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

World Hijab Day Events in the Fox Cities

Woman in hijabTo mark World Hijab Day in the Fox Valley, a series of events are being held in the month of February:

February 1 in Oshkosh and Neenah, and on Facebook Live:

Pick up your hijab at one of three Oshkosh or Neenah locations, then view the Facebook Live stream from 6:30-8:30 pm

February 11 at the Appleton Public Library

1:00-3:00 pm - Hijab Celebration (meeting rooms A/B/C). Learn how to wear hijab and why it is an important tradition for Muslim women. There will be time to talk, ask questions, enjoy amazing free food! Meet new friends and celebrate diversity in our community!

World Interfaith Harmony Week Celebration 2017

World Interfaith Harmony Week Celebration

February 2, 2017, 7:00-8:30 PM
St. Mark’s Evangelical Lutheran Church
140 S. Green Bay Road, Neenah, WI

Plate of bread being passedCome explore the dimensions of compassion in an innovative event that combines music, discussion and breaking bread together.  Join friends, neighbors and family in this promotion of harmony and tolerance among all religions, faiths and beliefs. Join the thousands of people around the world who accept the challenge to kindle compassion and extend kindness, respect and civility to everyone in our community. The need for people to come together has never been greater.

Martin Luther King, Jr., Events in the Fox Valley

Fox Cities MLK Day LogoLeonard Pitts, Jr.In Appleton, the Martin Luther King, Jr., Day celebration will be held on Monday, January 16, at the Lawrence Memorial Chapel starting at 6:30 pm. Leonard Pitts, syndicated columnist with the Miami Herald will give the keynote address, speaking on “Refusing to be a Bystander to Racism and Injustice.” For more information, visit the Fox Cities MLK Day Facebook page.

Dr. Vicki CrawfordIn Oshkosh, the 22nd annual MLK Day celebration will be held at the UW-Oshkosh Alumni Welcome and Conference Center, 625 Pearl Avenue, from 4:00-6:00 pm. The event theme is “The Dream: The Legacy Through the Eyes of Our Youth,” with special performances by Liamani Segura, age 7, from Racine, and Pe’Tehn Raighn-Kem Jackson, age 5, from Chicago. The keynote speaker will by Dr. Vicki Crawford, director of the Morehouse College Martin Luther King Jr. Collection. The attached flyer provides more information about the event.

An Evening of Wine, Cheese, Justice and Jazz

ESTHER invites you to an evening of

Wine, Cheese, Justice & Jazz

Friday, January 13, 2017, 6:30 pm
Fox Valley Unitarian Universalist Fellowship, 2600 Philip Ln, Appleton

Tickets: $15 (please register in advance)

Proceeds benefit ESTHER’s work in building community, sharing hope, and standing for justice in Wisconsin’s Fox Valley region.

Music by Noah Harmon and Friends, including ESTHER President Fr. Joe on the reeds.

Admission includes a generous portion of jazz, two drinks and a selection of cheeses and desserts.

Get Ticket(s)

Or call the ESTHER office at 920-843-8083 to reserve your place.


Special thanks to the Fox Valley Unitarian Universalist Fellowship, an ESTHER member congregation, for hosting this event.

ESTHER Publishes Statement of Witness

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Statement As PublishedThis Is a Time that Tries Our Souls….

In the light of concerns about the climate of religious and racial prejudice and harrassment growing out of the Presidential election, the ESTHER Leadership Board, with support from ESTHER members and friends, adopted and published a statement of witness in the Appleton Post-Crescent on Sunday, December 4, 2016. The statement lifts up ESTHER’s hallmark values of inclusiveness, neighborliness, compassion, fair treatment, commitment to community, and the practice of hope.

Thank you to the 207 members and friends of ESTHER who added their names and provided the financial support to make publication possible. Click on the image to read the statement as published.

ESTHER's 12th Annual Banquet - A Great Success

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Guests at 2016 BanquetMore than 200 people attended ESTHER’s 12th annual banquet on Sunday evening, November 13, making the event one of the largest in ESTHER history. Attendees included elected officials, faith leaders, community award recipients and their guests, WISDOM and ESTHER staff, and ESTHER members and friends from throughout the Fox Valley. At a time of great uncertainty and change in our nation and state, it was good to be together. It was also good to recommit ourselves to the values and hopes we share as we work together for a better future.

Support ESTHER through Alternative Gifts

package with red bowAre you a person who’s “hard to buy for” at holiday time or on birthdays or other special occasions? You already have all the shirts, ties, scarves, slippers, motorized shoe polishers or battery-powered wine openers you need. And you hate fruitcake.

More and more, people are turning to “alternative gifts” in situations like these.

ESTHER would love to be the recipient of alternative gifts made in your honor.

Getting Smart on Crime

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Learn about evidence-based practices in criminal justice.

Judge John Des JardinsMonday, December 5, 2016, 6:00 pm
Free admission; open to the public
St. Mark's Lutheran Church
140 South Green Bay Road
Neenah, WI

Come hear Circuit Court Judge John Des Jardins and Criminal Justice Treatment Services Director Bernie Vetrone explain Outagamie County’s Smart on Crime Initiative, one of only 25 such projects in the nation.

2016 Community Leader Award: Norys Piña

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Norys Pina

ESTHER awards its 2016 Community Award for an individual to Norys Piña for her work to improve the quality of life for immigrants throughout our community. She passionately educates immigrants about their rights and has formed a group, Unidos por un Futuro Mejor, to work for systemic change in our community, state, and nation. Her passion rises from her own story and that of those around her.

Norys advocated for driver’s cards for undocumented immigrants and quickly drew together funding and people to fill three buses to participate in a statewide “A Day Without Latinos” demonstration at the state capitol on February 18, 2016. She has been active in ESTHER’s Latino Simulations and Voices of Hope theatre productions. Most recently, Norys has organized a community-wide Latino Voter Engagement campaign.

When asked what sustains her work in ensuring rights for immigrants, Norys says, “I find hope and strength to keep fighting in the faces of my kids, in the stories of my friends, in the lives of all good people who deserve the opportunity to use their full potential, in the humanity in each of us crying out for equity. Just the thought of not fighting for our rights and keep silent scares me more than anything else.”

2016 Community Leader Award: Fit Oshkosh, Inc.

Fit Oshkosh Logo

In its 2016 Community Award for organizations, ESTHER honors the work of Fit Oshkosh, Inc., led by Co-Founder and Executive Director Tracey Robertson. Fit’s mission is to increase the racial literacy of the residents of Winnebago County, Wisconsin, and beyond through workshops, training, consulting, advocacy and research. A few highlights of the work of Fit Oshkosh include hosting Color-Brave films and book-reads like the “I’m Not Racist. Am I?” documentary and Ta-Nehisi Coates’ book Between the World and Me. Fit has quickly become the resource for anti-racism work in the Valley and beyond.

Its Color-Brave Lending Library has more than 150 free games, books and movies for both kids and adults that deepen insights on race. Since its 2014 inception, Fit Oshkosh has trained nearly 3,000 people in settings including local government, educational institutions, faith groups, and non- and for-profit businesses. ESTHER thanks Fit Oshkosh Co-Founder and Executive Director Tracey Robertson, its program supporters, and its trained volunteers for their invaluable efforts in making our community a place where race matters to all citizens and where all people—no matter what their racial identity—truly “Fit” in.

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