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Building community, sharing hope, and standing for justice since 2004

Upcoming Events

Please join us for any of these upcoming ESTHER events!

  • To learn more about a particular event, click on its title
  • To see the complete ESTHER calendar, click on More at the bottom left of the listing
Monday, July 13, 2020 - 3:30pm - 5:00pm
ESTHER Communications Committee Meeting Zoom Meeting
Saturday, July 18, 2020 - 10:00am - 12:00pm
Summer of Solidarity Training Session from WISDOM & EXPO Zoom Webinar
Tuesday, July 21, 2020 - 9:00am - 10:30am
ESTHER Finance Committee Meeting Zoom Meeting
Tuesday, July 21, 2020 - 6:30pm
ESTHER Transit Task Force Zoom Meeting
Saturday, July 25, 2020 - 10:00am - 12:00pm
Summer of Solidarity Training Session from WISDOM & EXPO Zoom Webinar

Statement on Systemic Racial Injustice and Call for Change

This statement from ESTHER President Gary Crevier in regard to the killing of George Floyd, the protests against systemic racial injustice and the movement for black lives was issued on Saturday, June 6.

We at ESTHER here in the Fox Valley are outraged at the merciless murder of George Floyd and at the inhumanity so often experienced by people of color. We understand the protests that have been provoked in our cities to be the language of the unheard, and we advocate for the prosecution of those police officers involved in this killing. Black lives do matter.

ESTHER decries the presence of racism in our culture and commits itself to being an anti-racist organization, working for equity and justice. May we be humble enough to recognize that racism is so pervasive that it is like the air we breathe. May we be open enough to recognize it in ourselves, kind enough to help others to see their own and courageous enough to join community organizations in our efforts to confront our systemic racism.

Gary Crevier
ESTHER President


Summer of Solidarity Training Session: Transportation

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Saturday, July 11, 2020 - 10:00am - 12:00pm
Zoom Webinar

These weekly Zoom meetings, sponsored by WISDOM and EXPO, cover community organizing approaches and social justice topics of concern in the state and region during the summer of 2020.

On July 11 the focus will be on how transportation and transit have such an impact on equity and justice. For one thing, mass transit is much easier on the environment than individual vehicles. With more and better transit options, we could reduce our carbon emissions significantly. A robust transportation system is also about inclusion – making sure that everyone has access to jobs, health care, recreation, worship, and all the other activities we all hope to return to soon!  

WISDOM Transit Task Force members, including several from ESTHER, will lead us as we talk about specific challenges we face in the state of Wisconsin and in our local communities. And, they will lead us to see that we CAN be part of the solution, creating a future beyond our excessive dependence on cars.

To register, click here: Summer of Solidarity July 11, Transportation

Tentative schedule of future topics:

  • July 18 – Housing for Women Returning from Incarceration
  • July 25 – Voting and Voting Rights
  • August 1 – Murdered and Missing Indigenous Women
  • August 8 – Crimeless Revocations
  • August 15 – Policing
  • August 22 – Environmental Justice

If you would like to participate in any of these, contact WISDOM ( for information about registering for the Zoom presentations.

Presentations are being recorded, and will be available at:

WISDOM Offers Leadership Training Class Beginning August 6

WISDOM has announced its second 2020 “Leadership for Community Transformation” training class will begin on August 6. 

These trainings, held on five consecutive Thursday evenings via Zoom, cover the essentials of community organizing. A similar training program offered earlier in the summer included more than 50 people from around the state, and even from organizing projects outside of Wisconsin.

The Thursday evening trainings are useful for people who are just getting involved with a WISDOM affiliate (like ESTHER), or who want to know more about what community organizing is and how we do it. We have also had some good reviews from organizing “veterans,” who appreciated the refresher and the chance to interact with a wide variety of people who share a passion for social justice. 

The trainings are interactive and participatory. People should register to participate only if they expect they can attend at least four of the five Thursday evening classes.

5-week Leadership Training Class 
Thursday, August 5, continuing on August 6, 13, 20, 27, and September 3
6:30 - 8:00 pm
To register, click here:  Aug 6 to Sept 3 Training

Recovery Coach Training Program

Addiction Recovery Coach Training

Become a Certified Recovery Coach

ESTHER’s Mental Health Task Force has received a COVID-19 emergency capacity-building grant from Forward Community Investments and other funders to support the training of people as recovery coaches. The COVID-19 pandemic has significantly increased the need for coaches to help those who are recovering from substance abuse and other addictions. This project is designed to assist in meeting this need in our area.

ESTHER is working cooperatively with Menīkānaehkem as well as counties and tribes in our area to identify people who would like to be trained. If you live in Northeast Wisconsin and have an interest in becoming a recovery coach, please contact ESTHER Organizer Bill Van Lopik. (The training is scheduled for September 14-18, 2020, from 11:00 am to 3:00 pm using the Adobe Connect online platform.) More information on training content, format, computer requirements and how to register here.

Forward Community Investments LogoMenikanaehkem LogoHelios Recovery

Equity and Racial Justice Committee Update - June 2020

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White Fragility CoverEquity and Racial Justice Committee leads ESTHER toward becoming antiracist

In an ongoing effort to make ESTHER an antiracist organization, board members are continuing our self-education by reading and discussing the book, White Fragility: Why It's So Hard for White People to Talk About Racism, by Robin DiAngelo.

