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JONAH - Joining Our Neighbors, Advancing Hope, a grassroots organization, comprised primarily of diverse faith communities, seeks to bring people in the Chippewa Valley into relationship and empower one another to build a healthier and fairer community for us all.

Latest News

Religious Leader Reflection

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By Tom Westcott, Associate Pastor at Trinity Lutheran

It seems to me that our culture is entranced with the idea of justice equating to fairness. That is, it is heard as a thin and particularly self-centered version of “I get what is coming to me” or worse yet, “you get what is coming to you as punishment for what you have done to me.” Justice in this use is a code word for revenge. Read More…

Immigrant Drivers Cards – What’s the Real Deal?

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By Megan Schaefer and Perla Martinez

The Real ID Act was passed in Congress in 2005 and took effect in Wisconsin in 2007. This makes it mandatory for states to turn driver’s licenses into federal identification cards, and social security numbers on driver’s licenses are required. As a result of this, individuals without documentation are not able to acquire a license to legally drive. Read More…

Organizing Terminology: Leadership Training

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By Lynn Buske, JONAH Organizer

Many of our followers, no matter how long they’ve been part of JONAH, aren’t familiar with our

organizing techniques and terminology simply because we don’t talk about them enough. A new

addition to our JONAH Journal will be short snippets to help you understand more about our

organizing model.

Hopefully you know that JONAH offers leadership training. Read More…

Impact of Books – JONAH Volunteer Highlight

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Meet Rebecca Wurzer – a JONAH Volunteer doing great things!

Name: Rebecca Wurzer

JONAH Roles: Book Group Leader, Fundraising Team, Past-Secretary, Past Board Member

What is your favorite thing about JONAH? I support the way that JONAH handles issues. I believe they do really important work for the community. They are proactive and respond to issues in the community. Read More…

Reflection Upon Arriving Home from a Vigil

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By Robbie Joern

The crowd at the vigil for Ukraine was quite large, and, while several people there were friends, many were new to me.  I wish we could have shared contact information with each other, but that takes away from the whole theme of the gathering.

I had a little trouble trying to explain to Ben, Read More…

Voting & Cultural Differences Article 

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By Perla Martinez, JONAH Communications and WISDOM RVP Organizer

Working with WISDOM and JONAH with IVE (Integrated Voter Engagement) & RVP (Relational Voter Program) I have learned that a lot of people have lost hope in our voting process. Our democracy feels like a joke. Many are not being informed on how it operates. There are a select few who are making all of the decisions on how we live because the government isn’t being transparent or encouraging input in the democratic process. Read More…

Can Composting Save the Landfill?

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By Megan Schaefer, JONAH Intern

My name is Megan Schaefer, and I am an intern with JONAH. I am currently a senior at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire. In my time here, I am hoping to gain a greater understanding of JONAH’s mission and the work that is done through the organization for the community. I plan to assist JONAH in accomplishing that mission through writing and communication this spring. Read More…

Organizing Terminology: Agitation

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By Lynn Buske, JONAH Organizer

Many of our followers, no matter how long they’ve been part of JONAH, aren’t familiar with our organizing techniques and terminology simply because we don’t talk about them enough. A new addition to our JONAH Journal will be short snippets to help you understand more about our organizing model.

In the last newsletter we talked about self-interest: finding how you, Read More…

Social Justice From a Faith Leader Perspective

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While we all come to JONAH with shared values around compassion, inclusion, justice, equity, sustainability we individually bring our own faith perspectives to the work. We have much to learn from each other in our differences.

By Jacky Miller

As a Catholic, Christian Faith Leader, I embrace Social Justice that is grounded in scripture—drawing from the Hebrew prophets and in the person and teachings of Jesus. Read More…

Vote for Clean Water April 5th

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By Nancy Coffey, Environmental Task Force Member and County Supervisor

The JONAH Environmental Task Force looks at how our values lead us to tend to the environment and make a difference locally, provides public education on various topics around the environment, works with congregations and community groups to work on needed areas, support others efforts, build collaboration and relationship, Read More…

JONAH Recognized with Sustainable Eau Claire Award

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by Amy Kalmon, Environmental Task Force Member

JONAH’s Environmental Task Force will be recognized on February 16 by the City of Eau Claire Sustainable Advisory Committee with a Sustainable Eau Claire Award. This award recognizes Jonah’s efforts to create awareness in reducing plastics, waste reduction, composting, and recycling.

