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

Community Conversations: A Faithful Response to Housing Needs

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We would like to invite you and your congregation to Community Conversations: A Faithful Response to Housing Needs. This event is being co-hosted by Algoma Boulevard United Methodist Church and ESTHER Oshkosh to allow faith community leaders and members to connect and learn more about how we can respond to housing needs in our community.

A bit more about the event: 

  • WhenMonday, April 4, 2022 -  6-7:15 pm
  • Where: Algoma Boulevard United Methodist Church, Oshkosh (building located at the corner of New York and Algoma Blvd - parking and entrance along Algoma Blvd). 
  • Why:  Many of our Oshkosh Community Members are struggling to find safe and affordable housing. Oshkosh is experiencing a rental vacancy rate of less than 2% (a healthy rate would be 5-7%), rental rates and home prices are skyrocketing, eviction moratoriums are ending, and homelessness is increasing. These challenges can be solved if we work together. Faith communities came together many years ago to start a warming shelter in Oshkosh - we can come together again to learn, share resources and take action. 

Please spread the word and by sharing the attached flyer. Join us for this important event!


Equity Network Member Meeting: Health Equity and Civic Engagement

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Thursday, April 7, 2022 - 6:30pm - 7:45pm
Zoom Meeting

Please join the Equity Network and Fox Valley Thrives for a virtual workshop that will connect the dots between health equity and our civic engagement. Lynnsey Erickson and Stephanie Gyldenvand, Community Health Strategists with Winnebago County Health Department, will share about social determinants of health and how upstream factors produce and reproduce health inequities across populations.

Please register in advance to attend this meeting.

Register here

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

March Forth to Earth Day

Friday, March 4, 2022 - 5:00pm
Friday, March 11, 2022 - 5:00pm
Friday, March 18, 2022 - 5:00pm
Friday, March 25, 2022 - 5:00pm
Friday, April 1, 2022 - 5:00pm
Friday, April 8, 2022 - 5:00pm
Friday, April 15, 2022 - 5:00pm
Friday, April 22, 2022 - 5:00pm
Houdini Plaza

Starting Friday, March 4, rallies will be held in cities across Wisconsin for eight consecutive weeks as activists unite to demand a more just, equitable, and liveable future. Our time to act is now! JOIN US!

More information, including sign-up links and event schedules, on the March Forth Facebook page.

ESTHER Environmental Justice Task Force is co-sponsoring this event along with dozens of other environmental and climate groups across the state.

Blanket Exercise

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Tuesday, April 12, 2022 - 5:00pm - 8:00pm
First Congregational U.C.C., 724 E South River St, Appleton

You are invited to participate in an impactful, experiential activity called the Blanket Exercise at First Congregational United Church of Christ, Appleton, on Tuesday, April 12 at 5:00 PM. This activity will foster truth, deeper understandings, and mutual respect between Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples. We will learn about the original inhabitants of this area, the U.S. Doctrine of Discovery, and the lasting repercussions that the Indian Boarding Schools have had upon Native Peoples into the present. This is an event you won’t want to miss!

Up to 60 people may participate in the Blanket Exercise. This experience is available to persons aged 13 and older.  Please know that registration is required and can be done online at:  The link is also on the church website.

There will be an optional meal at 5:00 PM in Fellowship Hall before the event. The activity itself will begin promptly at 6:00 PM. 

The meal will be traditional indigenous food catered by Waqsecewan Indigenous Catering, a Native-owned business. For those who attend the meal, please consider providing a freewill donation to offset the cost of the food and to invest in this important work (see below). However, persons unable to contribute monetarily are still invited and encouraged to attend this powerful activity.

Please be aware that you do not need to attend the meal in order to participate in the Blanket Exercise.  We hope you can join us!

Introduction to Community Organizing

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Wednesday, April 13, 2022 - 6:30pm - 8:00pm
Wednesday, April 20, 2022 - 6:30pm - 8:00pm
Wednesday, April 27, 2022 - 6:30pm - 8:00pm
Wednesday, May 4, 2022 - 6:30pm - 8:00pm
Wednesday, May 11, 2022 - 6:30pm - 8:00pm
Zoom Meeting

Wisdom Wisconsin will be holding a 5 week Zoom series from April 13-May 11 on Introduction to Community Organizing. This is open to everybody and is a great way to learn about organizing.


