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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
Tuesday, March 20, 2018 - 6:30pm ESTHER Transit Task Force First United Methodist, 325 E. Franklin, Appleton /Wesley Conference Room
Wednesday, March 28, 2018 - 6:00pm - 7:30pm Heroin Highway Lecture Series: Medication Assisted Treatment Fox Valley Technical College, 150 N Campbell Rd, Oshkosh
Monday, April 2, 2018 - 6:00pm ESTHER Prison Reform Task Force St. Mark's Lutheran Church, 140 S. Green Bay Road, Neenah 54956
Wednesday, April 4, 2018 - 4:45pm “Hands Around the Courthouse” for Children Appleton Police Department HQ, 222 S Walnut St, Appleton
Saturday, April 7, 2018 - 9:00am - 10:00am Breakfast - Come and See What ESTHER Does St. Mark's Lutheran Church, 140 S. Green Bay Road, Neenah 54956

Stop the Wisconsin Senate!

Wisconsin Senate Chambers overlaid with 'NO' symbolDuring the last week of February, with almost no warning, the Wisconsin Assembly took a Wisconsin Senate Bill (SB54) from bad1 to worse, by authorizing the State to borrow $350 million to build a new prison, and to spend up to $50 million annually to operate it. At a time when both Red states and Blue are overwhelmingly closing prisons and returning non-violent offenders back to their communities, this bill takes Wisconsin in the opposite direction, by funding more prisons and forcing people who have been released back into prison.

There’s still a chance to kill this bad idea, however, as the amended Bill returns to the Senate on March 20—the Senate’s last day in session this year. Prison reform advocates in Wisconsin have scheduled a lobbying day against the bill on March 13, and your help is needed. Read more to learn what you can do.

1As originally passed by the Senate, the bill would require the Department of Corrections to “revoke” even more people back to prison because of probation and parole violations even though they had committed no new crime. The amended Assembly version retains that provision and provides funding for a new prison.

Immigration Reform Is Still Needed!

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70% of Americans Support Dreamers' StayingThe Senate failed to act last week on extending DACA or protecting Dreamers. So the fate of millions of immigrant young people still hangs in the balance.

We can’t let Congress and the Administration wait this one out, hoping we will lose focus or tire of fighting. It’s a looming disaster, and it has to be prevented.

Here are two things you can do today:

  • Learn what proposals are now being discussed. This article from The Atlantic is a good place to start.
  • Call the White House, call your members of Congress, call the Congressional leadership to remind them that time is running out and to let them know that you support the Dreamers and want common-sense, humane immigration law changes now!

Our Vision: Ending Child Poverty in Wisconsin

child on mother's shoulder, looking downWe believe in ending child poverty in Wisconsin. We believe that the people of Wisconsin, working together, can cut child poverty in half in the next ten years. We also believe that the current racial disparities in poverty levels should be cut in half. And we are committed to evidence-based evaluation of progress. Will you join us?

The persistence of poverty is a moral crisis that calls us to action. While poverty is not limited by race, ethnicity, or age, children are the poorest members of our communities. Moreover, growing up in poverty creates damage that lasts a lifetime. Further, economic disparities among racial groups in Wisconsin are greater than in the U.S. as a whole.

How can we let this continue? Add your name to the list of those who support this goal!

I Support This Goal

A Fox Valley Conversation on Investing in Children

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Thursday, March 1, 2018 - 6:30pm - 8:30pm
Elisha D. Smith Public Library, 440 1st St, Menasha

The Raising of America is a documentary series and public engagement campaign that explores how a strong start for all our kids can lead to a healthier, safer, better educated, and more prosperous and equitable America.

Please Join Us: March 1, 6:30 pm
Menasha Public Library, Company E Room

We'll be viewing Episode 3: “Are We Crazy About Our Kids?” (32 min.) Investing in high-quality early care and education for children pays for itself in many ways and many times over. We can either invest early for success or pay more for failure later. So, what is holding us back?

