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Loud & Clear
November 2021
November Program
Voter Sabotage: Will YOU Be Able to Vote?
Thursday, November 11, 7 p.m.
The right to vote is taken for granted. For too many, however, that right is being suppressed. Voter suppression is a strategy used to influence outcomes of elections by discouraging or preventing specific groups of people from voting. How do we see it today? In laws that restrict voter access. As of March 2021, according to the Brennan Center for Justice, 361 bills that would restrict voting access have been introduced in 47 states, including Missouri. In the words of John Lewis: “Voting is the most powerful nonviolent tool we have.” Learn from our experts what's happening in Missouri and what you can do to protect everyone's right to vote and have their voice be heard at the ballot box.

Co-Sponsors:
Lunch & Learn: Racial Justice and the Arts in St. Louis
Monday, November 8, noon
Virtual Meeting
Join us as Adam Flores, community outreach and education manager for the St. Louis Shakespeare Festival, and Aaron Williams, cofounder of 4theVille, tell us how their organizations collaborated to bring an original play about the Ville, a historic African American community, to the neighborhood last August. The play attracted large, diverse audiences. This experience was so successful that they are working together, along with several other arts organizations, to save Sumner High School.
Many St. Louis arts organizations are looking through the lens of racial justice to plan programs that will bring people together. The arts can be a great common denominator, and when we gather together to watch a play or listen to music we forget our differences, at least for a little while. Flores and Williams are enthusiastic young men who are dedicated to making a difference in St. Louis.
Racial Justice Movie Club
Virtual Discussion of Video:

Wednesday, November 17, 7 p.m.

Rigged highlights how our right to vote is under attack after years of gerrymandering, voter purges, and the abolition of the Voting Rights Act. Want to watch voter intimidation in action? Watch this documentary.
 
Participants should watch the video prior to the Nov. 17 discussion.
Runtime 1:12:23
Don’t Get Fooled Again: Navigating Today’s Social Media
At the October Women's Voices program, Jennifer Slavik Lohman detailed the social media evils we all fall prey to and explained how we can proactively address them. Based on her research and experience working on campaigns globally, Anat Shenker-Osorio described how we can craft effective messages to communicate accurate and reliable information that can help shape opinions in a positive way. Read the summary here and link to the recorded program here.
Help Stop the Spread of False and Deceptive Messages
To respond to the growing dangers of deceptive information, Women’s Voices is calling on you to educate your community about countering disinformation and we have created the tools to help you do that: greeting cards and door hangers to distribute to family, friends, and neighbors.
What you can do now: 

  • Sign up at womensvoicesraised.org/thankful to request cards and door hangers. You will be able pick up your requested items at designated porches throughout the St. Louis area.
  • Personalize and mail your family and friends our greeting cards preprinted with the seven steps to protect yourself from disinformation. You can use the sample writing scripts we have provided. 

  • Place door hangers throughout your community to educate neighbors on how to identify and stop the spread of misinformation and disinformation, plus how to register to vote.
False information seeps insidiously into communities everywhere. All of us have remarkable access to information from multiple sources, but the same technologies that give us that access also enable people to produce and spread misinformation, disinformation, and manipulative messages faster and farther than ever before. The result is often pervasive extreme and polarizing views that make it impossible for people to find common ground. Without a shared understanding of the truth, we cannot engage in good decision-making on any level (personally or societally). And polarization carries an emotional toll fueled by anger, fear, and conflict between friends and family members.

We are all in this together, and together we can effectively combat disinformation, and come together as one community.
Freedom to Vote Act: Contact Your Senators to Ensure Voting Rights
Whatever our skin color, ZIP code or religion, in America we share the fundamental right of freedom –the freedom to have a say in decisions that impact our lives, from curbing the pandemic to creating jobs to making health care affordable. The Freedom to Vote Act, a transformative bill recently introduced in the U.S. Senate, shows our voices have an impact. This important legislation will protect our right to vote, end partisan gerrymandering, counter undemocratic and dangerous election sabotage efforts, and help eliminate the undue influence of dark money in our elections. 
Contact Sen. Roy Blunt and Sen. Josh Hawley today and tell them to support the Freedom to Vote Act:
 
Senator Blunt:
D.C. Office (202) 224-5721
St. Louis Office:  (314) 725 4484

Senator Hawley:
D.C. Office (202) 224-6154
St. Louis Office:  (314) 354-7060
Make This Call for Justice
Have you heard of Kevin Strickland? Kevin Strickland, an African American convicted by an all-White jury in 1979 of killing three people in Kansas City, MO, has been in Missouri prison for 43 years, although no physical evidence linked him to the crime scene. Prosecutors now state they believe he is innocent and call for his release from prison. More background information is available here. But the important piece to know and act on NOW is that an evidentiary hearing on this matter on November 8 provides an opportunity to pressure Missouri’s Attorney General Eric Schmitt to recommend Kevin Strickland’s immediate release. Please call the attorney general’s office at: 573-751-3321 ASAP to support Strickland’s immediate release.
Domestic Violence: We Can Help Abuse Victims
This week marks the end of Domestic Violence Awareness Month. Town hall meetings and larger-scale public awareness activities such as Turning St. Louis Purple were essential in bringing domestic violence out in the open with public acknowledgment of the issue. The facts don't lie: one in four women and one in seven men experience severe physical violence from an intimate partner in their lifetime. On average, 20 people per minute are physically abused by their partner (ncadv.org/statistics). The cost of domestic violence amounts to more than $37 billion a year in law enforcement involvement, legal work, medical and mental health treatment, and loss of productivity for companies (www.dosomething.org/us).

