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

Black History Month: Appleton Area School District

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Date: 
Monday, February 1, 2021 - 5:00pm - 6:00pm
Location: 
Zoom Meeting

appleton area school district logoCelebrate Black History

Appleton Area School District Black Student Union presents:

2021 Black History Month Celebration

The opening event, offered on Zoom, introduces Black History Month and features presentations and performances by AASD students and administrators, Appleton Mayor Jake Woodford and St. Louis singer LaToya Wilson.

Additional information available at the event Facebook page: www.facebook.com/events/941245783285549

To register use this link: 
  https://zoom.us/webinar/register/WN__0OY_tTmR4iqlZ8aFzHvaw

Black History Month: UW-Oshkosh

The African American Studies program at US-Oshkosh is offering a full slate of Black History month events for 2021, both in-person on campus and virtually through Zoom or other online platforms.

“Be What Matters” is this year’s theme, and there’s at least one event on every day of February … things to think about, watch, listen to, sing in, taste, and more.

Full schedule at uwosh.edu/africanamericanstudies/bhm/.

Help spread the word: download and share the attached poster.

Policing and Our Future: 3-Part Series

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Date: 
Thursday, February 4, 2021 - 9:00am - 11:00am
Date: 
Thursday, February 18, 2021 - 9:00am - 11:00am
Date: 
Thursday, March 4, 2021 - 9:00am - 11:00am
Location: 
Zoom Webinar

To Protect and Serve? 

Imagine Fox CitiesFox Valley Technical CollegeA three-part series examining the history of policing, its current challenges, and strategies to create a future in which all in the Fox Cities feel they can rely on the men and women in blue.

Sponsored by Imagine Fox Cities and presented by Fox Valley Technical College

No charge to attend. Advance registration required.

REGISTER FOR SESSION 1 HERE

(Times for Sessions 2 and 3, on February 18 and March 4, are still being determined)

Featured Speaker: Dr. Theodore Darden

Demolishing the School-to-Prison Pipeline in Wisconsin

Date: 
Wednesday, February 10, 2021 - 6:30pm - 8:00pm
Location: 
Zoom Meeting

WISDOM

How do we end mass incarceration in Wisconsin?

By cutting off its food source: juveniles!

As we prepare to elect the next State School Superintendent, please join us for a timely discussion. 

Wednesday, February 10
6:30-8:00 PM
On Zoom: Click here to REGISTER

We will cover:

  • What is the school to prison pipeline?
  • How do we most effectively dismantle it?
  • How do we as parents, educators and beloved-community members protect our children from entering a system that turns into a life sentence?

Introduction to WISDOM

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Date: 
Thursday, February 18, 2021 - 6:30pm - 8:00pm
Location: 
Zoom Meeting

WISDOM logoESTHER main logoThe WISDOM network, to which ESTHER belongs, is offering this overview and orientation for people who have recently become active with a WISDOM affiliate or who would like to know more about current priorities, programs and projects.

The program will discuss what community organizing in the WISDOM network is all about, including the “Attitudes and Disciplines of Organizing.” WISDOM’s issues will be presented, including how WISDOM tries to make a difference in the public arena. There will be an explanation of how the various affiliates and organizations in the network fit together with WISDOM and Gamaliel. Most of all, we’ll talk about why this work is important – and there will be time in groups for new members to talk about why they want to be involved in it.

At the end, there will be break-out groups for local organizations. Participating organizations (including ESTHER) will have at least one officer or organizer on the Zoom, to help newer folks understand what’s happening locally.

The event is free of charge. Register in advance at this link.

ESTHER Yearbook Cover: The Rest of the Story

Roger Kanitz, whose painting “Loving Hearts Soar” graces the cover of ESTHER’s 2021 Yearbook, shares this explanation of how the image came to be.

