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What is an Anti-Racist Organization?

ESTHER has adopted the goal of becoming an anti-racist organization, but we have never defined very clearly what that means. This post is intended to start a discussion on that topic, and for that purpose, I suggest that we should explore the implications of the definitions proposed by Ibram X. Kendi in his book How to be an Antiracist.[i]

Racism Grows from Racist Policies

Kendi begins with the idea that racist policies are adopted out of financial self-interest and not because of racist ideas and prejudices. The racist ideas and prejudices are created later to justify the policies (p. 42). For example, the Atlantic Slave Trade did not develop because Europeans hated Africans or believed them to be inferior. The trade developed because plantation owners in the American colonies were willing to pay for slaves to work in their sugar cane, rice and tobacco plantations. The racist claims that Africans were inferior to Europeans grew up later as justifications for the slave trade and for the practice of slavery in the colonies. The sequence also works in reverse. Reductions in racist ideas and prejudices follow policy changes rather than preceding them. For example, the integration of the schools in the South was followed by a reduction in racist prejudices in that region.

Thus, for Kendi, the focus in fighting racism must be on changing racist policies, not racist attitudes. Changes in attitudes will follow when the policies are changed. This is the basis of his definitions of “racist” and “antiracist,” which are (p. 13):

ESTHER’s Prison Reform Task Force: Improving Our Criminal Justice System

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Prison Reform is Hard Work

Lisa Hanneman does not give up easily. Reforming our prisons and jails is hard, grinding work. It has demanded years of effort by Lisa and the other members of ESTHER’s Prison Reform Task Force. Lisa became involved with the group in 2016 because, in the County Jail,  her son who was a terminal brain cancer patient, could not get his cancer, anti-nausea and pain medications at the times that the doctor had prescribed. As Lisa worked to improve her son’s treatment, she discovered ESTHER, and it turned out that she was not alone. Other members of the Task Force had encountered the same problem, and the Task Force decided to take action together. You might think that this was a small problem that could be resolved easily, but you would be wrong, as Lisa discovered.

Make Holiday Giving Easy for Your Loved Ones

package with red bowWould you like to make holiday giving really easy for your loved ones?

When they ask you what you’d like, instead of saying…, “Oh, I'd love a Christmas tie!”…how about saying, “Would you donate to ESTHER? It’s an organization I love, and the contribution will help us continue working to make our community a more just place for all!”

It’s a win-win-win: Your family members don’t have to leave their homes to shop; you have the satisfaction of sparking a contribution to an organization that you love; and ESTHER receives funds that will support our work to bring the beloved community closer.

We would love to be the recipient of holiday gifts in your honor from your friends, family, co-workers. Would you consider suggesting that they contribute in your honor to ESTHER at holiday time? Just send them to esther-foxvalley.org/altgifts.

Donate Now

2018 Banquet Sets New Record

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Leonard Pitts, Jr., speaking with banquet guest Sharyn GawlickMore than 350 people—a record!—gathered at Liberty Hall in Kimberly on Sunday evening, November 4, for ESTHER’s 15th annual banquet. The room was full, and overflowed with an amazing spirit. During the program, ESTHER recognized Lisa Hanneman for her Individual Leadership in prison reform work, focusing on medication reform at the Outagamie County Jail (story here). Mayor Tim Hanna and Diversity and Inclusion Coordinator Karen Nelson accepted the Community Leadership award for bringing the national Dignity & Respect Campaign to Appleton (story here).

Keynote speaker Leonard Pitts, Jr., in a powerful and personal talk covering racism, immigration, the #MeToo movement, and our hope for change, challenged us to act, but first to listen. The Appleton Post-Crescent covered the event in a story you can find here.

And there’s more….

Rally: Families Belong Together

Date: 
Saturday, June 30, 2018 - 1:00pm - 3:00pm
Location: 
Houdini Plaza, Downtown Appleton

Families Belong Together Banner

One of over 700 events around the country on June 30 where, together, we will raise our voices loud and clear and call for an end to family separations and to the suspension of due process at the border.

People of good conscience from across the country and across the political spectrum agree on this: Families belong together. We've got to make this clear to our government: Reunite families. Close family prison camps. And hold the abusers accountable.

People are welcome to speak about their experiences and share their thoughts. Please wear white to signify solidarity.

Sponsored by Forward Fox Valley

More information on the event Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/events/198849477618962/

ESTHER Sheriff Candidates’ Forum

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Date: 
Tuesday, July 31, 2018 - 6:00pm - 7:30pm
Location: 
Appleton Public Library, 225 N. Oneida Street, Appleton

Calumet & Outagamie County Sheriff
Candidates’ Forum

sheriff's star

Tuesday, July 31, 2018, 6-7:30 pm
Appleton Public Library
225 N. Oneida St., Appleton, WI
Conference Room B, Lower Level

 
Alex Bebris
Outagamie Cty
John Brylski
Outagamie Cty
Clint Kriewaldt
Outagamie Cty
Mark Wiegert
Calumet Cty

Be an Informed Voter!

