Loud & Clear
July 2021
Why are we Worrying about Webster Groves?
Last week all members of Women’s Voices had an opportunity to take a position on a question that will be on the ballot in Webster Groves on Aug. 3. (This is a benefit of membership: those who pay dues are entitled to help the organization take positions on various issues.) Members approved a position to OPPOSE Proposition 1.

The question in Webster involves a proposed adjustment to a zoning ordinance, which was approved by the Webster Groves city council but is challenged by a group of residents, who obtained enough signatures to get the question on the upcoming ballot.

A few of our members have questioned why we should take a position on a micro issue at the local level. Here’s why: Women’s Voices has 48 members in Webster Groves. Our new Affordable Housing task force has identified several “communities of opportunity” where members hope to raise awareness of the need for affordable housing, and Webster Groves is one of those communities. 

Working on issues at the local/municipal level is a strategy of the new “Hold The Door Open” initiative. Zoning laws have historically made it difficult, if not impossible, for people of color or low-income individuals to live in certain zip codes. Therefore, our advocacy efforts will support the changes needed at that level. This is not glamorous or sexy work, but it is where change begins…in community, at the local level.

If you are interested in joining the Affordable Housing task force, which is a part of our Racial Justice Committee, email: housingjustice@womensvoicesraised.org.
Program Planning for 2021-2022
Women's Voices is in the process of planning for our 2021-2022 program year. Please take this short survey to provide feedback on whether you would prefer in-person programs or online programs. The survey will close on Tuesday, July 13.

Programs are held at 7 p.m. on the second Thursday of the month, September through May. Details about upcoming programs will be available on our website soon!
Racial Justice Movie Club
Wednesday, July 7, 7 p.m.
Virtual discussion of video:

Harvard professor Dr. Walter Johnson uses stories of St. Louis’s turbulent history to reveal how our nation’s current racism and social attitudes are rooted in yesterday’s violent conquest of indigenous people and enslavement of kidnapped African peoples. He explains how historic racism continues to affect public policies today, including rural-urban conflict. His work suggests that knowledge can help citizens of Missouri, St. Louis, and the entire country make changes to transform society.

Participants should watch the video here prior to the July 7 discussion.
Wednesday, July 28, 7 p.m.
Virtual discussion of video:

Pediatrician and public health advocate Dr. Rhea W. Boyd discusses how racism affects health and why protest is a profound public health intervention. She addresses the racial disparities revealed by the COVID-19 pandemic and by the disproportionate police violence in the United States.

Registration is required; more information here. Participants should watch the video here prior to the July 28 discussion.
Lunch & Learn: The Truth about the 1619 Project
Speakers: Dr. Sharonica Hardin-Bartley, PhD, Superintendent, and Christina Sneed, MA, Coordinator of K-12 Social Studies & 6-12 English Language Arts, School District of University City. Jai’ Den Smith, 2021 graduate of University City High School
“We were not indoctrinated; we were captivated.” These words from student Ian Feld* were directed to Missouri legislators who wanted to ban the teaching of the 1619 Project. Dr. Hardin-Bartley said that because the project has been attacked as no other text, she is speaking out. At the Women’s Voices June Lunch & Learn, her message was clear: The project can be a valuable tool to bring about change. “This is about our children and making sure they have voice and have choice and space and the educational environment to navigate complex, diverse, and sometimes gut-wrenching text in a way that can be purposeful and meaningful.” The project is part of the School District of University City’s commitment to help students “become amazing adults that will one day lead and be in many of the roles we’re in today across the world.”
The speakers expressed hope that all children will have the opportunity to experience the 1619 Project. “See what your district is doing and talk with your schools,” Dr. Hardin-Bartley said. She advised approaching school board members and school administrators individually at first rather than in a large meeting and to focus on the project’s benefits to students. She noted that the student’s writings from the project are the most powerful she has seen in her 25 years in education. Students in about 25 public and private schools in the St. Louis area, including the mostly White Kirkwood district, have used the 1619 Project, she said.

One Stunning Weekend of Gun Violence
Three young girls were among the 13 victims of gun violence in St. Louis in June over Father’s Day weekend. In one case, an 8-year-old girl accidentally shot herself in the thumb and the bullet grazed the leg of her 9-year-old sister.

