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

Upcoming Events

Please join us for any of these upcoming ESTHER events!

  • To learn more about a particular event, click on its title
  • To see the complete ESTHER calendar, click on More at the bottom left of the listing
Monday, September 16, 2019 - 3:00pm ESTHER Communications Committee First Congregational UCC, 724 South River Drive, Appleton Upper Lounge
Monday, September 16, 2019 - 6:00pm Unlock the Vote Forum Fox Valley Technical College, 1825 N Bluemound Dr, Rm HS114AB (Ent. 16), Appleton
Tuesday, September 17, 2019 - 6:30pm ESTHER Transit Task Force First United Methodist Church, 325 East Franklin Street, Appleton - Conference Room
Thursday, September 19, 2019 - 10:00am ESTHER Inclusion & Co-creation Committee ESTHER Office, Neenah
Saturday, September 21, 2019 - 12:30pm - 4:00pm Neenah-Menasha Inter-Tribal Pow Wow Shattuck Park, 210 E Wisconsin Ave, Neenah

Rev. Maynard Beemer - In Memoriam

As president of the ESTHER organization, it is my sad duty to convey news of the death of Maynard Beemer. We received the news that he had suffered a massive stroke on Sunday, August 4, and he passed away this afternoon on August 6. Maynard was a founding member of our organization dating back to 2004. Through his leadership and with his passion for doing justice, he played a pivotal role in bringing the mission of WISDOM and GAMALIEL to the Fox Valley area. From its founding, ESTHER has been blessed by Maynard’s leadership, which was his trademark. Over the years, he served as our president and was a constant source of inspiration with the charisma of the “wise man” in our midst. We of ESTHER extend our blessings and word of comfort to his daughter and grandchildren as well as to the faithful of First Congregational United Church of Christ in Appleton, where he served for many years as pastor. In a spirit of thanksgiving and loving farewell, we celebrate with the angels, who cry out to Maynard to come and receive the reward of his labors.

— Fr. Joe Mattern

Maynard’s life will be celebrated in the sanctuary of First Congregational UCC, Appleton, on Saturday, September 7 beginning at 11:00 AM. Family and friends are invited to gather at the church on Saturday morning until the time of the service. A reception will follow in the Fellowship Hall. A full obituary may be read here.


ESTHER 2019 Banquet

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Sunday, November 3, 2019 - 5:00pm
Liberty Hall, 800 Eisenhower Dr, Kimberly

Tickets Now Available!

Winona LaDukeESTHER’s 16th Annual Banquet will be held on Sunday, November 3, starting at 5:00 pm, at Liberty Hall in Kimberly.

Our keynote speaker this year is Winona LaDuke, an internationally acclaimed author, orator, and activist. LaDuke is a dynamic speaker who inspires her audiences to action and engagement, and we are thrilled to have her join us.

A graduate of Harvard and Antioch Universities, she has devoted her life to protecting the lands and life-ways of Native communities. LaDuke directs Honor the Earth, a national advocacy group for native environmental groups, and founded the White Earth Land Recovery Project. Both organizations work on culturally based sustainable development, renewable energy, food systems and environmental justice.

In 1994, Time magazine named her one of America’s fifty most promising leaders, and in 1997 LaDuke was named Ms. Magazine Woman of the Year. In 2007, LaDuke was inducted into the National Women’s Hall of Fame. She has authored many books, including All Our Relations, Recovering the Sacred, Food is Medicine and The Militarization of Indian Country.

The banquet will be preceded by a social hour and silent auction. The program will feature musical entertainment and presentation of ESTHER’s 2019 individual and community awards.

Tickets cost $45 per person through October 4, and will increase to $50 per person starting October 5.

Get Tickets Now!

Unlock the Vote Forum

Monday, September 16, 2019 - 6:00pm
Fox Valley Technical College, 1825 N Bluemound Dr, Rm HS114AB (Ent. 16), Appleton

Unlock the Vote / WISDOM logosToo many people have been removed from or been denied access to the electoral process. We want to make sure that every citizen in Wisconsin is able to vote.

Currently, our state denies voting rights not just to those people currently locked up, but also to those who are on probation, parole, and extended supervision. That is approx. 68,000 people in our state who are locked out of the electoral process!