Here’s your chance to ask questions BEFORE the primary election on August 14.

Fox Valley Islamic Society Hosts 19th Interfaith Gathering

Date: 
Sunday, August 5, 2018 - 3:00pm
Location: 
Fox Valley Islamic Society, 103 Kappell Drive, Neenah

Fox Valley Islamic Society Interfaith Event 2018 FlyerBoth great conversation and great food will be “on the menu” in the afternoon of August 5, when the Fox Valley Islamic Society once again invites the Fox Valley public to its mosque to share in an interfaith discussion followed by a meal prepared and served by its members.

Islamic Society president Mamadou Coulibaly explains, “The goal of the Interfaith Gathering is to encourage dialogue and promote understanding among the people of various faiths in the community. This will allow us to work together for the common good of our community.”

Following the theme of “Truth,” the presentations and discussions will highlight how various faith traditions emphasize looking up, listening up, speaking up, and standing up in response to the claims of truth.

There is no charge for the event. RSVPs are appreciated by Sunday, July 29, via email to fvis.interfaith@gmail.com or phone to (618) 203-6891.

Presentation: The Paradox of Resilency

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Date: 
Saturday, May 5, 2018 - 3:00pm - 5:00pm
Location: 
Appleton Sanctuary Outreach Ministry, 1331 E Wisconsin Ave, Appleton

Rudy Bankston’s presentation, originally scheduled for April 14, 2018, was postponed due to severe weather conditions. The presentation has been rescheduled, and will occur at 3 pm on Saturday, May 5.

Adjunct professor at Edgewood College and full-time Restorative Justice Coach Roderick “Rudy” Bankston was wrongly convicted and handed a life sentence in his youth. Deeply wounded and experiencing a severe identity crisis, he turned his prison cell into a classroom. Today he is an educator, activist, and published author. His powerful story about his experience as a survivor of the school-to-prison pipeline offers key insights into the paradox of resiliency fueled by systemic injustice.

Free and open to the public. Co-sponsored by ESTHER, EXPO and Appleton Sanctuary Outreach Ministry.

More info: iamweclassics.com

“I Am Not Your Negro” - Public Showing

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Date: 
Thursday, May 10, 2018 - 6:00pm - 8:00pm
Location: 
Emmanuel United Methodist Church, 740 E College Ave, Appleton

I Am Not Your Negro posterI Am Not Your Negro is a 2016 American documentary film directed by Raoul Peck, based on James Baldwin's unfinished manuscript, Remember This House. Narrated by actor Samuel L. Jackson, the film explores the history of racism in the United States through Baldwin's reminiscences of civil rights leaders Medgar Evers, Malcolm X, and Martin Luther King, Jr, as well as his personal observations of American history. It was nominated for Best Documentary Feature at the 89th Academy Awards and won the BAFTA Award for Best Documentary.

This film is “must see” for anyone who wants to understand the state of race relations in this country today. You should see it if you have been wondering why Black people today seem so angry. It will show you why Black people are tired of waiting for the fulfillment of the promises of the Civil Rights movement of the 1960s. You will see that, while some progress has been made, old forms of oppression and exploitation persist and new ones, like mass incarceration, have decimated Black communities.

Fit Oshkosh - because race mattersA moderated discussion will follow the film. No charge. All are welcome.

Presented by ESTHER in collaboration with Fit Oshkosh. Thanks to Emmanuel United Methodist Church, Appleton, for hosting this event.

Help spread the word; download and share the event poster (click on 'Attachment' below).

Over-Incarceration in Wisconsin: “Inmate 501”

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Date: 
Thursday, April 19, 2018 - 5:30pm - 7:00pm
Location: 
Fox Valley Technical College, 1825 N Bluemound Dr, Appleton

Rep. Evan GoykeMeeting will be held in Room HS114 A/B. Use Entrance 16.

Rep. Evan Goyke (18th District - Milwaukee) will be joined by formerly incarcerated individuals to talk about the financial and human costs—including being shipped out of state—of over-incarceration in Wisconsin. Goyke is the author of a plan (“Inmate 501”) and legislative package to convert Lincoln Hills and Copper Lake Schools from juvenile corrections centers to AODA facilities for adults. (The plan was first presented publicly on November 29, 2017, more than a month before Governor Walker spoke about a similar approach.)

You can find Rep. Goyke’s analysis and plan here. A video of the November 29 presentation may be found here.

Click here to find WISDOM's extensive report on Crimeless Revocations.
Click here to download the Executive Summary.
Click here to download personal stories by victims of Wisconsin's unjust revocations policy.

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