Loving Hearts SoarLast fall, ESTHER board member and banquet committee member Sara Companik approached me about developing a painting for the cover of ESTHER’s 2021 Year Book. Her challenge for me was to create an image to support the selected theme of “Voices for Justice”.

This proved to be a great challenge! I found it hard to convey in a single image all of the great work ESTHER does to promote justice in our community. Symbolically I wanted to interweave the image with the ESTHER logo itself. The final result is entitled “Loving Hearts Soar.”

New Book: A Spirituality for Doing Justice

WISDOM

David Liners, WISDOM organizer, recommends this new book on the spirituality of community organizing.

Rev. Dennis Jacobsen, one of the founders of MICAH and WISDOM, and long-time pastor of Incarnation Lutheran Church in Milwaukee, has written a wonderful new book, called A Spirituality for Doing Justice: Reflections for Congregation-based Organizers (Fortress Press, 2021). In just a few pages, Dennis Jacobsen draws us into a world of graceful art, of brutal inner-city realities and the Children of God who battle them, of majestic nature, of family, Church, politics, and the inscrutable God who calls us deeper into mystery through all of it. Jacobsen enters each of these realms with humility and a sense of awe, and he models a deep spirituality that is transcendent, incarnational, and deeply authentic.

The book is beautifully written, and immensely practical for those of us who are striving to nurture a “spirituality for doing justice.”

The book can be ordered from your favorite bookstore. Or, you can order it on-line from Barnes & Noble, Amazon, Better World Books, ThriftBooks, AbeBooks, etc.

The Fragility of Democracy

This post was written by ESTHER organizer Bill Van Lopik and ESTHER president Gary Crevier.

On Wednesday afternoon, 1/6/21, we watched with shock and sadness the unfolding events from our nation’s Capital, events that reflected the fragile nature of our democracy. We saw before us how unchecked lawlessness resulted in death and destruction. The members of ESTHER decry these events. While our elected officials were attempting to carry out the will of the people expressed in the Presidential election, they found themselves needing to flee and hide, fearing for their lives. They were afraid not only of the lawless mob banging on the doors outside of their chambers, but also of the noise within, the clamor of false claims that the votes cast in the election by the people were fraudulent.

Hours later, returning to work as the Capitol was being cleared, our representatives certified the results of the 2020 election. The coup was thwarted. American democracy prevailed in the face of perhaps its most serious threat since the Civil War.

In the aftermath, we are left with many questions, as well as a strengthened sense of the importance of ESTHER’s work.

Sponsor Spotlight: The Cozzy Corner

The Cozzy Corner 2021 Yearbook AdInterview with Phillip Bennett: Co-owner of The Cozzy Corner

ESTHER wishes to recognize Phillip Bennett and his wife, Heidi, proprietors of The Cozzy Corner, a soul food restaurant in downtown Appleton. 

Phillip and Heidi purchased The Cozzy Corner about a year ago from their friend Tasha. It is one of many businesses that they own and manage. They also own a clothing store in the Fox River Mall, a barber shop and multiple properties in Appleton.

Phillip has a long and accomplished history in the Fox Valley. After his early release from prison in 2008, he moved to Appleton, obtained a machining degree from Fox Valley Technical College and began work at Neenah Foundry. During his ten years of employment there,  Phillip was promoted to supervisor, making him the first Black man hired as a supervisor at the foundry.  

ESTHER 2020 “Banquet”: The Rest of the Story

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Thumbnail of ESTHER 2020 Banquet video on YouTubeOur 2020 virtual “Banquet” celebration started out strong, with an amazing program and an audience of over 220 people registered to participate. As the event began on November 1, however, we realized that the “livestream” on YouTube was neither live nor streaming.

All efforts to fix it failed. IRL (in real life), the program was actually taking place at the scheduled time, but no one could see it! The live program was recorded, however, so we are able to share it with you.

On November 8, a large and enthusiastic audience watched the recorded “Banquet” video premiere together on YouTube. And now we are making it available to all.