Interviewed by KSDK, Cathy Gilbert, co-chair of the Campaign for Common Sense Gun Solutions, noted that these incidents are heart-breaking and all too common. Cathy explained that gun locks provide a simple and effective way to avoid unintentional shootings, and she demonstrated how easy it is to use a gun lock. Watch the interview here.
The KSDK story also noted that the Women’s Voices Lock It for Love gun locks are available, free of charge, at all 30 St. Louis fire stations and at four branches of the St. Louis City Library.
Women’s Voices pays for the locks that we give free to community members, so we appreciate your supporting our work by making a donation here.
Advocacy Committee Readies to Act on Pending Issues
Even during summer, it’s important that our combined voices be raised as we confront many developing issues:

  • Health care: The Missouri Legislature was called to special session regarding Medicaid expansion for Missouri to resolve issues about extending the federal reimbursement allowance (FRA), which they passed on June 30. The FRA provides funding for various health care providers across the state, including hospitals, pharmacies, mental health and nursing facilities, and emergency medical services. The Senate had failed to pass the FRA because several senators sought to attach restrictions to abortion and contraceptives. If the FRA had not been renewed by July 1, many Medicaid facilities would have closed and thousands of Missourians would have lost health coverage at a time when the state ranks number 1 in new COVID-19 cases.
  • Voter protection: The U.S. Senate didn't vote to hear SR1- For the People Act, the bill to overhaul federal elections. The issues of voter suppression haven't gone away in our state, so we need to be prepared to advocate so every Missouri voter has the right to vote. The voting rules that many used during the 2020 election were not permanent.

  • Education: What will the 2021-2022 school year look like considering the impact of COVID-19 on learning and mental health?

  • Economic justice: How has COVID-19 impacted women, who are bearing the brunt of the recession and student debt?

  • Racial justice: Women’s Voices is primarily focusing on criminal legal reform and affordable housing. When there's an issue or piece of legislation at the local, state, or national level, we will take a position and share that with you.

If you are interested in these issues and would like to become a member of our committee, please contact Karen Francis. The committee’s next meeting is August 23, 2021. 
Follow Women's Voices on Facebook
Are you on Facebook? If so, please Follow and Like the Women’s Voices Raised for Social Justice Facebook page. It’s a great way to keep up with social justice issues in St. Louis and members' responses to them. Also, be sure to Share our posts with your friends so we can raise our profile in the community and attract new members and supporters. Thank you! 
Women's Voices Members respond to injustice!
Judy Arnold, in her letter to the St. Louis Post Dispatch, writes that the threat to our democracy has never been higher.

Susan Hayman, in her letter to the Webster-Kirkwood Times, writes that Kirkwood needs to find a way to provide homes that are affordable for those with modest incomes. 
Ann Mandelstamm, in her letter to the St. Louis Post Dispatch, writes that more effective training and higher standards for police and teachers would result in increased public respect.

Nancy Siteman, in her letter to the St. Louis Post Dispatch, writes that men need to step up and take more responsibility for conception. 
Liz Sondhaus, in her letter to the Webster Kirkwood Times, urges support for the Federal American Jobs Plan.
Ellen Wentz, in her letter to the Kansas City Star, writes that senators should making voting easier by supporting SB1. Ellen's letter was also published in News Press Now and the Columbia Missourian.
Ellen Wentz, in her letter to the Webster Kirkwood Times, claims Koenig does not uphold the will of the people.
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Looking for tips on writing letters to your newspaper? Click HERE for general guidelines
on writing a letter to the editor and contact information for Missouri newspapers. 
Have something to submit for Loud & Clear?
Loud & Clear is the official monthly e-newsletter of Women's Voices Raised for Social Justice and is usually distributed on the first Monday or Tuesday of the month. The general deadline for article submission is the Wednesday prior to publication. Click here to contact editor Laura Rose.
Membership Info
Even if you can’t come to meetings or become personally involved, your membership is important…and greatly appreciated.

Benefits of Membership
When you join Women’s Voices you:
  • Make our voice stronger when we advocate with elected officials.
  • Provide support to the organization by adding your name to our advocacy efforts.
  • Provide ideas and suggestions to help determine how to define our positions and choose our causes.
  • Are eligible to vote on important decisions such as Women’s Voices taking a position on a social justice issue or supporting/opposing a ballot measure.
  • Participate in advocacy activities in any way that you want or is possible for you.
  • Can take pride in your affiliation with a strong, progressive group of women working for social justice.
  • Help cover our administrative and outreach costs through your dues.
Annual Dues:
$40 (Regular Membership)
$75 (Silver Level)
$100 (Gold Level)
$10 (Student Membership)
Send a check (payable to Women's Voices) to: 
Women's Voices
7401 Delmar Blvd. 
University City, MO 63130