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

EXPO Empathy Day of Action

A couple weeks ago, I had the privilege of going to the state capital in Madison for EXPO’s Empathy Day of Action. We spent the day learning from EXPO leaders, senators, and representatives on Unlock the Vote and AJR 107. Using the information we learned, we got to have conversations with our legislators, representatives, and their staff. We met with those who voted in favor of AJR 107 which is a constitutional amendment that was created after the Waukesha parade tragedy. 

This amendment would change the eligibility and release conditions prior to a conviction. This amendment would also create a stricter cash bail system by making it possible for judges to consider past criminal history when setting bail charges. Setting higher bail charges would punish low-income people and keep more people incarcerated if they cannot pay bail. 

Shackling of Pregnant Incarcerated Women

At ESTHER’s most recent Mental Health Task Force meeting, we were joined by two women who educated us on an issue that is currently affecting incarcerated pregnant women. 

One of the women who joined us was Felicia Turner-Walton, who is the CEO and Founder of Healing Our Hearts. This is a non-profit based out of Madison that provides support to those that have experienced loss. This organization is committed to providing an understanding of grief that is centered around black and brown communities. 

The issue they covered during our meeting was the injustice of shackling and how it affects incarcerated pregnant women. Prisons have historically been designed by men, for men. Inmate treatment has therefore not taken into account women’s specific needs. Pregnant inmates are thus shackled while receiving medical care because that is how all inmates are treated. Shackling is an inhumane and dangerous practice as it limits the medical care that can be provided due to the restraints and it puts more stress on the pregnant woman or birthing mother.

When I first learned of this practice during our meeting, I had a mixture of feelings. On one hand, I was shocked to learn about this inhumane practice. On the other hand, I was not surprised as prison systems have historically been created to control black and brown communities. These systems of control therefore do not take into account the specific indignities that pregnant women face and the different treatment they need to receive. 

 

Solar Power Coming to Prince of Peace Lutheran Church

Prince of Peace Lutheran Church on Calumet has started the process of installing solar panels on their roof. In total, there will be 125 panels and the process should be completed in the next month or two. This project has been in the works for the past three years with extensive planning and fundraising. 

These panels will generate up to 45% of the electrical usage at Prince of Peace and reduce up to 62,000 pounds of carbon dioxide emissions that would otherwise come from electrical power. 

Prince of Peace is looking forward to the completion of this project and is excited to make their organization more environmentally friendly. This project will be a great addition to the Appleton community. For any more information or questions, contact Ron Jones at rjones3155@gmail.com.

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.”

Equity Network Member Meeting: Health Equity and Civic Engagement

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Date: 
Thursday, April 7, 2022 - 6:30pm - 7:45pm
Location: 
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.

Blanket Exercise

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Date: 
Tuesday, April 12, 2022 - 5:00pm - 8:00pm
Location: 
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: https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSevyTyQTvE1ZGIabtqqjSnlzLQq5q9V4DV3SK1mDzvtCwV8CQ/viewform.  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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Date: 
Wednesday, April 13, 2022 - 6:30pm - 8:00pm
Date: 
Wednesday, April 20, 2022 - 6:30pm - 8:00pm
Date: 
Wednesday, April 27, 2022 - 6:30pm - 8:00pm
Date: 
Wednesday, May 4, 2022 - 6:30pm - 8:00pm
Date: 
Wednesday, May 11, 2022 - 6:30pm - 8:00pm
Location: 
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.