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

Upcoming Events

Please join us for any of these upcoming ESTHER and related events!

  • To learn more about a particular event, click on its title
  • To see the complete ESTHER calendar in a new tab, click here
Tuesday, February 27, 2024 - 3:00pm - 4:30pm
ESTHER Communications Committee Meeting Zoom Meeting
Tuesday, February 27, 2024 - 7:00pm - 8:30pm
ESTHER Environmental Justice Task Force Meeting Zoom meeting
Wednesday, February 28, 2024 - 3:30pm - 5:00pm
ESTHER Executive Committee Zoom Meeting
Monday, March 4, 2024 - 6:00pm - 7:30pm
ESTHER Transformational Justice Task Force St. Mark's Lutheran Church, 140 South Green Bay Road, Neenah
Tuesday, March 5, 2024 - 4:30pm - 6:00pm
Oshkosh ESTHER Task Force Meeting Zoom and Various Locations in Oshkosh

Come for “Makin’ Cake,” Come Back for “Truth Evolution”

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Come for “Makin’ Cake,” Come Back for “Truth Evolution”

Dasha with cake onlyThrough a special partnership with the Fox Cities Performing Arts Center, the LWV Appleton-FoxCities has two great opportunities for members and communities to delve into race, culture and bias issues in creative and engaging ways.

Both are the work of writer, performance artist, curator and facilitator Dasha Kelly Hamilton. She also is a former Artist of the Year and Wisconsin Poet Laureate, so she packs plenty of energy into the presentations — and brings the audience into the creative process along with her.

  • The first presentation, “Makin’ Cake” (February 27), is part of the PAC’s Spotlight Series and requires ticket purchases.
  • The second program, “Truth Evolution” (February 28) is made possible through a collaboration between the PAC and the League, with support from Community First Credit Union. While attendance at “Makin’ Cake” is not required to participate in “Truth Evolution” it is recommended. There is no cost to attend “Truth Evolution,” altthough registration is requested.
  • Both presentations will take place in the Kimberly-Clark Theater at the PAC.

More information, including links for ticket purchase and registration “below the fold.”

End the Lockdowns Community Forum - Green Bay

Thursday, March 7, 2024 - 6:00pm - 8:00pm
Mulva Library St. Norbert College 400 3rd Street De Pere WI 54115

WISDOM and Partners Host End the Lockdowns Community Forum in Green Bay

End the Lockdowns Community Forum flierWISDOM, ESTHER and JOSHUA host End The Lockdowns Community Forum on Thursday, February 22, 2024 from 6:00-8:00PM at St. Norbert College (Mulva Library) 400 3rd Street, De Pere, WI 54115.

Join us to meet Green Bay elected officials, learn about WISDOM’s End the Lockdowns Campaign and provide input on transformational justice priorities in Wisconsin. This event follows successful events in Milwaukee and Madison with elected officials.

WISDOM’s End the Lockdowns Campaign seeks to:

  • Raise awareness on the detrimental effects of lockdowns to people who are incarcerated in Wisconsin’s prisons and their loved ones.
  • Build build grassroots support urging Governor Tony Evers to use his authority to take action.
  • Close prisons, reduce the prison population, and reinvest spending into community resources that decrease crime and strengthen communities.

Register to attend the event in advance at If you would like to participate in car-pooling from the Fox Cities to attend this event, please leave a message at

Oh, No! Not Critical Race Theory!!

Watch Professor Gloria Ladson-Billings, University of Wisconsin-Madison, speak on the distortions and misinformation currently being spread about Critical Race Theory and how to challenge and undo these. See her presentation, available on YouTube here, or click on the image below.

Professor Ladson-Billings’ talk was hosted by The Creating Beloved Community team of Taking a Faithful Stand for Equity on November 14, 2023.

ESTHER’s 2023 Yearbook Available for Viewing/Download

ESTHER 2023 Yearbook CoverESTHER’s 2023-24 Yearbook is now available for online viewing or download, along with a limited number of printed copies. The book was produced under the editorial leadership of ESTHER member Jill Smith with significant contributions from other ESTHER volunteers and ESTHER communications coordinator Kayla Nessmann.

Inside you’ll find…

  • descriptions of ESTHER’s goals, values and accomplishments, including the work of each of its task forces and work groups
  • a tribute in memory of Jill Smith, for whom the yearbook was a labor of love
  • many photographs
  • profiles of our annual award winners
  • feature essays about ESTHER people making a difference in the Fox Valley and beyond.

The yearbook also contains notices and ads sponsored by many friends of ESTHER in business, non-profit, and government circles.

The 2023-24 yearbook is available online now for you to review, or to download and read at your leisure (PDF). Click on the cover image (to the left), or use the button below to check it out.

View ESTHER Yearbook

We are enormously grateful to our financial sponsors, who are listed in the book. Please show your appreciation for their support of ESTHER by patronizing them or participating in events they sponsor.

