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Celebrating ten years of building community, sharing hope, and standing for justice

Latino Simulation, Martin Luther King Day, Saint Norbert College

On January 20, in honor of Martin Luther King Day, Saint Norbert College hosted a presentation of “In Our Shoes,” the Latino Similation developed by ESTHER with support from ThedaCare’s Community Health Action Team. More than 50 people took part in the experience. Click below to see what happened.

Video of MLK Day Latino Simulation at Saint Norbert College

A big “Thank You!” to the College for hosting the simulation, and to its Communications Office for producing the video and allowing us to share it with you.

Latino Simulations Kick Off in the Fox Valley

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The Walk In Our Shoes Latino simulation experience is designed to help participants begin to understand what it might be like to live as a typical Latino in our community. It is a simulation, not a game. The object is to sensitize participants to the realities faced by area Latinos.

The event is free and open to the public, but space is limited. Registration is required; see below about how to RSVP.

This simulation was developed through the support and efforts of ThedaCare’s Community Health Action Team (CHAT), ESTHER, and dedicated individuals in our community.

RSVPs are required in advance.  To ensure your spot in the simulation, please send your name and the date you plan to attend to

Thursday, November 21st, 6:00-9:00 pm
St. Therese Catholic Church
213 E. Wisconsin Ave., Appleton

To download a flyer, CLICK HERE!

Walking the Walk: Acting to Meet Our Common Challenges

2012 Interfaith Gathering“Walking the Walk” is the theme of the 2013 Interfaith Gathering being hosted by the Fox Valley Islamic Society on September 8. Everyone interested in interfaith dialogue and cooperation is invited to attend. The gathering will be held under a large tent on the grounds of the Mosque in Neenah, starting at 3:00 p.m., and will conclude with a meal prepared by members of the Islamic Society.

In extending the invitation, Mohammad Rashid, president of the Islamic Society, expressed his hope that the gathering would “encourage dialogue and promote understanding among the people of various faiths in our community. This will then allow us to work together for the common good of our community.”

2012 Interfaith GatheringIn addition to the experience of learning and interacting with people from many different faith comminities, you can also look forward to great fellowship and spectacularly good food.

Please help spread the invitation by downloading and sharing the flyer with your family and friends.

Place: Fox Valley Islamic Society, 103 Kappell Dr., Neenah
Date: Sunday, September 8, 2013
Time: 3:00 PM

RSVP Appreciated: (920) 809-5333 or (920) 749-0311

Latino Simulation Ready For Prime Time

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ShoesOur Latino simulation, Walk in Our Shoes: Understanding the Latino Experience, is now ready for prime time! The three-hour simulation gives participants an opportunity to learn first-hand about the problems and obstacles faced by Latino immigrants in our community—problems like getting jobs, entering school or obtaining health care. Participants in the trial run of the simulation in July found it a very moving and educational experience. Now you can schedule the simulation for your organization.  To do so, contact Penny Robinson at

Immigration Reform: Let’s Make It Happen

Latina mother holding childESTHER’s immigration task force has been calling for several years for immigration policy that is consistent with our faith values, keeps families together, provides a pathway to citizenship for immigrants already here, and expands legal avenues for workers to enter the U.S. Now that an immigration reform bill has been introduced in the Senate, it’s time to get behind the effort to pass it and then to implement it in a humane way. Humane immigration reform has many enemies, and this is no time for us to be complacent.

Click here to fill out a postcard to be sent to your member of Congress.

Read More (below) to learn how you can help.

CJCC Endorses TAD

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Office of Justice Assistance LogoActing in early May, the Criminal Justice Coordinating Council of Wisconsin (CJCC) passed a resolution supporting the expansion of Treatment Alternatives and Diversion (TAD) programs as good policy and a good investment. It was the first policy recommendation the 20-member council has made since Gov. Walker created it in 2012. Expansion of TAD programs is a key goal of the 11X15 Campaign being promoted by ESTHER and other WISDOM affiliates.

Immigration Lawyers to share impact of reform with farmers / farmworkers

ESTHER is hosting Grzeca Law Group in two presentations on Sunday, June 23rd.  Starting at 10:30 we will meet with farm owners and supervisors to discuss and share the impact of legislation on employment for dairy and agricuture businesses.  At Noon a presentation will be held in Spanish for farm workers to share and answer questions about what is being proposed for immigration reform and how it will impact immigrant workers in the dairy and agriculture industry.

Below is the flyer for each of the events.  Click here to download the Farmer/English flyer and the Farmworker/Spanish flyer.

Walk in Our Shoes: Latino Simulation Coming this Fall

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footprintsThe Fox Valley’s 20,000 Latinos live among us, but we do not really know them. As our ancestors did, they have come to make a better life for themselves and their children. But their efforts are complicated by a restrictive and politicized immigration system. ESTHER’s up-coming Latino Simulation will give participants a chance to deepen their understanding of the problems that our Latino neighbors face: finding jobs and transportation, obtaining health care, keeping their documentation up-to-date or living without it, and trying to understand a strange language and culture.


Wisconsin leads nation in black male incarceration rates

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Shocking facts released in new study on Wisconsin's mass incarceration


Wisconsin has the highest black male incarceration rate in the United States, according to the 2010 decennial census. The rate (1 out of 8 African American men ages 18-64 were in state prisons and local jails in April 2010) is nearly double that of the nation as a whole and 32% higher than the next worst state (Oklahoma). The University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee Employment and Training Institute released a new study on Wisconsin’s Mass Incarceration of African American Males: Workforce Challenges for 2013.

The prison population in Wisconsin has more than tripled since 1990, fueled by increased government funding for drug enforcement (rather than treatment) and prison construction, three-strike rules, mandatory minimum sentence laws, truth-in-sentencing replacing judicial discretion in setting punishments, concentrated policing in minority communities, and state incarceration for minor probation and supervision violations.  Particularly impacted were African American males, with the 2010 U.S. Census showing Wisconsin having the highest black male incarceration rate in the nation. In Milwaukee County over half of African American men in their 30s have served time in state prison.


Link to one page executive summary

Link to full report


Inspiration Marks Madison Action Day 2013

Madison Action Day Podium on Capitol StapeMore than 900 People of Faith United for Justice from all around Wisconsin – including 80 from the ESTHER – traveled to Madison on March 14 to bear witness to the importance of social justice and to ask our legislators to support 1) funding for treatment instead of prison (11x15); 2) public transit; and 3) accepting federal funds to expand Medicare.

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