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

27th Annual Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration

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Monday, January 15, 2018 - 6:30pm - 7:45pm
Lawrence University Memorial Chapel, Appleton

Aly Wane speaking at a rally“Those Who Have Been Left Out”

The 2018 Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Celebration is sponsored by Celebrate Diversity Fox Cities, African Heritage, Inc. and the Lawrence University Diversity Center. The event is free, and the public is invited to attend. The keynote speaker for this year's event will be Aly Wane, s noted speaker, activist, and organizer originally from Senegal. Mr. Wane has worked with various human rights groups including the Syracuse Peace Council, American Friends Service Committee, and the Black Alliance for Just Immigration.

See also the Facebook event for this celebration.


Sunday, December 10, 2017 - 4:00pm - 5:00pm
Fox Valley Unitarian Universalist Fellowship, 2600 Philip Ln, Appleton

Sunday, December 10, 4:00-5:00 pm

Vigils and Events to End Gun ViolenceGun violence affects the victims, their families and their communities.  It affects all of us.  Please invite your family and friends and attend the VIGIL to #ENDGUNVIOLENCE.

Five years ago, the Sandy Hook shooting in Newtown killed 20 innocent children and six educators, shattering millions of hearts in America and around the world.   We gather in remembrance of ALL victims and survivors of gun violence.

Learn how you can make a difference and save lives.

Read more:

RSVP (encouraged but not required):

Sponsored by Fox Cities Gun Violence Prevention Team and Wisconsin Anti-Violence Effort (WAVE), in collaboration with • Newtown Foundation • Newtown Action Alliance • Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence • Everytown Survivor Network• Faiths United to Prevent Gun Violence • Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America • Organizing for Action • States United to Prevent Gun Violence • St Mark’s Episcopal Church • Women's March

December 12: 24 Hours of Prayer and Fasting for Dreamers

Fast and Pray for Dreamers

Child holding Save DACA signVirgin of GuadalupeOn the Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe, December 12, with our Dreamers getting lost in the political chaos of our government, ESTHER’s Immigration Task Force is asking you to fast and pray. Please set aside some time to pray and create your own fast for just 24 hours, then sign up on-line so we can be sure we have 24-hour coverage.

The Dreamers should be able to continue to dream about a better life in this country, so please offer your support.

Sign up here for a 30-minute time slot on December 12 to show your commitment to a better future for Dreamers. After clicking, scroll down to see the sign-up slots, which are toward the bottom of the page.

Equity, the Environment, and the Future of Transportation

Wednesday, November 29, 2017 - 4:00pm - 5:30pm
Fox Valley Technical College, Room A158

cars and bikes sharing the roadJoin us to hear elected officials, experts, and local activists discussing issues and opportunities for making transportation more equitable, accessible, and greener… in the Fox Valley and around the state.


Professor Laura Hartman, UW-Oshkosh Environmental Studies


Mayor Tim Hanna, City of Appleton
Alderman Joe Martin, Appleton Common Council
Connie Kanitz, ESTHER Transportation Task Force
Kim Biedermann, East Central WI Regional Planning Commission

  • How would you get to work, school, the doctor, or the store in Wisconsin if you couldn’t drive or afford a car?
  • Did you know that transportation alone accounts for almost one-third of all U.S. greenhouse gas emissions?
  • New technology, aging seniors, and Millennials’ preferences are radically changing the future of transportation... is the Fox Valley ready?

Wednesday, November 29, 4 - 5:30 pm
Fox Valley Technical College, Room A158
1825 N Bluemound Dr, Appleton

FVTC is accessible by Valley Transit bus route 12. If you drive, park in the North Lot and use entrance 15. From there, room A158 is down the hall on the right side.

This event is hosted by ESTHER and WISPIRG (Wisconsin Public Interest Research Group)

Shared Sanctuary Benefit Concert

Saturday, December 2, 2017 - 7:00pm
Fox Valley UU Fellowship, 2600 E. Philip Lane, Appleton

John McCutcheonFeaturing Singer-songwriter John McCutcheon

Benefitting Shared Sanctuary Legal Fund

Suggested donation: $20

The Fox Valley Unitarian Universalist Fellowship recently voted to become a sanctuary congregation, willing to house someone who is in immediate danger of being deported. All donations for this concert benefit The Fellowship’s Shared Sanctuary Legal Fund, which assists families or individuals who need representation when facing deportation.

