Inmate Art Displayed at ESTHER Banquet
On Sunday, November 13, 2016, CEA-Wisconsin, partnered with teacher Ken VanMieghem and his students at the Wisconsin Resource Center to provide an exhibit of artwork at ESTHER’s Annual Banquet. This is the second year that inmate art was displayed at ESTHER’s event. The artwork became part of a silent auction, raising $385 to support ESTHER’s projects.
CEA-Wisconsin also had a table at the event to familiarize the 200+ people in attendance with its efforts to promote education in correctional settings.
Founded in 2004, ESTHER is a grassroots and non-profit interfaith social-justice organization. ESTHER aims to bring together people of faith and communities of faith in the Fox Valley region of Wisconsin to build community and to identify and act on issues of injustice. Faith communities covenanting with ESTHER are united based on shared values such as equality and human dignity.
An affiliate of the statewide organization Wisdom, ESTHER seeks to:
• Bring healing and unity as an interfaith community that reaches beyond the divisions of race, creed, and socio-economic status
• Build solid relationships with one another and with community leaders
• Identify and address root causes of poverty, oppression, and injustice
• Be agents of change that unite the community and spread a message of hope
• Work at local, state, and national levels to promote justice
• Empower people to overcome injustices and respond to the social-justice concerns of people in the communities of the Fox Valley
ESTHER has created these task forces which are action groups that plan and implement activities and events to evoke positive change in the community:
• Transportation Task Force - The Transportation Task Force is working to address issues that have an impact on the transit systems serving the greater Fox Valley region. Public transit connects people to jobs, education, training, and medical services. An accessible transit system also connects residents with family and friends and allows riders to remain engaged and active in their community.
• Immigration Task Force - This task force works to address issues related to immigration, specifically those affecting the Latino population in the Valley. In addition to national comprehensive immigration reform, this task force is working locally in two areas: the allowance for Wisconsin state driver's certificates for resident undocumented workers and in-state tuition rates for all residents of Wisconsin meeting the academic guidelines for acceptance into our state's public universities, colleges and technical schools. ESL classes are also being offered at St. Therese Parish. The newly formed Casa ESTHER in Omro is looking to be an outreach center for Latinos in the Oshkosh/Omro area.
• Prison Reform & ROC WI Task Force - ESTHER is part of the statewide ROC WI (Restore Our Communities). The campaign is a movement of people of faith calling for change in the Wisconsin incarcerating system. ESTHER believes:
“We can’t punish people into being healthy. We need for families to stay intact and for offenders to be responsible to their communities. We are all better off when people can be healed and made whole through these effective programs that bring accountability to the offender and to the community. Alternative treatment programs work better than incarceration.”
For more information about ESTHER’s activities or to become involved in one of ESTHER’s task forces, go to [esther-foxvalley.org