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

Global Developments in the Rights of Nature: Tribal Nations

Tuesday, April 27, 2021 - 1:00pm - 2:00pm
Zoom Meeting

Hosted by the Center for Democratic and Environmental Rights.

Join in this fantastic free webinar with Frank Bibeau, Attorney for the White Earth Band of Ojibwe and with Honor the Earth, and Guy Reiter, Executive Director of Menīkānaehkem and Menominee Indian Organizer, both of whom have worked with the center for CDER.

Frank and Guy are advancing the rights of nature in tribal law and governance – including Frank’s work with the White Earth Band’s “Rights of Manoomin” law, and Guy with the “Rights of the Menominee River” resolution. Both may be found in CDER’s law library.

The webinar will be held on Zoom. All are welcome. No charge. Register here.

ESTHER Applauds Governor’s Budget for Prison Reform

Posted in

Contributed by Bill Van Lopik.

On February 14, Governor Evers released his proposed state budget for the next two years. This biennium budget actually contains significant funding increases for prison reform programs that ESTHER and WISDOM have been fighting for over the years. We know that the Joint Finance Committee can amend the budget and make changes, but we are pleased with what we see so far. We also know that on average across the nation that 85% of what a governor proposes actually stays in the budget.

What we are pleased about:

  • An expansion of the Earned Release Program, which allows inmates early release from prison when they complete assigned programming. This could potentially allow 900-1000 individuals to be released early.
  • An increase in funding of almost $8 million in the Transitional Jobs Program over the next 2 years. This program provides employment opportunities for recently released individuals so they can begin developing their employment portfolio and integrate back into the community.
  • An increase from $7 million to $15 million to fund Treatment and Diversion programs to help keep people out of jails and prisons and have them enrolled in community-based treatment programs.
  • An expansion of ATR (Alternatives to Revocations) programs that are designed to not send people back to prison (a revocation) without committing a new crime. Another way of “decarcerating” our prison system.

Madison Action Day

Madison Action Day is coming up on April 15 and will be the perfect time to let your legislators know that we want the funding for these programs to remain in the state budget.


Vigil: Taking a Stand for Our Land and Bodies

Posted in
Sunday, February 14, 2021 - 12:00pm - 2:00pm
Zoom Event with Livestream


Missing Murdered Indigenous WomenFacebook Video ThumbnailA Virtual Rally and Webinar

With Live Rally Participation from Appleton and Madison

If you were unable to participate in the rally, you can now watch the recording on Facebook here


Partners: ESTHER, Waking Women Healing Institute, Native Justice Coalition, WCASA, Menominee County HSD Family Advocacy Center, Lorraine Shooter-M.A.D., Native Lives Matter Coalition

Logos of event partners

Help Casa Esther Continue Supporting Immigrants and Their Families

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Federal and Wisconsin government distribution of funds during the pandemic—in the form of stimulus checks, unemployment benefits, and other assistance—has provided a financial lifeline for many, but not all, who are being hit hard by COVID-19.

One group of people need such assistance desperately but are not eligible for Federal or state COVID-19 help. These immigrants live in our communities, contribute to the economy, and pay taxes. Many are front-line, essential workers on dairy farms, in meat-packing plants and cheese factories, in restaurants and cleaning services, in non-profits and small businesses throughout the Fox Valley.

There’s a way you can help.

Juneteenth 2021 - African Heritage, Inc., Celebration

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Sunday, June 13, 2021 - 12:00pm - 6:00pm
Jones Park, 301 W Lawrence St, Appleton

Sponsored by African Heritage, Inc.

  • Live Music and Dance
  • Food and retail vendors
  • Get the Shot L.I.V.E. Campaign
  • Appleton Carnival Street Parade
  • AHI’s Black Graduation

More information, and to request tickets, at:

Help spread the word: Download and share the attached flier.

Rally: MMIWG2S Billboards for Change

Saturday, June 12, 2021 - 9:30am - 10:30am
Urban Evolution parking lot, 2401 W College Ave, Appleton

With the Waking Women Healing Institute and the Native Justice Coalition ESTHER is participating in a billboard campaign to raise awareness of missing and murdered Indigenous women, girls, and 2-spirits. A new billboard in this campaign has just been placed on West College Avenue in Appleton, near the Urban Evolution store.

Join us for a rally Saturday morning, June 12, from 9:30-10:30 am, to dedicate the billboard and learn more about the campaign to raise awareness across the Great Lakes about this issue. “No more silence. No more stolen sisters.”

Help spread the word. Download and share the attached flier.

Juneteenth 2021 - Freedom Day

Posted in
Sunday, June 6, 2021 - 4:00pm - 10:00pm
Jones Park, 301 W Lawrence St, Appleton

People of Progression
Kicks Off Juneteenth 2021

Freedom Day: June 6, 2021

  • Live music, local food vendors and small-business expo
  • Award ceremony, live poetry, spoken word presentations
  • Movie at 8:00 pm, by Fox City Flix

Additional information on the Facebook event page:

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.  

In Search of Writers and Editors ...

We are looking for writers for ESTHER’s new blog.

If you would like to participate in building our on-line presence, please let Bill Van Lopik know.

  • If you like to write, you can be a blogger. We will help you to learn about how to write a good blog post.
  • If you are not sure about your writing skill, we can provide editing help.

We also want to put together a team to manage our blog. Our goals include:

  • Publicizing ESTHER’s work
  • Explaining the importance of the work of our task forces.
  • Showing ESTHER’s expertise and credibility in the areas where we work.

If you want to participate, let Bill know right away. We will schedule a meeting to plan how we will work together.