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Why Social Justice Work?

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ESTHER BlogThe question was asked of me, “Why do I involve myself doing justice work?” I think the beginning of my addressing systemic causes of injustices began when I found ESTHER – or was it ESTHER finding me? Even before ESTHER, values that formed me within led to my belief that my dignity can never be fully realized until the dignity of all including creation is respected and honored as well. Where did that come from? I wonder if it was not so much anything that I was taught but rather something that I caught.

Madison Action Day 2021 - Let Your Voice Be Heard!

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Thursday, April 15, 2021 - 10:00am - 3:00pm
Zoom Meeting

LET YOUR VOICE BE HEARD - April 15, 2021

More than 60 people from ESTHER will be participating in this year’s Madison Action Day. If you missed the registration deadline, you can still view the morning plenary session streaming live on WISDOM's Facebook page:

The plenary session, to be held from 10 am to 12 noon, will be moderated by Joy Cardin (formerly of Wisconsin Public Radio).  It will include information, inspiration and interaction – a chance to think and talk with other ESTHER and WISDOM members about values and goals.

A book has been compiled covering the themes for the day, has been prepared. You can download your copy here or through the ‘Attachments’ link below.

In the afternoon, participants will meet with their state Senators and Assembly Representatives, or their representatives. 

Registrations closed at the end of the day Tuesday, April 13.

Guns, Democracy, and the Insurrectionist Idea: Unpacking the Chaos at the Capitol

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Tuesday, February 23, 2021 - 6:00pm - 7:00pm

WAVE - Wisconsin Anti Violence EffortThe WAVE (Wisconsin Anti Violence Effort) Action Team is hosting Joshua Horwitz, J.D., Executive Director of the Educational Fund to Stop Gun Violence, in a Zoom presentation connecting gun violence to the January attack on the U.S. Capitol.

Guns, Democracy, and the Insurrectionist Idea book coverIn the wake of that attack and the ongoing threat from insurrectionists, Josh will explain the connections between the gun lobby and the insurrectionist idea—a topic he has been exploring since co-authoring the 2009 book Guns, Democracy and the Insurrectionist Idea.

Over the past few days, the impeachment trial has brought those harrowing scenes from the Capitol before us again, leaving us wondering, “How did this happen? How can we make sure it never happens again?” Join us for this important discussion.

What: Guns, Democracy, and the Insurrectionist Idea: Unpacking the Chaos at the Capitol
When: Tuesday, February 23, 2021, at 6:00 pm - 7:00 pm CST
Where: Zoom (Sign up, and we'll send you the login information the day of the presentation.)

What’s In the Governor’s Budget? - WISDOM Network School of Democracy

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WISDOM School of Democracy: Because Information is PowerThe next session in the WISDOM School of Democracy is entitled “What's In the Governors’ Budget? A Review of WISDOM’s Priorities.”  The presentation will cover all the areas in the Governor’s budget that correspond with issues of concern to the WISDOM network. (Review WISDOM’s budget positions here.)

Saturday, February 20
9:00 am 

Click here to register:  Feb 20 State Budget Webinar 9 am
You will get an email with a link to join the Webinar on Saturday.

The webinar will identify and discuss …

  • things proposed by the Governor that match WISDOM’s priorities and need to be supported.
  • things that are missing and need to be added by the legislature.
  • things that shouldn’t be included and need to be taken out by the legislature.

This webinar is a part of the WISDOM network’s multi-part School of Democracy, to prepare network leaders to work for the inclusion of progressive values in Wisconsin’s 2021-2023 Biennial Budget. (ESTHER is a member of the WISDOM network.)

Memorial for COVID Victims in Wisconsin Prisons

Tuesday, January 19, 2021 - 5:30pm
State Prisons Around Wisconsin

For incarcerated lives lost to COVID Candlelight VigilPresident-elect Biden has asked the nation to mark a national COVID victims memorial on the eve of the Inauguration. See here for more about the memorial. WISDOM and EXPO leaders will lead Memorial Services in front of seven of the 14 Wisconsin prisons in which men and women have died of the virus. Prisons at which vigils will be held are listed below.

Details for all locations are the same:

Tuesday, January 19
5:30 pm
Masks are required and social distancing will be honored

Please bring your own candle.

Please try to arrive by 5:15.

The memorial services will be brief and prayerful.

WISDOM State Budget Webinar

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Tuesday, January 12, 2021 - 5:00pm - 6:00pm
Zoom Meeting


The state budget is the one significant piece of legislation that absolutely must be passed by the State Legislature and the Governor, no matter how deadlocked they are about everything else. The budget decides how much money is available for schools, public transportation, prisons, alternatives to prison, transitional jobs, health care, etc. for the next two years.

You are invited to join us for a Webinar about the 2021-23 Wisconsin State Budget process, especially about the ways that ordinary people can have an influence on how our tax dollars are invested.

Tuesday, January 12
5:00 to 6:00 pm

To sign up, click on this link: State Budget Webinar
Fill out the form, and you should get a return email from "WISDOM Host" that will include a link to join the Zoom call at 5 pm.

Scores of WISDOM people participated in the Governor's Listening Sessions back in December. This webinar is the next step. There will be more, leading up to our Madison Action Day on April 15.

Last week, we all saw the wrong way for people to try to make their voices heard. This week, we'll be talking about the right way!

A Seat at the Table of Power

This post was submitted by Penny Robinson

ESTHER encourages an African American to apply for appointment to the Grand Chute Police and Fire Commission

Background of racist social-media posts by police officer

Last summer ESTHER Organizer Bill Van Lopik was informed that Grand Chute Police Officer Laluzerne had posted racist comments on social media. Most of the posts were from high school, but a more recent one referred to Boogaloo, a white supremacist movement.

After connecting with a Black Lives Matter group, Bill and others from ESTHER joined a protest, at which Grand Chute Police Chief Greg Peterson agreed to meet with ESTHER President Gary Crevier. News surfaced that the department was conducting a thorough investigation of Laluzerne. Some wondered if an outside, unbiased individual or group should conduct such investigations. The officer was thoroughly questioned and “put on notice,” but was not disciplined or fired.1

Candlelight Vigil: COVID-19 Deaths in Wisconsin Prisons

Monday, December 21, 2020 - 6:00pm - 6:30pm
Governor’s Mansion, 99 Cambridge Rd, Madison


Please join us on December 21 at 6:00 pm in Madison for a Candlelight Vigil to remember those who have died of COVID-19 in our state prisons.

We know that at least 19 people have died in Wisconsin prisons since the pandemic began. We believe there are probably more. We know that, as of this week, almost HALF of all people in prison have tested positive for COVID-19, in contrast to less than 10% of the overall population. We have no way of knowing how many of them have become seriously ill. We also know that hundreds of corrections workers have contracted the virus. Meanwhile, the Governor has not acted to offer clemency, to commute sentences or to release very low-risk people – so that others might have a chance to socially distance – even though his power to do so is clear.

December 21 is the longest night of the year. Let us gather to pray and to stand in solidarity with our brothers and sisters in prison. If you cannot join us, please take a moment at 6 pm Monday to remember those who have died, those who are sick, and those who have the power and the responsibility to care for the people in our prisons.

Governor’s Budget Listening Session

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Wednesday, December 16, 2020 - 6:00pm
Zoom Meeting

Budget Listening Session on Our Schools and Education

Governor Evers is holding virtual listening sessions as he prepares his 2021-23 State Budget proposal.  Wisconsinites are encouraged to offer their thoughts and recommendations for the Governor to consider. Find more information on these listening session, including registration links, here.

Advance registration (available one week before the sesson date) is required in order to speak at the session. 

You can submit written comments or suggestions here.

The sessions are also being live-streamed on Wis-Eye here, and recorded for watching later.

Governor’s Budget Listening Session

Tuesday, December 8, 2020 - 6:00pm
Zoom Meeting

Budget Listening Session on Criminal Justice Reform

Governor Evers is holding virtual listening sessions as he prepares his 2021-23 State Budget proposal.  Wisconsinites are encouraged to offer their thoughts and recommendations for the Governor to consider.

To be allowed to participate, you need to register. You can do so at the Governor's website here. You can watch the live-stream on Wis-Eye here.

You can also submit written comments or suggestions here.

There will be a WISDOM Zoom meeting on December 8 at 5:00 pm (the hour before the Governor’s “Criminal Justice” listening session), specifically to talk about WISDOM’s priorities for criminal justice reform in the coming state budget. If you would like to join that Zoom in order to prepare for the Listening Session, please email to receive the link. Among other things, WISDOM wants the Governor to:

  • keep his campaign promise to increase Treatment Alternatives and Diversions (TAD) funding by $15 million per year
  • pledge that there will be no money for new prisons or for prison expansions
  • plan for the closing of the Green Bay Correctional Institution and redirect that money to a Justice Reinvestment Fund that can go to programs that benefit the people and communities that have been most badly hurt by mass incarceration.
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