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Shackling of Pregnant Incarcerated Women

At ESTHER’s most recent Mental Health Task Force meeting, we were joined by two women who educated us on an issue that is currently affecting incarcerated pregnant women. 

One of the women who joined us was Felicia Turner-Walton, who is the CEO and Founder of Healing Our Hearts. This is a non-profit based out of Madison that provides support to those that have experienced loss. This organization is committed to providing an understanding of grief that is centered around black and brown communities. 

The issue they covered during our meeting was the injustice of shackling and how it affects incarcerated pregnant women. Prisons have historically been designed by men, for men. Inmate treatment has therefore not taken into account women’s specific needs. Pregnant inmates are thus shackled while receiving medical care because that is how all inmates are treated. Shackling is an inhumane and dangerous practice as it limits the medical care that can be provided due to the restraints and it puts more stress on the pregnant woman or birthing mother.

When I first learned of this practice during our meeting, I had a mixture of feelings. On one hand, I was shocked to learn about this inhumane practice. On the other hand, I was not surprised as prison systems have historically been created to control black and brown communities. These systems of control therefore do not take into account the specific indignities that pregnant women face and the different treatment they need to receive. 

 

Thoughts on “Standing Together, Speaking Out for MMIWG2S, Land & Water”

—By Rick Kitchen

“Standing Together, Speaking Out for MMIWG2S, Land & Water” is the name for our upcoming 3rd annual vigil in Houdini Plaza in downtown Appleton on February 14th. If you are interested in this hybrid (live and live-streamed) event, here is the ESTHER link: Standing Together, Speaking Out for MMIWG2S, Land & Water. The vigil is co-hosted by Kristin Welch’s Waking Women Healing Institute (WWHI) and ESTHER.

Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women, Girls, and 2 Spirits (MMIWG2S) is an epidemic across North America, which is known as Turtle Island to Indigenous people. Indigenous people want an end to molestation, rape, trafficking, and murder. American Indians and Alaskan Natives are 2.5x as likely to experience violent crimes and at least 2x more likely to experience rape or sexual assault crimes compared to all other races. In the United States and Canada, an average of 40% of the women who were victims of sex trafficking identified as American Indian or Alaskan Native. About 85% of Indigenous women experience violence in their lifetime and more than 55% of Indigenous women experience sexual violence in their lifetime.

WISDOM Welcomes new Community Organizer

WISDOM is excited to welcome a new member to their organization, Raabia Wudoch. She is a community organizer for WISDOM and will be serving the north-central area of Wisconsin. Wudoch holds a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology, a minor in Social Justice, and just earned her Master’s in Public Administration from UW Oshkosh.

When deciding on a master’s program, Wudoch wanted to be a public servant and work with a nonprofit organization. She is very passionate about social justice and has always been outspoken about various issues. With WISDOM, she will be able to utilize her passions and educational background, providing the organization with new perspectives and experiences. 

Wudoch is originally from Pakistan and is part of the Muslim community in Appleton. This faith perspective will not only widen WISDOM’s outreach, but it will create representation for the Muslim community. Wudoch states, “I’m really passionate about my community. Muslims are always in the back and their voices are often overlooked.” Having a person of color from a different faith background will help those people speak up and have their voices heard.

We are so excited to see what she accomplishes with WISDOM and will be here to provide any guidance that she needs.

 

Taking on Mass Incarceration in Wisconsin

Join the Transformational Justice Campaign leaders of EXPO and WISDOM for a 5-part Zoom series on mass incarceration in Wisconsin.

 

When: Thursday evenings, 6:30-8:00 p.m., January 27, February 3, 10, 17, 24

Register here: Taking on Mass Incarceration - Jan 27-Feb 24

 

In the series, we will learn from experts, including people directly impacted by Wisconsin’s criminal legal system. We will learn about many aspects of the system, including:

EXPO Starting a New Chapter in Oshkosh

EX-incarcerated People Organizing (EXPO), an affiliated partner of WISDOM and ESTHER, will be starting up a new chapter in Oshkosh. Marianne Oleson will be leading this startup and can see firsthand the kind of support the community needs.

EXPO is focused on ending mass incarceration and providing support to those re-entering the community. Oshkosh in particular has a need for this program as it has 5 prisons, which is very rare for a community of that population size.

Part of EXPO’s mission is not only to support those people as they come back to the community but to help them find resources and opportunities. Oleson states that “Temporary living placement for people re-entering the community was closed in October. Anyone coming out of prison right now in Winnebago county will be homeless.” Part of creating an equitable system is providing access to housing, education, healthcare, etc. so that individuals can successfully be rehabilitated and rejoin the community.

With the startup of this new chapter, Oleson wants to “show the community that we are more than our worst mistakes.” People who come out of prison become our friends, neighbors, and co-workers. Organizations like EXPO help change the stigma around incarcerated people and make the surrounding communities more accepting and understanding.