The Sustainable Eau Claire Awards recognize individuals, businesses, and organizations that are committed to creating a more sustainable Eau Claire. Read More…

Homelessness Vigil Reflections

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by Rev. David Huber, Interim President

On the evening of December 20, the night before winter solstice, JONAH Religious Leaders held a Candlelight Vigil for Homelessness. Our community gathered to honor our eleven homeless neighbors who died in the past year, to hear from people with lived experience about the trials and travails of living on the streets – Read More…

Organizing Terminology: Self-Interest

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by Lynn Buske, JONAH Organizer

Many of our followers, no matter how long they’ve been part of JONAH, aren’t familiar with our organizing techniques and terminology. Maybe they haven’t taken our training, or perhaps we don’t explain them enough in our day-to-day work and communications. A new addition to our JONAH Journal will be short snippets to help you understand more about our organizing model. Read More…

Benefit Concert a Huge Success

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by Martha Nieman, Board Member Representing EC Quakers

What a concert! Truly an evening to remember! On November 6 at Grace Lutheran Church, Carrie Newcomer, folk singer-songwriter, enthralled JONAH supporters and her fans with her songs of Spirit, faith, justice, equity, resilience and unity. Her music touched our hearts, uplifted our souls, and united us in resolve to continue JONAH’s work for social justice. Read More…

Religious Leader Perspective: Defining Justice Biblically

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by Tom Westcott, Associate Pastor at Trinity Lutheran

It seems to me that our culture is entranced with the idea of justice equating to fairness. That is, it is heard as a thin and particularly self-centered version of “I get what is coming to me” or worse yet, “you get what is coming to you as punishment for what you have done to me.” Justice in this use is a code word for revenge. Read More…

JONAH’s Communications and Voter Engagement Hire: Welcome Perla

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My name is Perla Martinez-Beltran. I am the new communications hire with JONAH, and I also am part of the Integrated Voter Engagement & Relational Voter Program team with WISDOM. 

In my communications role with JONAH I hope to find a format for taskforces to share their information such as meetings, planning, and events. Read More…

Religious Leader’s Column: Seeking Justice with Joy and Rest

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“Rest is a beautiful interruption in a world that has no pause button.” 

-The Nap Ministry

The Nap Ministry is an amazing instagram account started by Tricia Hersey. Hersey is an activist who grounds her experience in womanism and liberation theology. Her stories and posts remind her followers, especially people of color, that rest is liberation for those who are expected to work by a system of oppression. Read More…

JONAH Welcomes New Interim President – David Huber

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The JONAH Executive Committee is pleased to announce the appointment of Rev. David Huber as the JONAH Interim President to fill the vacancy in this position that occurred with the resignation of Sandra McKinney. He will fill the remainder of the present term which runs through 2022. We are sure you will agree he brings valuable skills and experience that will be a great addition to JONAH’s work. Read More…

Current Efforts to Reduce Child Poverty

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By John Wagner, Chair of the Child Poverty Coalition

Poverty remains a pervasive issue in the US, Wisconsin, and the Chippewa Valley but there are some positive developments. The US Congress passed the American Rescue Plan (ARP) in March which provides direct payments to families with children but only through 2021. The ARP is estimated to reduce child poverty by 50% immediately. Read More…

Affordable Housing Update

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By Judi Moseley, AHTF Co-chair

“A friend tells me that his children’s grandmother is being evicted. She’s in her 70’s, has special needs, and will be homeless if they kick her out. He’s already called the property management company and sent them a follow up letter. What else can he do?” 

Most people hear of an eviction action and immediately think that the person being evicted hasn’t paid their rent. Read More…

JONAH Annual Celebration Review

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by Jackie Christner, First Congregational Core Team Member

Although JONAH’s annual celebration on October 10 and the accompanying silent auction were

held virtually for the second year, they were well attended ((50 tickets sold) resulting in some

needed extra funds (auction, $2000; tickets, $1000) as well as in some very inspirational and

celebratory reports from our six task forces (Affordable Housing, Read More…

Passenger Rail Updates from JONAH Transit Task Force

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*On August 21st, 2021 a public “Rally for Passenger Rail” event took place at Phoenix Park in Eau Claire. The event was initiated by the Chippewa Valley Transit Alliance to bring awareness to the community regarding the growing need for passenger rail in Eau Claire and the Chippewa Valley. Various elected officials attended and spoke to a crowd of 32 people about the importance of passenger rail and the economic benefits passenger rail would bring to Eau Claire and the surrounding communities of West Central Wisconsin and the entire region of West Central Wisconsin. Read More…

Sept-Oct Summary JONAH

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Thanks for your support of JONAH, here is a short summary of current activities.

Executive Committee – In process of hiring a new bookkeeper, looking for next treasurer(s) and secretary(ies), printing yearbooks, found new president, restructuring criminal justice task force, and handbook in process.

$$$ – raised over $15,000 combined from yearbook, virtual auction and virtual annual event. Read More…

Religious Leader Perspective: Justice and Poverty

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By Christine Warlowski, St James

Justice is such a formational part of nearly every world religion. In Christian scripture (and most other religions), the demand is clear that we take care of the vulnerable among us – the poor, the widow (left defenseless without a husband) and the orphan. The prophets through to Jesus tell us in no uncertain terms that worship without care for those in need is not worship at all. Read More…

JONAH Reflections on a COVID Year

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By Donna Raleigh

Soon after COVID started, JONAH Organizer, Lynn Buske, created the JONAH COVID Advisory Task Force to share ideas on JONAH’s role in the time of COVID. Recently, the task force reflected on what has been learned, what has been done, and how JONAH can be the bridge as we move forward. Here is a summary of that reflection. Read More…

Madison Action Day Perspective

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By Krista Cleary

Over here in River Falls, WI, I feel like a lone outpost of the Jonah affiliate, one the western edge of the state. Jonah folks have always included and welcomed me, and for that I am grateful. 

I’ve missed the in-person gatherings and events with JONAH and WISDOM and EXPO over the past year since the pandemic started, Read More…

Current Child Poverty Information

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By Chris Hambuch-Boyle

Child Poverty is finally in the forefront of the news and legislation.  For so long the conversation has been around the economy and the workforce with very little mention of children in poverty.  It is time that all look in the mirror and take on the responsibility to change the dialogue.  Conversations should focus on how to eradicate child poverty levels in our country and in our state. Read More…

Earth Day Reflection: State Budget Testimony on Composting

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By Sue Waits

As co-organizer for the JONAH Environmental Task Force I am excited to hear about all the local and state initiatives to address Climate Change. But I am frustrated that we aren’t doing more right now! I am here to recommend something that we could implement today that is simple, and doesn’t require major infrastructure changes. Read More…

Bolton Refuge House and JONAH

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By Katelyn Wonderlin

When I first moved to Wisconsin I had no idea what I was getting myself into. To start with, I was certainly unprepared for the winter. You would think having come from Illinois, another midwestern state, I would already understand how harsh winter could be. I am here today to tell you, moving 6 hours more north makes a world of difference. Read More…

Overcoming Division

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This was originally a sermon given at First Presbyterian Church on January 31, 2021 by Lynn Buske.

I am a Community Organizer for JONAH – an interfaith organization that does grassroots organizing to address root cause of social injustice. I am in this work because my faith values compel me to make a difference in my community and my philosophy background often has my thoughts swarming to seek understanding. Read More…

Video – Building Relationship

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Building authentic relationships is the cornerstone of JONAH’s organizing work and we believe it is the key to the beloved community for all. We worked with Micah and Genevieve of SoulShine Photography in late summer of 2020 on an episode of their series “Walk About Talk About” to discuss what does building relationship look like and why it’s important. Read More…

Engaging in Voter Engagement

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By Sara Larsen – Volunteer

JONAH provided multiple opportunities for individuals (with the option to be paid) in the community to get involved in building relationships through sharing education on our issues and offering support to potential voters. It is these relationships that help shift our community narrative and can encourage people to vote the issues!   Read More…

Community Catalyst Grant Experiences

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Below, three members of a grant project within JONAH, which they affectionally call LIFT, talk about their meaningful experiences and successes working towards reducing barriers people with conviction histories face when attempting to find housing in our area. 

Lynn Buske – JONAH Organizer and Project LeadI was excited, hopeful and honored when JONAH partnered with EXPO, Read More…

“And Let it Begin With Me”

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By Robbie Joern (JONAH Board Member – Spirit Lutheran)

I don’t know about the rest of you, but I have been worried about our beloved democracy staying intact. But I have some hope that it might still be possible.

Whatever lies ahead for America, the reality is it will take all the wisdom the churches and organizations like WISDOM, Read More…

Finding Community

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By Lynn Buske

I grew up in a Lutheran church. Faith was part of our daily life it seemed, for which I am grateful not only because of the faith I have now but because I also grew up the kind of child who constantly pondered the meaning of life.  I would sit in the pews as a child soaking up the deep reflections until I went to undergraduate studies at Luther College for philosophy where I really got to examine everything!  Read More…

Immigrant-Family Support Fund Update

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By Jacky Miller and Sandy Ayres

The Immigration Task Force worked with local partners back in late spring to develop a Neighbor to Neighbor Immigration Fund for donations to assist immigrants that are struggling during this pandemic due to job loss and not being privy to the stimulus package or unemployment funds. The funds are being housed in St. Read More…

The JONAH Affordable Housing Task Force says “Yes!” to YIMBY

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By Judi Moseley – Co-Chair

NIMBY is an acronym that stands for Not In My Backyard. It is a response that we see frequently when affordable housing proposals are made to Plan Commission or City Councils. Single Family homeowners often object to multifamily housing being brought to their neighborhoods because they believe it will change the nature of their neighborhood. Read More…

COVID-19 Community Survey Results

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JONAH has released our report of the analyzed results of the survey we put out earlier this year hearing from area residents on how COVID-19 has impacted their lives.

The report summarized results from a community survey that asked residents in the tri-county area (Chippewa, Dunn and Eau Claire counties) about the impact of COVID-19 on their lives, Read More…

Talking to Each Other About Voting

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2020 is a big election year for all of us, and Wisconsin is a key state on a national level. Voting is important because it is part of our civic duty, but also a way for us to exercise our voice – put action behind our faith values. The impact of voting lies not only in who’s at the top of the ticket, Read More…

EXPO Efforts in Justice Reform

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By Nycki Wallsch and Kelly Mahoney

Chippewa Valley Expo is excited to announce the new campaign called Free, which was created to specifically help women who have been impacted by the Criminal Justice System. Free will be addressing issues and barriers that women face in our community who have previous conviction histories. In highlighting and uplifting these issues we hope to bring forth policy changes and advocate for other women.  Read More…