Missouri statistics are shocking. In 2018, the Violence Policy Center ranked Missouri second among states in the number of women murdered by men. In 2021, World Population Review ranked Missouri third among states in the rate of people who have experienced domestic violence.

Sadly, the mental health needs of most victims/survivors go unmet. And, what is the impact on the children observing this abuse? Many are at risk for long-term physical and mental problems and are at greater risk of being violent in their future relationships. Children need help to feel safe, talk about their fears, talk about boundaries, and get professional help (womenshealth.gov). Shelters provide some services, and an outstanding, respected resource here in St. Louis is Safe Connections, which offers group and individual services free of charge. Their 24-hour crisis hot line is 314-531-2003.

Women’s Voices collaborates with the Missouri Coalition Against Domestic and Sexual Violence, and you can join the Women’s Voices Advocacy Committee to learn about domestic violence. We meet the fourth Monday of each month. Please consider joining us. Abuse is never the survivor's fault, and together we can help to shatter the silence and stop the violence. Contact Karen Francis for information about joining our next meeting Nov. 22.
The Racial Justice Committee Needs You!
Part of the Women’s Voices mission is “to work as individuals and in community for social justice,” and one only needs to review the daily news to see opportunities to make our community a safer and more equitable place to live. All Women’s Voices members are invited to get involved in our vital racial justice work. Getting started is simple:
 

We look forward to getting to know you. 
Remember Mr. Rogers?
Of course you remember the kind, avuncular figure who entertained us and our children for years. Members of the Affordable Housing Task Force especially remember his theme song: “Won’t you be my neighbor?”
 
Getting new neighbors who need affordable housing into desirable communities in the central corridor of St. Louis County is the focus of the work of the Affordable Housing Task Force. Members are researching the average salaries of individuals who work in these communities and the prices of homes and apartments there. They are meeting with their council members, writing letters, talking with their neighbors and joining committees. They are learning about how and why people have been and continue to be excluded. They are committed to the values of diversity and inclusion in their neighborhoods.
 
Does this sound like something you would like to work on? If so, email: housingjustice@womensvoicesraised.org 
 
It’s a beautiful day in the neighborhood…..  
New Grants Support Lock It for Love
The check is in the mail – a $10,000 check from the St. Louis Police Department’s Gun Crime Intelligence Center! Nearly four years of conversations and meetings led to this award to purchase 4,500 gun locks to be distributed by the Gun Crime Intelligence Center and LIFL volunteers and partner organizations. This grant helps ensure that we will be able to provide locks as we expand our network of community partners and continue our work at community events.
 
Lock It for Love’s objectives include providing gun safety information along with gun locks, so we were particularly pleased that our recent grant from the Saigh Foundation is designated for a public education campaign which will focus on the importance of safe gun storage to prevent injuries to and deaths of children. Research indicates that gun owners are more likely to secure their firearms when they know why safe storage is important and when they are provided with a gun lock. In addition to providing safe storage information, the campaign will encourage gun owners to get a free LIFL lock at any of the 30 St. Louis City Fire Stations or from several branches of the St. Louis City and County libraries.
Thanks for Your Support of Social Justice
As we enter the season of thanksgiving, Women’s Voices Raised for Social Justice gives thanks to all of you who have supported us this year and in years past. Your generosity allows us to continue to educate and advocate for policies to right inequalities in the St. Louis community.

Last year, Women’s Voices distributed 1,649 free gun locks through our Lock It for Love program, worked with The Advancement Project to protect voting rights and with Missouri Health Care for All to expand Medicaid. Recently we launched the “Hold the Door Open” initiative promoting affordable housing.

One of the easiest ways you can support us is by making a monthly contribution charged directly to your credit card. You may set up your recurring donation online at https://womensvoicesraised.org/annual-campaign/.

Happy Thanksgiving and Stay Safe!
Women's Voices Members respond to injustice!
Aisha Sultan shares the personal stories of several women about what life was like before Roe v. Wade. In one story Women’s Voices member Maureen Jordan explains how a college friend almost lost her life. Maureen is now a board member of Planned Parenthood of Missouri, Southwest Region.
 
Dee Ban, in her letter to the Webster-Kirkwood Times, writes that the "election lie" is an attack on our democracy and Republicans of integrity need to push back against the deception and misinformation.
 
Barbara Finch, in her letter to the Call newspaper in St. Louis County, urges developers and community and political leaders to work together to include affordable housing at "The Residences at Tesson Ridge."
 
Judi Jennetten, in her letter to the St. Louis Post Dispatch, writes that teachers who refuse to be vaccinated are not professional and deserve to be fired.
 
Ann Mandelstamm, in her letter to the St. Louis Post Dispatch, writes that the Cardinals 17 game winning streak was a great morale booster and suggests we have a parade to celebrate.

Mary Phelan, in her letter to the St. Louis Post Dispatch, writes that teachers need to teach their students about the consequences of the history of slavery and the Holocaust.

Nancy Price, in her letter to the St. Louis Post Dispatch, writes that "people should raise their voices for a fair and transparent redistricting process so that all voices can be heard."

Lynn Sableman, in her letter to the St. Louis Post Dispatch, writes that anti-abortion laws have horrid consequences.
 
Ellen Wentz, in her letter to the St. Louis Post Dispatch, writes that Missouri attorney general Schmitt's dismal record shows that he is less interested in winning cases and more interested in getting publicity. Ellen's letter also appeared in the Webster Kirkwood Times.
 
Ellen Wentz, in her letter to News Press Now, urges readers to contact Senator Blunt and ask him to pass the Freedom to Vote Act and the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act.
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)
or
Send a check (payable to Women's Voices) to: 
 
Women's Voices
7401 Delmar Blvd. 
University City, MO 63130