Taking a Faithful Stance on Equity: Part 2 of American Indian Studies

Tuesday, January 9, 2024 - 6:30pm
Zoom webinar

Tuesday, January 9, 6:30 pm Taking a Faithful Stance for Equity presents the second part of a two-part Zoom series:
Wisconsin’s curriculum requirement on American Indian studies. WISDOM is part of the coalition that presents this series. 

                                                         Register here

David O’Connor is the featured speaker.  O’Connor is from the Bad River Band of Lake Superior Chippewa (Ojibwe) in northwestern Wisconsin. In January 2012, he became the American Indian Studies Consultant at the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction (DPI). In David's role at DPI, he supports school districts’ efforts to provide instruction on the history, culture and tribal sovereignty of Wisconsin's American Indian nations and tribal communities, often referenced as Wisconsin Act 31, and the education of Native American students.

ESTHER Welcomes Acienda Yang as Office Administrator

ESTHER is pleased to welcome Acienda Yang to ESTHER in her role as Office Administrator. A graduate of UW-Oshkosh with a Criminal Justice major, Acienda has strong experience as an administrator and coordinator in local and state government, and brings a bright spirit as well as amazing energy, focus and can-do spirit to her work. She is a certified Peer Support Specialist and is bilingual in Hmong and English.

Hello everyone!

My name is Acienda Yang and I am ESTHER’s new Office Administrator.

I love to hike, travel, cook, karaoke, and spend time with my family. In addition, I also have a pet turtle named Autumn whom I love very much. One of my goals is to travel out of the country once a year to learn different cultures and to try new things! If you have any recommendations for places to visit, let me know!

I am excited to be part of ESTHER and cannot wait to learn and be part of the change that is truly needed.

ESTHER’s office administrator role is part-time (about 12 hours per week) and conducted mostly remotely. To contact the ESTHER office, call +1 920-830-8083 or email


Community Living Room

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Sunday, January 28, 2024 - 10:45am - 12:00pm
First Congregational United Church of Christ, 724 E. South River Rd. Appleton

The ESTHER/First Congregational United Church of Christ Mental Health Task Force
is hosting a Community Living Room
facilitated by Ebb and Flow
Sunday, January 28, 10:45AM–12:00PM in Common Grounds at First Congregational UCC, 724 E. South River Rd. Appleton

This gathering is in honor of Jill Smith, a former member of FCUCC and the ESTHER board.

Connection is so important for our mental health. Sometimes it’s hard to find someone who will listen. Often, we don’t take the time to talk, to hear each other. Come find space to be seen, heard and valued for who we are. Come for meaningful conversation.

ESTHER’s 2023 Individual Leadership Award: Connie Kanitz

Connie KanitzConnie Kanitz puts community into all her organizing. As a member of the Communications Committee, Connie publishes some of the stories on ESTHER’s website, writes blogs, and creates some of our famous eblasts. She also submits ESTHER events in the “Justice HUB,” a section of the weekly newsletter of the Fox Valley Unitarian Universalist Fellowship.

“I am grateful for the opportunities to hear people’s stories. I am convinced the more we help people tell their stories and get the right people to hear those stories, we can make some phenomenal changes.”

—Connie Kanitz

Believing that public transportation is related to so many justice and equity issues, and it connects some individuals to major functions of their lives, such as work, education, healthcare, shopping, friends and community gatherings, she served the Transportation Task Force as a member and then chair, over six years. In addition to testifying at State and local budget hearings, under her leadership the group published and helped distribute a booklet highlighting stories of bus riders. 

ESTHER’s 2023 Community Leadership Awards

For 2023, ESTHER is pleased to recognize two outstanding groups in the Northeast Wisconsin community which have been providing leadership and are working effectively for positive change in our area.

Menīkānaehkem (Menominee Rebuilders)

Menīkānaehkem logoMenīkānaehkem was started by dedicated and visionary leaders in 2015 to address disparities that Menominee tribal members face. The organization has grown into an impactful community movement embracing bold goals to change the future of the Menominee Tribe. Under the leadership of Executive Director Guy Reiter, Menīkānaehkem pursues innovative strategies and emphasizes transparency in everything it does. It is constantly growing and adapting to the changes of society.

Our Purpose: To rebuild and reconnect our sacred relationships with our people, plants, places and animals.

Our Mission: Work together to enhance and promote our lifeways and build a healthier Menominee community.…

League of Women Voters of Appleton-Fox Cities

Founded in 1920 by women suffragist leaders, the League of Women Voters has grown to over 500,000 members and 750 local Leagues in all 50 states. The League has a proud history of working to toward a more inclusive democracy at all three levels of government.

The dedicated volunteer members of The League of Women Voters of Appleton Fox Cities work hard to fulfill the League’s mission to empower voters and defend democracy all around the Fox Cities. This takes many forms including tabling at most major events where The League provides information to help engage voters and provide reliable nonpartisan information on upcoming elections.…