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

The Forgiveness Project Exhibit

Posted in
Wednesday, April 3, 2024 - 10:00am - 8:00pm
Thursday, April 4, 2024 - 10:00am - 8:00pm
Friday, April 5, 2024 - 10:00am - 8:00pm
Fox Valley Unitarian Universalist Fellowship, 2600 Philip Lane, Appleton WI

The exhibit is also open on Sunday, April 7 from 12:30-4:30 pm and
Monday, April 8 from 10:00-3:30 pm

Come view this international exhibit which features 18 personal stories of challenges in forgiveness. 

At the heart of The Forgiveness Project is an understanding that restorative narratives have the power to transform lives; not only supporting people to deal with issues in their own lives, but also building a climate of resilience, hope and empathy.

Here are quotes from three of the stories:

  • “In that instant, I realized how much negative energy it takes to hold hate inside.”   Zak Ebrahim
  • “I'm beginning to realize that no matter which side of the conflict you're on, had we all lived each other’s lives, we could all have done what the other did.”  Jo Berry, daughter of a bombing victim
  • “Through forgiveness, I've learned that love doesn't die.”  Kia Scherr

PLEASE NOTE the exhibit is NOT available for viewing on Saturday, April 6, due to a prior commitment at the Fellowship. 

This exhibit is sponsored by: The Fox Valley Unitarian Universalist Fellowship, ESTHER, and Charter for Compassion.  See more description, photos, and a donation option to Forgiveness Project at

Join us for the Black Experience

Saturday, March 16, 2024 - 12:00pm - 4:00pm
201 E Birch St Black Creek, WI 54106

The Black Exerience FlierCome experience a preview of our African Immersion, planned and led by ESTHER’s new organizer, Miracle Wheeler.

A fun-filled educational day with authentic African American Food, African Drumming lessons, African dance tutorials, crafts for the kids, face painting, a powerful movie clip on Black History, Q&A session, hair-braiding experience and much more.

Register Here

Free Admission. Donations Accepted. Proceeds fund ESTHER’s African Immersion.

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

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

Posted in
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.…

League of Women Voters Book Share Group: Obreros Unidos

Monday, November 27, 2023 - 12:00pm - 1:00pm
LWV Office, 124 N Morrison St, Appleton

LWV Appleton Fox CitiesThe League of Women Voters Appleton-Fox Cities (LWV) has a book share group that focuses on DEI issues. The November book is Obreros Unidos, by Jesus Salas. The group will meet on Monday, November 27 12:00 – 1:00 at the LWV office at 124 N. Morrison St., Appleton. All are welcome. For an Amazon purchase link, click here or on the cover image below.

From Amazon - In an expansive narrative, noted labor leader Jesus Salas shares an insider’s look at the farm workers movement, from its roots in southern political uprisings to its lasting legacy of activism. During his childhood, Salas and his family joined the migrant workers who traveled from their hometown in Texas to work on farms in Wisconsin, Illinois, and other states. In riveting detail, he describes the brutal working conditions and overcrowded labor camps experienced by the Mexican American workers who fueled the Midwest’s agriculture industry.

Taking inspiration from César Chávez, as a young man Salas and others led a historic march from Wautoma to Madison to demand that lawmakers address rampant violations of Wisconsin’s minimum wage laws and housing codes. These young labor leaders founded Obreros Unidos—Workers United—to continue the fight for fairness and respect, as well as to provide much-needed services to migrant families. This memoir of a movement details how their work went beyond the fields to have lasting impacts on representation in community organizations and access to education, empowering later generations to demand better.

5th Annual WI Recovery Celebration and Memorial Walk with Lights of Hope

Sunday, September 10, 2023 - 3:30pm
Pierce Park, 1035 W Prospect Ave, Appleton
  • 5th Annual Lights of Hope Memorial WalkSign up to register or participate in the Walk event at Cost of $18 for adults and $10 for children 17 and under includes a personalized T-shirt and memorial sign.
  • Join the free Fox Cities Lights of Hope event to listen to speakers and participate in a candlelight vigil as we celebrating recovery and remembering loved ones and those still struggling.

Sponsored by the Megan Kelley Foundation and Start Healing Now

More information at Facebook event page: