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

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:

Fox Cities International Day of Peace Celebration

Sunday, September 17, 2023 - 1:00pm - 4:00pm
Erb Park, 1800 N Morrison St, Appleton

The International Day of Peace, also officially known as World Peace Day, is a United Nations-sanctioned holiday observed annually on 21 September. It is dedicated to world peace, and specifically the absence of war and violence.

Along with Unity of Appleton, Fox Valley Unitarian Universalist Fellowship and others, ESTHER is a co-sponsor. 

The free, fun & family-friendly program will include:

  • Live music
  • Storytelling
  • Peace pole painting
  • Games and crafts for the kids
  • Dancing, treats and more

People’s Town Hall

Posted in
Saturday, September 16, 2023 - 4:00pm
Fox Valley UU Fellowship, 2600 E Phillip Ln, Appleton

Co-sponsored by Hate Free Outagamie and Appleton SDS

  • Share what matters to you about feeling safe & welcome in your community
  • Connect with your neighbors
  • Build people-power


Facebook event page:

Back to School Block Party with People of Progression

Sunday, August 27, 2023 - 12:00pm - 5:00pm
Taperz Barber Shop, 203 N Richmond St, Appleton

Join People of Progression on Sunday, August 27th, from 12 pm to 5 pm at their Back to School Block Party. It’ll be full of culture, activities, shopping, and connections to prepare all youth for returning to school.

Special Guests:

Bumble Bee!
Ghost Busters!


Video Gaming!
Art & Crafts!
Face painting!
…& much more!

FREE HAIRCUTS and BRAIDS - text 920-931-4102 to get on the WAITING LIST ❗️

Latino Fest 2023

Saturday, September 9, 2023 - 11:00am - 5:00pm
Pierce Park, 1035 W Prospect Ave, Appleton

Casa Hispana is proud to sponsor the 2023 Latino Fest celebration, a free event for community members of all ages to participate!

Enjoy live music, dance performances, art demonstrations, and other cultural expressions representing the diversity of the Fox Valley Hispanic/ Latinx community. Learn about services from local nonprofits, schools and businesses, and discover employment opportunities. Come ready to enjoy a variety of food and beverage options. 

Please contact Casa Hispana with any questions at

Follow the event on its Facebook page

Circles of Support Can Help

Community Circles of SupportHelping individuals successfully return to the community after incarceration in prison or jail is the mission of Circles of Support.* Through weekly meetings or individual contacts, volunteers from all walks of life meet with men and women who have been incarcerated to provide support and help to them in dealing with everyday challenges they face in returning to the community. The meetings provide a positive, non-judgmental environment which focusses on individual strengths and the future.

Information about community resources is provided by the participants and volunteers.  Discussions about challenges focus on problem-solving and helping individuals explore effective options that might work for them. Participation is voluntary and there is no cost. Success is celebrated.

A variety of meeting times and places are available in Green Bay, Appleton, Oshkosh, and Neenah-Menasha. Participants describe the groups as a “caring family environment,” a place to get useful community resource information, and a non-judgmental, trusting and respectful setting that gives them hope.

Anyone interested in being involved as a participant or volunteer can connect by calling (920) 840-2918 or emailing  A volunteer will contact you personally to answer any questions.

*ESTHER is the fiscal sponsor of Circles of Support.