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

Celebrating ESTHER’s

20th Anniversary

Anniversary events: 7/27 Classical Guitar Concert • 8/22 Summer Gathering & Cookout
• 10/5 Walk with NAMI • 10/8 Justice in Crisis Movie & Panel • 11/16 Banquet

Learn more at 20 years of ESTHER

Menominee Nation Pow Wow

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Friday, August 5, 2022 (All day) - Sunday, August 7, 2022 (All day)
Woodland Bowl, Keshena, WI

Suppressed and Sabotaged: The Fight to Vote

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Wednesday, June 1, 2022 - 6:30pm
Menasha Public Library

This is a public screening of Suppressed and Sabotaged: The Fight to Vote. This film shines light on the dark corners of our country's voting processes, including the increase of vote-restricting laws passed through legislation prior to, during and after the 2020 election cycle. Panel discussion following the film. Sponsored by ESTHER and the League of Women Voters of Appleton-Fox Cities

Neenah Menasha InterTribal Pow Wow

Saturday, September 16, 2023 - 1:00pm - 4:00pm
Shattuck Park, Neenah, WI

Be sure to attend the annual InterTribal Pow Wow at Shattuck Park in Neenah. There will be drum groups, dancers, food, and other vendors. You will not want to miss this popular event!

Come early to attend the Neenah Farmers Market and hear Native American musician Clinton Miller.

Sponsored by Neenah Historical SocietyMenasha Historical Society and Neenah-Menasha Intertribal Powwow

More info at the Pow Wow Facebook Page

ESTHER’s Lead Organizer, Bill Van Lopik, Stepping Down

After almost six years of dedicated work with ESTHER, Bill Van Lopik has decided to step down from his position as Lead Organizer. He will begin his well deserved time of retirement at the end of June of this year. ESTHER will miss this gentle man’s presence with his effective style of leadership.

It is a leadership that flows from his lifelong awareness of, sensitivity to and passion for marginalized people living under systemic injustices. Bill has a unique ability to reach out to people, listen to them intently and make them feel welcomed in his presence. It was that grace that allowed others to share their own passion for injustices and then to become part of existing ESTHER task forces or to begin new ones.

Bill Van Lopik’s Retirement Letter

May 2, 2022

Dear Friends, 

I began working as a community organizer with ESTHER in 2016. My goal was to continue the successes of my predecessors in building a powerful and respected social justice organization in NE Wisconsin. Over the course of the last 6 years ESTHER has indeed grown in terms of budget, membership, task forces, and the issues which we have won. In retrospect, I am the one who has grown and been blessed over the years by the incredible volunteers, donors and leaders who are the lifeblood of the organization. It is within this context that I have decided that now is an appropriate time for me to retire from full-time organizing with ESTHER on July 1.

Community Conversations: A Faithful Response to Renters’ Needs

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Monday, May 23, 2022 - 6:00pm
Trinity Episcopal Church, 203 Algoma Blvd, Oshkosh

COMMUNITY CONVERSATIONS: A Faithful Response to RENTERs’ Needs:In Oshkosh, rental units are expensive and in short supply. 42% of renter households pay more than 30% of their income in rent. Join us for a conversation about renting in Oshkosh and learn how we can have a faithful response to renter's needs. This event is part of ESTHER's Community Conversations Series. We invite all to join! Free Parking and Onsite Childcare Available.

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

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.”