We are so excited to see the positive changes EXPO will make in Oshkosh and we will be helping and supporting them along the way.

EXPO will be holding their first meeting at the Most Blessed Sacrament Church, 449 High Avenue, Oshkosh, on Tuesday, February 1 at 6:30 PM.

If you have any questions regarding the Oshkosh EXPO chapter, please contact Marianne Oleson at marianne@expowisconsin.org.

Challenges of Finding Affordable Housing

The apartment with the bathroom sink in the hallway and the refrigerator in the living room was the final straw. My Dad said, "The rent and deposit are equal to a down payment on a house and the mortgage payments will be cheaper, too." And so we went looking for a house under $40,000.

My husband and I were both young and strong. We had experience with demolition, hard work and we had a friend who was a house inspector. We should have had an easy time.

There was the one with a basement wall on crutches. The one less than five feet from the railroad tracks. The one where a heavy smoker had left the walls brown and sticky.

We persisted. The realtor said, "This one has a note that the garage needs to be knocked down." We got there before the realtor. We said, “We can get that down in minutes."

She sighed, "That's the house."

At the next one I said, "How did that motorcycle get on a second floor balcony?"

Her reply? "The police were supposed to evict them."

When we found one that only needed a new roof and furnace, we thought it was perfect. A one and half bedroom house with five rooms. And when we talked to the neighbors we found that it had been rented to a family of six and the landlord kicked them out because he wanted to sell.

The three of us would be living there now except for the house that came up for auction when I was pregnant, which we grabbed while we could.

Joyce Frohn

Member of the Oshkosh ESTHER Task Force

Charter For Compassion

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ESTHER and the Charter for Compassion have recently joined in a partnership. The Charter for Compassion is a nonprofit organization founded in 2009, with a local chapter in Appleton. This organization has chapters in over 50 countries and continues to be an integral part in building community and human connection.

The Charter resonates closely with our values at ESTHER. We both have an interest in bringing communities together and promoting equity and justice. With these similar values, we know we will have a successful partnership into the future.

We are excited to continue expanding our community partnerships and learning from the leaders and members in those organizations.

Standing Tall for Justice

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A peace tree was commemorated on October 18, 2021, Indigenous People’s Day, to honor the Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women, Girls, and Two Spirits (MMIWG2S) of Wisconsin. Indigenous People’s Day celebrates Indigenous culture while also educating on the historical inaccuracies that have come along with Columbus Day. This event brought together many people from the Fox Valley and surrounding communities, showing support for the local Native communities of Wisconsin. The peace tree is a white pine from the Menominee Forest, generously donated by the Menominee people. This tree stands tall in our community and was planted adjacent to Ellen Kort Peace Park near the banks of the Fox River below downtown Appleton. This tree serves as a reminder of how we can better treat each other and the land.

The event was live-streamed and recorded. If you missed the live event, you can watch the recording on Facebook here.

The Woman’s Hour: The Great Fight to Win the Vote

By Penny Robinson

Her Voice Her Vote Our VictoryOn the evening of Thursday, August 25, The League of Women Voters of Appleton hosted keynote speaker Elaine Weiss, author of the highly acclaimed narrative history The Woman’s hour: The Great Fight to Win the Vote.

An accomplished storyteller, Ms. Weiss riveted the well-informed audience with details and photos, allowing them to feel that they almost were present. For three generations the suffragettes persisted, continuing to organize even after repeated failures and, for many years, lacking even the telephone (invented in 1876).

The campaign began with the 1848 Seneca Falls convention, at which Frederick Douglass was the only man to express support. Through a world pandemic, a civil and world war, numerous failed state campaigns, court battles and petitions to Congress, it culminated in marches and protests (which resulted in some arrests, imprisonment, and force-feeding), that led to the Nineteenth Amendment:

An Interview with K of Taperz Barber Shop

By Jill Smith

Please meet Cainan Davenport, otherwise known as K the Barber. He and his friend Michael Linwood own Taperz, a family-oriented barber shop located almost on the corner of College Avenue and Richmond Street in Appleton. K had some free time, which is rare fpr such a busy man, and gave me a few minutes so I could ask him about his thriving business and about how he uses his business to serve our community.

How long have you and your friend, Wood, owned Taperz barbershop? What kind of services do you offer there?

We’ve been in business for a little over three years. Basically, we cut all races, ethnicity, and genders. We have created a comfortable “old school” environment where our customers can come to talk, laugh and get a great haircut.

We are open Tuesday through Saturday from 10-6. Our busiest time of day is every day, all day. Every time we are in the shop, we are pretty much busy.

You not only run a successful business but you use your space to invite neighbors to the shop on Sunday afternoons to discuss issues and just be together. Can you talk a little bit more about that?

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