Wisconsin native John McCutcheon is a master instrumentalist, a powerful singer-songwriter,  and a gifted story-teller. Watching John, his audiences can feel and share his passion for three things: people, justice, and the joyful celebration of making music.

Doors open at 6:30. Opening act: Cris and Ann Plata, sharing Mexican roots music.

Help spread the word: Download flyer (below) and share!

Sponsored by

Fox Valley Unitarian Universalist Fellowship

Winnebago Worship Group
Religious Society of Friends (Quaker) of the Fox Valley


Green Apple Folk Music Society


2017 Banquet a Rousing Success

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2017 Banquet Crowd - image by Mark RiceOver 225 people—a full house—gathered at Liberty Hall last Sunday evening for ESTHER’s 13th annual banquet. The spirit in the room was amazing. ESTHER recognized Kris Clouthier for her exceptional, sustained efforts in sharing Latino/a stories through ESTHER’s Latino simulation, Walk in Our Shoes, as well as the “Voices of Hope” readers theatre. Bob Pedersen, President and CEO of Goodwill Industries North Central Wisconsin, was honored for his creative, energetic, and people-focused leadership of this truly transformative organization in the Fox Valley.

Keynote speaker Glenn E. Martin shared from the heart and the head in challenging America's addiction to dehumanizing punishment, not only in prisons but throughout our culture: “70 million people in the United States have a criminal record. You can't criminalize 70 million people unless you dehumanize them first.”

It was great to be joined by many who were attending an ESTHER banquet for the first time. We especially enjoyed being joined by members of ExPO (Ex‑Prisoners Organizing) from the Fox Valley and throughout the state, as well as representatives from JOSHUA, RUTH, WISDOM and others.

If you were there, you know what a great evening it was. If you missed it this year, do plan to join us in 2018!

"Under the Tent" Annual Interfaith Event

Sunday, August 6, 2017 - 3:00pm - 5:30pm
Fox Valley Islamic Society, 103 Kappell Drive, Neenah

FAITH & POVERTYThe Fox Valley Islamic Society is hosting its 18th annual Interfaith Gathering on Sunday, August 6 at 3:00 pm. All are invited to attend this year's event at no charge, which will once again be held "Under the Tent" at the mosque, and offers opportunities to learn, interact, and feast.

The event will feature presentations and discussion on the theme of “Faith and Poverty,” with a feast and fellowship to follow. RSVP to, or phone 618-203-6891.

No Back 40 Mine - Save the Menominee River: Presentation by Guy Reiter

Thursday, June 8, 2017 - 7:00pm - 8:30pm
Girl Scout Office, 4693 N Lynndale Dr, Appleton

Menominee River near proposed mine siteThe Back Forty Mine project is a proposed open-pit metallic sulfide mine located on the banks of the Menominee River in Lake Township, MI, just across the river from Marinette, WI. The Menominee Nation and many allies, including local citizens, local governments, environmental organizations, and grassroots organizations, are opposed to the mine.

Learn more about the project from Menominee Tribal Organizer Guy Reiter and Dr. Al Gedicks, Executive Secretary, Natural Resources Protection Council.


Sunday, June 11, 2017 - 12:00pm - 6:00pm
City Park, Appleton

Juneteenth posterJuneteenth is the oldest national program commemorating the ending of slavery in the United States. We are delighted that the Fox Cities is home to such a memorable freedom program.

Join ESTHER and many other community organizations based in the Fox Cities and beyond in City Park on June 11 for presentations, music, food, community spirit! Perfect for all ages. Free!

  • Health, community information, retail booths
  • Food, clothing & jewelry vendors
  • Giveaways
  • Storytelling, arts & crafts, dancing
  • Balloon-twisting
  • Inflatables

More information at

Community Column: "Let's Fight Social Injustice in the Fox Cities"

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Bill Van Lopik, ESTHER OrganizerESTHER Organizer Bill Van Lopik has recently started a term as a Community Columnist for the Post-Crescent. In his inaugural column, which appeared on April 1 (no fooling!), he writes with passion and conviction about some “dominant narratives” that cause fear and suspicion and can blind us to the truth about our communities and our neighbors. He testifies to the power of a different approach, in which we work

… to build relationships among people from various ethnic backgrounds, economic status, race, cultures and religions. It is through these relationships that we understand that there are other stories, other realities and other narratives. It is easy to live in a bubble and only interact with people who look like us, act like us, talk like us and believe the same things we do. However, if we hope to build a community which values dignity and respect we are going to have to be a lot more curious and courageous about who we see as our neighbors.


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