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

Summer of Solidarity Training Session from WISDOM & EXPO

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Date: 
Saturday, July 25, 2020 - 10:00am - 12:00pm
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Saturday, August 1, 2020 - 10:00am - 12:00pm
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Saturday, August 8, 2020 - 10:00am - 12:00pm
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Saturday, August 15, 2020 - 10:00am - 12:00pm
Date: 
Saturday, August 22, 2020 - 10:00am - 12:00pm
Location: 
Zoom Webinar

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

Tentative schedule of topics:

  • 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, contact WISDOM (wisdomforjustice@gmail.com) for information about registering for the Zoom presentation.

Presentations are being recorded, and will be available at: https://www.rocwisconsin.org/summer-of-solidarity-training-series/

Summer of Solidarity Training Session: Transportation

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Date: 
Saturday, July 11, 2020 - 10:00am - 12:00pm
Location: 
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 (wisdomforjustice@gmail.com) for information about registering for the Zoom presentations.

Presentations are being recorded, and will be available at: https://www.rocwisconsin.org/summer-of-solidarity-training-series/

Drive to Decarcerate - Caravans to Madison

Date: 
Thursday, June 18, 2020 - 12:00pm
Location: 
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.

“Our Community: Antidote to Crisis” Video Now Available

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Our Community Video Thumbnail (click to play)On Monday, April 27, ESTHER presented an online community event, ”Our Community: Antidote to Crisis,” using the online Zoom platform. Over 130 people registered to participate, a terrific turnout.

If you missed the original program, or if you saw it live and would like to revisit parts or all of the evening, you’ll be glad to know that a video recording of the event is now available.

During the event, local faith and spiritual leaders lifted up the value of our connections to each other and highlighted sources of hope to draw from in navigating these difficult days of COVID-19 and the aftermath. In addition, talented local musicians offered uplifting and encouraging and encouraging songs. All together, the hour-long program offered a great experience in building community, sharing hope, and standing for justice.

Help Casa Esther Support Immigrants and Their Families

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The Federal government’s distribution of funds under the C.A.R.E.S. Act—in the form of stimulus checks, unemployment benefits, and other assistance—provides a financial lifeline for many, but not all, who have been hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic.

One group of people who need this assistance desperately are not eligible for Federal COVID-19 help. These immigrants live in our communities, contribute to the economy, and pay taxes. These men and women work on dairy farms, in meat-packing plants and cheese factories, in restaurants and cleaning services, in non-profits and small businesses through the Fox Valley.

Casa Esther, a Catholic Worker House in Omro, and an ESTHER member, was established in 2010. It works with a large network of Spanish-speaking people, providing support, education, and financial assistance in the Oshkosh-Omro area. In the last few weeks, using funds contributed to it by concerned Fox Valley residents, it has been able to distribute over $4,500 to people in need and to provide needed information and referrals to other agencies in the Fox Valley.

Contributions in support of this project may be sent directly to Casa Esther at 320 N Webster Ave, Omro 54963. Or make your donation by visiting Casa Esther’s Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/CasaEstherOmro.

How Highway Expansions Undermine Public Transit, Walking and Biking

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Date: 
Thursday, May 28, 2020 - 6:30pm - 8:00pm
Location: 
Zoom Webinar

Bus seats seen from floor levelSponsored by Coalition for More Responsible Transportation in Wisconsin.

Speakers include Beth Osborne from Transportation for America and Dennis Grzezinski on highway expansion and transit issues in LaCrosse.

Policymakers often present costly highway expansions as a critical solution to gridlocked traffic and unsafe roadways. But decades of evidence show that building bigger roads makes congestion worse. We also know that highway expansions negatively impact public health and safety, disproportionately harm low-income and minority communities, and undermine alternative forms of transportation in a variety of ways. Learn from expert presenters why bigger, wider roads won’t solve Wisconsin’s transportation problems.

RSVP here for Zoom link: https://forms.gle/MXo9uLByjrr3fUQX8

Read more about the event on Facebook here: https://www.facebook.com/events/173240474022207/

Seeding Our Future: MMIW Solutions for Wisconsin

Posted in
Date: 
Monday, May 18, 2020 - 3:00pm
Location: 
Zoom Webinar

This series of webinars is dedicated to finding solutions for missing and murdered indigenous women within Wisconsin through indigenous-led grassroots movements and collaboration across systems.

