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Changes Coming for Immigrants

Hispanic faces on US mapPresident Obama has pledged to work for immigration reform, including a path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants, and the results of the last elections have convinced most Republicans that some reform is needed. Even so, the outcome is far from assured.

The administration has implemented some of the proposals of the Dream Act and has recently announced a policy change that will allow undocumented immigrants who are married to citizens to avoid having to return to their home countries to apply for visas as spouses of citizens.   

Locally, to provide more information in the Fox Valley about immigrants’ experiences, ESTHER has been tapped to finish developing and test a Latino Simulation (similar in concept to a poverty simulation). The potential value of such a resource grew out of investigations by ThedaCare's Community Health Action Team (CHAT), which held an Immigration Plunge during the fall of 2011. CHAT then developed the concept of the simulation and sponsored its initial development. Nan Gutierrez has been named project leader and will be working with ESTHER’s Immigration Task Force to complete the project in the next few months.

Watch our Facebook page ( this website for updates on immigration reform.

Focusing on Our State Budget

Figure depicting state budget areaOur state legislature will soon take up the budget for the next biennium. The budget is where the rubber meets the road. Without funding to support programs, all we have is talk. Currently, ESTHER is focusing on securing adequate funding in two areas. Will you join us in advocating in support of these budget priorities?

Public Transit

Transit is important in our community to get people to jobs, medical appointments, school, shopping, community events, and more. The Wisconsin Transportation Finance and Policy Commission has recommended investing an additional $36.3 million annually over ten years to strengthen public transit in our state [click to read the report]. We support this recommendation.

We also call for restoration of transit funds cut from the state budget during the 2010-11 biennium. Restoring this 10% cut would bring the state's public transportation budget back to the 2009-10 level. Without the restoration, communities in the Fox Valley and throughout the state will begin feeling the effects in July of this year.

Prison Reform

Treatment Alternative Diversion (TAD) programs have proven their value and their cost-effectiveness in Wisconsin and around the country. Following the recommendation of the recent Health Impact Assessment (read more at, we are calling for $75 million to be appropriated for these programs.

Results of the Health Impact Assessment indicate that such an investment would reduce costs, reduce crime, increase recovery from addictions and mental illness, strengthen families, and improve economic opportunity. Prison is about four times more costly than TAD programs such as alcohol, drug, and mental health treatment courts.

Join us at Madison Action Day [click to learn more] on March 14 to help show your support for these prioritries.

JOIN US! March 14th People of Faith, Madison Action Day

ESTHER members marching to the Capitol in MadisonPeople of Faith United for Justice is a day-long gathering to learn, discuss, pray and take action on justice issues such as prison reform, public transit, affordable housing, transitional jobs, and more. We gather at Bethel Lutheran Church in Madison for plenary sessions and lunch, followed by a march to the capitol and meetings with legislators.

Treatment Alternatives and Diversion Funding, the focus for 11x15, is one of the issues this day. Funding for transportation is another.

Read more, and then register to join us! click to register online | click to download registration flyer

People of Faith United for Justice - Madison, WI, March 14

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Marching toward the State CapitolOn March 14, 2013, ESTHER will take part in the event People of Faith United for Justice Action Day. We want to get 1,000 people from across Wisconsin to learn about key issues of justice, talk about ways to take action, and meet with our legislators at the State Capitol. We will be focusing with our legislators primarily on prison reform and the 11x15 campaign for safer and healthier communities. We hope to fill a bus for this event, and we hope to see you there!

What: People of Faith United for Justice Madison Action Day
When: Thursday, March 14, from 9:00-3:00
Where: State Capitol, Madison, WI
Cost: TBD, we hope to take a bus and include lunch. 

Tell us your Logisticare transportation story

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logisticare logoWhat has your experience been with Logisticare? ESTHER has heard that some Logisticare clients in Wisconsin have been denied transportation and have not been informed of their rights. We have also heard that some local transportation providers working with Logisticare have not been paid or were not paid in a timely manner. Some legislators are calling for an audit, but knowing specific stories and details would help a great deal. Click here to send us your story.

ESTHER Organizer Named 4 Under 40 Honoree

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Stephanie Gyldenvand, ESTHER organizer, receives recognition for her strong leadership and justice work through ESTHER and other community involvement!

Go to the Oshkosh Northwestern article.

Like ESTHER on Facebook and stay up to date on important justice initiatives in the Fox Valley

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ESTHER is now on facebook.  Give us a like and keep updated and engaged with justice issues in the news, upcoming trainings, important events, and successes in our work!

Visit us at

Give us a like! 

Leaders For Justice Training Sponsored by ESTHER and JOSHUA

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En español: content/capacitacion-de-lideres-por-la-justicia-patrocinada-por-esther-y-josue

This is an ideal opportunity for new leaders and for experienced leaders who want to work more effectively.  The training includes:

  • Basic overview of faith-based community organizing
  • Building relationships through one-on-one conversations
  • How to create and strengthen core teams
  • How to hold effective meetings and build strong organizations
  • Issues and how we work together to address issues
  • Planning actions to bring about strong and just communities

Date: August 26-27

Friday: We begin at 5:00 PM with a dinner followed by time for reflection. We continue with the training until 9:00 PM

Saturday: We work from 8:30 AM until 3:30 PM

Place: Emmanuel United Methodist Church, 740 East College Ave, Appleton

Cost: $20 including Meals (dinner on Friday, breakfast and lunch on Saturday)

Languages: You will be able to choose between English and Spanish

Registration: To register, contact Stephanie Gyldenvand by email at or by phone at920-216-0891. In the email, include your full name and your congregation or organization. Also, please let us know if you want to stay with a family on Friday night. Please send a check made out to ESTHER to 140 South Green Bay Road, Neenah, WI 54956.


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