Because this topic is so important and the idea of White Fragility is so challenging, board members have divided into “e-small groups,” each meeting for three 90-minute sessions (digitally) for self-reflection and discussion. These groups are being facilitated by Jennifer Considine, chair of Oshkosh ESTHER and chair of UW-Oshkosh Communications Department; ESTHER Organizer Bill Van Lopik; and two members trained by Celebrate Diversity Fox Cities: Connie Kanitz, chair of ESTHER’s Transit Task Force, and Penny Robinson, Co-Chair of the Equity and Racial Justice Committee.

Another step in this direction is an upcoming pilot program in which three board members will participate in the Intercultural Development Inventory (IDI), facilitated through Common Talks with Marijke van Roojen. This pilot is being supported financially by a special gift. The IDI is:

… a valid and reliable assessment of an individual or group’s ability to engage effectively with others across difference. The IDI is based on Milton Bennett’s Developmental Model of Intercultural Sensitivity (DMIS) and research conducted by Mitchell Hammer. The inventory has been used successfully since 1998 in corporate, academic and other settings to focus individual coaching and action-planning, to guide multicultural team development, and to conduct program evaluation and research.

It is expected that after the results of this pilot effort are evaluated, ESTHER will be looking for additional funding to widen the availability of the IDI to all board members who would like to participate in it.

Members of the ESTHER Equity and Racial Justice Committee are Jennifer Considine, Gwen Gibson, Kathleen Gribble, David Haas, Penny Robinson, and ESTHER Organizer Bill Van Lopik. Meetings are held the third Thursday of each month, at 10:00 a.m., by Zoom.

—Penny Robinson, co-chair

Justice for Kozee Decorah

Kozee Featherstone MontageAs part of their efforts to shine a light on missing and murdered indigenous women (MMIW), our allies at Menīkānaehkem are asking for the support of ESTHER members and friends to:

  • Sign and circulate this petition regarding the murder of 22-year old Kozee Montana Featherstone Medicinetop Decorah. The petition asks that the charges against the alleged perpetrator be increased from manslaughter to second-degree murder, that five additional charges be added, and that he not be released on bail.
  • Contact the US Attorneys assigned to the case by mail, email or phone (contact info at Read more below) to urge that the charges be modified.

Why are we asking? On May 15th, 2020, Kozee Decorah celebrated her 3-month sobriety anniversary and was working hard to move back home to Wisconsin in the coming months. The very next day she was murdered in Winnebago, Nebraska, by her fiancé, Jonathan Daniel Rooney, who then mutilated her body.

On June 1, 2020, Rooney was charged with MANSLAUGHTER OCCURRING IN INDIAN COUNTRY for the death of Kozee Decorah – a minimal charge given the severity of the killing and the subsequent mutilation of her body.

RVP Needs You!

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Empower (MyRVP) logoWisconsin’s April 2020 primary shows what a difference the turnout of informed, motivated electors can make in an election. Some reports indicate that “Relational Voting” may have played a significant role in the outcome of that eletion. That’s why ESTHER is looking for leaders to participate in our Relational Voting Program.

What’s Relational Voting? Research has shown that people are more likely to vote if they have a relationship with someone who is encouraging them to do so.

It is easy to participate in the program, which requires only three simple steps:

  1. Download the “Empower (MyRVP)” app to your smart phone (Apple or Android). Then, register yourself to the Empower network (using your phone number or email address) and enter the code word “WISDOM.”
  2. Choose 20 names from the contact list on your phone and add them to the list in your Empower app
  3. Commit to contacting these people from time to time to remind them to vote in upcoming elections.

You are the only person who will ever contact these people about voting-related matters. Talking prompts will be sent to you to remind you to contact those on your list and suggest topics.

If you have questions, please reach out to Bill Van Lopik (

By participating in this program, you could possibly earn money for ESTHER as well as yourself. We have funding to pay up to 40 people $50 each if they follow through on this simple program.

How Wisconsin Communities are Meeting the “Last Mile Challenge”

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Thursday, June 18, 2020 - 6:30pm - 8:00pm
Zoom Webinar

Sponsored by Coalition for More Responsible Transportation in Wisconsin.

Join us as we explore different transit systems in key Wisconsin cities. You'll hear from different individuals on the ease of using public transit in select cities and how these communities are addressing the “Last Mile Challenge,” or the challenge in completing the last segment of a transit trip in order to reach one’s final destination. Discussion and feedback will follow the presentation.

RSVP here to receive the Zoom link.

Drive to Decarcerate - Caravans to Madison

Thursday, June 18, 2020 - 12:00pm
State Capitol and Governor’s Mansion, Madison, WI

We care about people in prison; Governor Evers should too!

Car with sign - "protest inmates and workers"Join WISDOM/EXPO & our network of affiliates across the state as we show Governor Evers that we CARE about people in prison & want him to care, too.

On Thursday, June 18, 2020, people who are TIRED of Governor Evers’ inaction/lack of concern regarding incarcerated people & COVID-19 will hit the highways & take our concerns to the Governor’s door in Madison!

(Register Now and we will contact you with exact times, locations and other important information about this action.) If you would like to join the caravan from the Fox Valley, please contact Cindy Carter at 920-903-6350.