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Advocacy

Religious Discrimination in Menasha? Respond Now!

Disappointed ESTHER and Sikh leaders after an attempt to meet with Menasha Mayor Don Merkes

September 17, 2013

The City of Menasha has assessed property taxes on the Fox Cities Sikh Temple on Midway Road. As a community of faith, the Temple is exempt from property taxes.

ESTHER and leaders of the Sikh community have been working quietly together for more than a year to persuade the City of Menasha that the taxes were imposed in error, and to have them rolled back. So far, the city has not found a way to rectify its error. Just today, the mayor refused to attend a meeting on the matter that had been confirmed as recently as last Friday.

Property taxes were levied on the Sikh Temple in error, and the City of Menasha is responsible for the error. The city can take action to fix it.

Please call Menasha Mayor Don Merkes's office right away (920-967-3600) to ask that this issue be resolved promptly and fairly.

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.

May 3rd & 4th: Leadership, powerfully impact your community!

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Want to learn how to make a big difference in your community?  Not sure where to start? Be part of this impactful and effective 2-day leadership training.

When: 5:00-9:00 PM on Friday, May 3rd and 8:30 AM-3:00 PM on Saturday, May 4th

Where: First Congregational UCC; 724 E South River St, Appleton

Cost: $25 (includes Friday dinner, Saturday breakfast and lunch)

See flyer for information on how to register.  Click here to download a copy of the flyer.

 

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.

League of Women Voters Endorses Treatment Alternatives

The Wisconsin League of Women Voters has endorsed a central aim of WISDOM’s 11X15 campaign—increased use of alternatives to incarceration for non-violent offenders. In a memo sent to LWV leaders state-wide on March 8, Executive Director Andrea Kaminski asks League members to contact their state Senators and Assembly Representatives to urge expansion of Treatment Alternatives and Diversion funding, instead of increased funding for jails and prisons.

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 (www.facebook.com/esther.foxvalleyand 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 prayforjusticeinwi.org), 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.

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