Neenah-Menasha Inter-Tribal Pow Wow

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Saturday, September 21, 2019 - 12:30pm - 4:00pm
Shattuck Park, 210 E Wisconsin Ave, Neenah

Native American Dance in CostumeHelp celebrate the Native American history and culture of this area by joining the Neenah and Menasha Historical Societies for our 4th Annual Neenah-Menasha Inter-Tribal Pow Wow.

The pow wow will feature dancers and drum groups from throughout Wisconsin, and the traveling exhibit “Bittersweet Winds” will also be on display. Native American food and crafts will be available for purchase.

The event is free and open to the public.

The Neenah Landmarks Commission will also host free Voyageur Canoe rides from Shattuck Park.

They Call Us Illegals - Virtual Reality Experience and Film Showing

Thursday, September 26, 2019 - 3:00pm - 7:00pm
Lawrence University, Warch Center Cinema, 711 E Boldt Way, Appleton

They Call Us Illegals: Experience Our Lives in Virtual Reality and Documentary Film

Los Sueños de Anita
Immerse yourself into the lives of two undocmented parents as they raise their young daughter, Anita, and face struggles much too familiar to the community. (virtual reality)
The VR experience runs about 9 minutes and will be available for viewing between 3pm-4:15pm and again between 7pm-8pm.
The Unafraid
Follow the lives of three DACA students in Georgia as they take on activism in a state that has banned them from attending their top state universities and disqualifies them from receiving in-state tuition at any other public college. (documentary film)
Screening will begin at 4:30 with a discussion afterward.

“No Vacancy” – Less Incarceration: Smart Criminal Justice Reform

Monday, October 21, 2019 - 6:00pm - 7:30pm
St. Bernard Catholic Church, 1617 Pine St, Appleton


Do we build more prisons and/or send inmates to out of state institutions at a high cost to taxpayers, or do we institute reform? State Rep. Evan Goyke will make the case for criminal justice reform. This can be done in a smart way that will benefit our corrections system, save tax payer dollars, reduce crime and increase public safety. Presentation & panel discussion.

Presentation & Discussion on:

How to Reduce Crime

Invest in Neighborhoods

Prevent Homelessness

How to Pay for Crime Reduction Without Raising Taxes

How to Reduce Prison Population

Reduce Prison Admissions

Increase Prison Releases

Increase Success on Supervision

Success From Other States

Immigration Task Force Meeting Summary - 9 July 2019

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The ESTHER Immigration Task Force met on Tuesday, July 9. Special guests Primitivo Torrez and Mario Ramirez, from Voces de la Frontera, shared information on an upcoming statewide tour to promote drivers' licenses for all. In this video, four members of the Task Force talk about the support for immigrants that they have found within ESTHER and beyond in the Fox Valley.

Fox Valley Thrives Issues Transportation Focus Group Report

Linking Health and Transportation: Voices of
Oshkosh Walkers, Cyclists and Transit Users

Images from Focus Group ReportThe Fox Valley Thrives Transportation Team conducted a series of focus groups in the spring of 2019 to understand user perceptions of the Oshkosh area’s transportation system. These focus groups allow for better understanding of the connections between transportation and health, identify what facilities enhance or impede a person’s ability to use walking, biking, and transit in the Fox Valley, and determine what changes might need to be made in the built environment to improve access to transportation.

Link to report: Linking Health and Transportation: Voices of Oshkosh Walkers, Cyclists and Transit Users

Fox Valley Thrives, a local chapter of THRIVE WI, is an alliance between East Central WI Regional Planning Commission, ESTHER, and Outagamie and Winnebago County Public Health Departments. Its mission is to advance health equity through aligned efforts, co-learning, and strategic action. The Fox Valley Thrives Transportation Team works to improve health equity and make healthier communities by focusing on the connections between transportation and health.


Prison Reform Task Force Meeting Summary - 1 July 2019

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Lisa Hanneman, chair of ESTHER’s Prison Reform Task Force, shares a brief video report on the Committee’s July 1, 2019, meeting. The August meeting will be held on Monday, August 5, at St. Mark’s Lutheran Church, 140 S. Green Bay Road, Neenah.