The same program will be offered at 3 different times, limited to 100 participants each:

Date  Registration Link
Monday, May 18, 3:00 pm https://bit.ly/2KRwomm
Friday, May 22, 6:00 pm https://bit.ly/2Sslis3
Saturday, May 23, 2:00 pm https://bit.ly/3f4XlRv

Topics discussed:

  • Strategic plan for MMIW-WI and feedback from tribal communities
  • Indigenous-led data
  • Toolkits for local efforts

Panelists:

  • Chris McKinney, Director of Government Affairs, Wisconsin Department of Justice
  • Pam Johnson, AIAA (American Indians Against Abuse)
  • Shira Phelps, Crime Victim Services, Wisconsin Department of Justice
  • Kristin Welch, MMIW Women's Leadership Cohort - Menīkānaehkem
  • Dr. Joseph Robertson, Mato Ohitika Analytics

Contact kwelch@menomineerebuilders.org with questions or concerns.

Become a Monthly Sustainer: Our Work Takes Time …

Bringing justice and equi­ty to our society will not happen overnight, or even in a year or two.

We love “quick wins” as much as anyone … but in our work toward systemic change, they are few and far between.

For example, Oshkosh Common Council’s February 2020 decision to fund free busing for Oshkosh Public School students came about only after a sustained campaign over more than four years by ESTHER Oshkosh and other groups. Today, the COVID-19 pandemic is bringing the fault-lines in our society into even sharper relief, and it seems the globe will be dealing with the virus’s effects for years.

ESTHER has shown that it has the ability, working within networks and alongside partners, to bring about important, needed change. It is even more important in these times for us to be able to main­tain our effort over the long haul. That is why we need a de­pen­dable fi­nan­cial base.

Monthly Sustain­ers pro­vide fund­ing we can count on for the long run … through automatic month­ly con­tri­bu­tions (of $10 or more) from their check­ing or savings account.

We invite you to become a Monthly Sustainer of ESTHER. Just download this form, fill it out, and mail it to ESTHER, PO Box 784, Neenah, WI 54957.

Thank you!

Sacred/Scared

The ESTHER board gathered on March 12 for what will probably be its last in-person meeting for several months. These meetings always start with an opening reflection intended to help members keep their focus on ESTHER’s larger purpose and not get lost in “administrivia.” We are pleased to share with you now what ESTHER President Gary Crevier shared with the board at that time. We hope it may be of help to you in these times as chaos spreads and the temptation to worry climbs.

When our approach to life comes from an attitude of being scared, without hope, we fail to see the sacredness of creation and everything in the cosmos. That includes you and me.

Notice that the only difference between the words sacred and scared is the interchanged positions of the letters c and a, sacred/scared.

I would suggest that a in the word sacred stands for awesomeness, awareness, acceptance and art-filled presence in all of us, creation, the cosmos; and the c in the word scared stands for cowardliness, contempt and a cynical outlook on life.

So what if now, given the presence of the COVID-19 illness, we “flip the script,” so to speak, and live our lives more as sacred and filled with hope, instead of being scared? Let’s do what we can to confront this crisis, like self-distancing, touching of elbows rather than shaking of hands, sneezing into our elbows or simply avoiding crowds. Regardless of the outcome, it's the right thing to do.

May you be richly blessed in patience and hope during these uncertain times.

Your Contribution Helps Us Share Hope

Optimism is the belief that things will get better. Hope is the belief that if we work hard enough together, we can make things better!”

—Rabbi Jonathan Sacks

These words, highlighting the difference between optimism and hope, can be important touchstones for us in this time of pandemic. The number of those infected and killed by COVID-19 continues to grow. The adverse economic impacts mount. Meanwhile, the inequality and division in our nation grows ever greater.

Faced with these facts, we’ve pretty much set aside any optimism we may have had initially. But we are still filled with hope. In fact, sharing hope, along with building community and standing for justice, are central to ESTHER’s mission. Read more to learn about our work, and how your support can help us share hope….

Help Us Share Hope