The film will be followed by presentation of data on Fox Valley children, discussion and information on the campaign to End Child Poverty in Wisconsin.


Conference: "Invigorating Democracy and Public Work"

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Saturday, February 24, 2018 - 9:00am - 3:00pm
Saint Norbert College (Bemis International Center - 299 3rd St), De Pere, Wisconsin

norman miller center logoThe notion of “public work” derives from the community organizing philosophy of Harry Boyte, founder of Public Achievement and Senior Scholar in Public Work Philosophy at the Sabo Center for Democracy and Citizenship at Augsburg College. The conference will feature Harry Boyte, as well as Micheline Ishay (University of Denver), Harvey Kaye (UW-Green Bay), Alison Staudinger (UW-Green Bay) and more. Additional info at the event page on Facebook.

Lunch and coffee breaks are included. This event is free and open to the public. Please register in advance to ensure adequate seating and sufficient lunches for participants.

Over-Incarceration in Wisconsin: "Inmate 501"

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Thursday, April 19, 2018 - 5:30pm - 7:00pm
Fox Valley Technical College, 1825 N Bluemound Dr, Appleton

Rep. Evan GoykeMeeting will be held in Room HS114 A/B. Use Entrance 16.

Rep. Evan Goyke (18th District - Milwaukee) will be joined by formerly incarcerated individuals to talk about the financial and human costs—including being shipped out of state—of over-incarceration in Wisconsin. Goyke is the author of a plan (“Inmate 501”) and legislative package to convert Lincoln Hills and Copper Lake Schools from juvenile corrections centers to AODA facilities for adults. (The plan was first presented publicly on November 29, 2017, more than a month before Governor Walker spoke about a similar approach.)

You can find Rep. Goyke’s analysis and plan here. A video of the November 29 presentation may be found here.

Click here to find WISDOM's extensive report on Crimeless Revocations.
Click here to download the Executive Summary.
Click here to download personal stories by victims of Wisconsin's unjust revocations policy.

Dreamer Interview to Air on Newsmaker Sunday

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UPDATE: “Statue of Liberty Blue SilhouetteFor the soul of a nation, NO deportation”

The latest news coverage flowing from this event, held last Sunday (January 28, 2018), is an interview with ESTHER Immigration Task Force chair Nancy Bourassa and an anonymous Dreamer, scheduled to air on Newsmaker Sunday at 7:30 am on WFRV Channel 5. The interview was conducted by news anchor Tom Zalaski. (Most Newsmaker Sunday interviews are archived for later viewing on the Web at Check there if you can’t watch the broadcast.)

Two Green Bay TV stations and the Appleton Post-Crescent were present last Sunday and provided coverage, which you can review here:

Don’t forget to write to your Senators and Representative about DACA!

World Interfaith Harmony Week Celebration

Thursday, February 8, 2018 - 7:00pm - 8:30pm
St. Mark's Lutheran Church, 140 South Green Bay Road, Neenah

Share an evening of fellowship among the Fox Valley's diverse faith communities. We will practice listening with humility and compassion, challenging the biases that limit us, and deepening our understanding of shared humanity.

Fox Valley faith and fellowship communities have participated in this global celebration since its first observance in 2011. The event is free, planned locally, and open to all.

Youth groups welcome!
Questions? Call 920-426-2920

Help spread the word - download and share the poster attached below!


Challenge Campaign Succeeds - Thank You!

THANK YOU to all those who contributed to the 2017 ESTHER challenge match campaign, which ended on December 31.

When everything was counted, during the last quarter of 2017, 50 people either made new contributions or increased the amount of their support during 2017 over 2016, for a total of $6,210 in response to the $6,000 challenge pool.

We are so grateful for such a wonderful response to this campaign during these challenging times. Your support helps ensure we can continue our work of sharing hope, building community, and standing for justice.

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