach coordinator for the Wisconsin Coalition Against Sexual Assault. In the past she’s interned for The Capital Times and worked at the Boys & Girls Club of Dane County and at a halfway house for women released from prison.
What do you do at WCASA?
We are a coalition. We have 56 member programs so we don’t do direct service. We make sure that the people who do direct service have everything that they need. We help write grants, we help find grants, we help with training around sexual assault prevention. I do a lot of work in the community trying to get WCASA’s name out. I help other outreach coordinators to outreach to culturally specific communities. I work closely with the Department of Corrections and the Department of Justice. We help people work through their grants, making sure they’re doing all the requirements to receive money from the Department of Justice.
What have you learned about sexual assault?
It’s more prevalent than people like to think or want to think. Being able to witness people tell their stories and heal and what that looks like for them is what struck me the most. Black women are more likely to be assaulted but less likely to report that assault. So we have been working diligently around the state to bring in culturally specific programming.
The biggest thing would be to bring it to the forefront. (Sexual assault has) always been there. It’s just not something that black women report because of historical trauma, because they’re going into sexual assault programs and they don’t see women who look like them.
What’s your take on the Kavanaugh nomination?
We believe Dr. Blasey Ford.
What about the need to corroborate sexual assault allegations?
False rape is like less than 3 percent. We believe them at their word. They said it happened, until it is proven different, we are on their side.
You worked at the Boys & Girls Club as it grew in influence in Madison. What was that like?
I learned a lot of leadership while I was there. I think the biggest thing that I noticed with (former club president and CEO) Michael Johnson was his ability to raise money. That hasn’t always been the case over the years and so being able to witness that was great.
What’s a major change in Madison that you’ve seen over your lifetime?
I think that the biggest thing is the gentrification that’s happening on the South Side. Growing up I was part of a community of people. The majority of the South Side was black, and everybody thought that it was just this horrible place, with drugs and crime, but we were a real-life community. My mother worked at the Boys & Girls Club and she spent many nights making sure that kids around the neighborhood were properly fed because she understood that this might be the last meal they receive (for a while). And while my mother was doing that, my friends’ parents were making sure that we were at basketball practice on time. To outsiders it looked like it was sketchy, but it was a real community.
What do you like to do in your free time?
I watch a lot of little league football. I have a lot of my former kids from the Boys & Girls Club who still want me to come and watch them play. So I’m at like five or six different football games on a Saturday. I’m all things Southside Raiders. My favorite sport to watch is football. I like to bowl. It’s super random, but I love it. It’s a fun game.
What’s your highest game?
189. And my mother is the best woman bowler that I know.
— Interview by Chris Rickert