ESTHER Leadership Award Winners 2021-22

Each year at its banquet, ESTHER traditionally announces recipients of two leadership awards, one to an individual and the other to an organization in the community. In both cases, the awards recognize significant positive impact on the greater Fox Valley in building community, sharing hope and standing for justice. Even though ESTHER did not hold a banquet in 2021, and our planned February 2022 gathering had to be cancelled, we are pleased to recognize our award recipients:

Individual Leadership Award:

Sara Companik

Community Leadership Award:

People of Progression


MMIW2GS Rally Live-Stream Video Available

Waking Women Healing Institute, Inc. and ESTHER held an important event in Houdini Plaza in Appleton on February 14, bringing awareness to Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women Girls and 2-Spirits (MMIWG2S). We heard from family members and leaders who are working to create change and healing.

Thank you to everybody who showed up on this cold day to show support. If you were not able to attend and are interested, Waking Women Healing Institute Inc. live-streamed the event from Houdini Plaza and from other locations. You can watch the recording, which is available on Facebook:


Thoughts on “Standing Together, Speaking Out for MMIWG2S, Land & Water”

—By Rick Kitchen

“Standing Together, Speaking Out for MMIWG2S, Land & Water” is the name for our upcoming 3rd annual vigil in Houdini Plaza in downtown Appleton on February 14th. If you are interested in this hybrid (live and live-streamed) event, here is the ESTHER link: Standing Together, Speaking Out for MMIWG2S, Land & Water. The vigil is co-hosted by Kristin Welch’s Waking Women Healing Institute (WWHI) and ESTHER.

Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women, Girls, and 2 Spirits (MMIWG2S) is an epidemic across North America, which is known as Turtle Island to Indigenous people. Indigenous people want an end to molestation, rape, trafficking, and murder. American Indians and Alaskan Natives are 2.5x as likely to experience violent crimes and at least 2x more likely to experience rape or sexual assault crimes compared to all other races. In the United States and Canada, an average of 40% of the women who were victims of sex trafficking identified as American Indian or Alaskan Native. About 85% of Indigenous women experience violence in their lifetime and more than 55% of Indigenous women experience sexual violence in their lifetime.

Standing Together, Speaking Out for MMIWG2S, Land & Water

Monday, February 14, 2022 - 12:00pm - 2:00pm
Houdini Plaza, 111 W College Ave, Appleton + Facebook Livestream

Plan to Attend This Powerful Event

Live at Houdini Plaza in downtown Appleton, and live-streamed on Facebook at @wakingwomenhealing and @esther.foxvalley.

Co-sponsored by ESTHER and Waking Women Healing Institute.

This recent ESTHER blog post describes the epidemic of Murdered & Missing Indigenous Women, Girls and 2-Spirits in this region and shares background on ESTHER’s efforts to be in solidarity with indigenous peoples on this issue and others.

More information on the February 14 rally at

Speak Up for Lake Superior’s Bad River Watershed - a Webinar

Monday, February 14, 2022 - 6:00pm - 7:00pm
Webinar - Advance registration required

First Congregational UCC, Appleton, an ESTHER member, invites you to

Save What You Love!

Zoom Webinar on Monday, February 14, 6 p.m. to 7 p.m.

Satellite View of Lake SuperiorThis one-hour webinar explains the likely environmental and social impact of the proposed rerouting of Enbridge Line 5 in the Upper Peninsula near Bad River and describes how to register your opinion with the Wisconsin DNR. The program features a professor of environmental sciences and geology from Lawrence University and an Indigenous activist and Ashland County Supervisor from the Bad River Reservation.

You will learn:

  • What is included and what was omitted in the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources’ draft Environmental Impact Statement on the proposed re-routing of Enbridge Line 5
  • What to highlight in written responses to the WI DNR within the public response period (closing on March 4, 2022)
  • Resources and toolkits for effective letters to the WI DNR and government leaders

No charge. All are welcome. Advance registration required: