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Loud & Clear
October 2021
Don't Get Fooled Again: Navigating Today's Social Media
Thurs., Oct. 14, 2021, 7 p.m.
Virtual Program

Identifying disinformation on social media can sometimes be difficult. Join us to learn how to check facts and get tools to prevent the spread of misleading information. Our speakers will also provide strategies to convey effective fact-based messages on social media and in our letters to the editor.
Speakers:
Jennifer Slavik Lohman, co-founder of the St. Louis Area Voter Protection Coalition, In Every Generation Inc., and Indivisible St. Louis
Anat Shenker-Osorio, principal and founder of ASO Communications and host of the Words to Win By podcast
Racial Justice Movie Club
Wednesday, October 27, 7 p.m.
Virtual discussion of documentary: Trust Me


"Trust Me" gives viewers an inside perspective into how media outlets capitalize on humans' attraction to stories about violence, how and why humans share misinformation, how web algorithms distort how we see the world, and how the news can impact mental health. Viewers will learn ways to detect misinformation and receive suggestions on how we can limit the spread of false narratives. 

Participants should watch the documentary prior to the October 27 discussion. Trust Me is available on Kanopy, which is a free resource available through your local library. 
Sign in or create an account at https://www.kanopy.com/
Advocating for Reproductive Freedom
Susan Glassman, Anne Litwin and Ruth Ehresman attend the #StoptheBans Rally. Photo Credit: Mary Ann Tipton
Advocacy Committee chair Karen Francis writes: I hope many of you were able to join us at the October 2 Stop the Bans Rally in St. Louis. Women's Voices is proud to be a member of the #StoptheBans Coalition to show our support for women's health care, rights, and freedoms. This is especially crucial now that the U.S. Supreme Court is preparing to hear arguments determining the future of Roe v Wade. Across the country 25 million women of reproductive age live in a state where they could lose abortion access if Roe is overturned.
In Missouri, Roe has become meaningless as many women- disproportionately people with low incomes, people of color, or those living in rural communities--already cannot access abortion because of countless medically unnecessary restrictions. We're hearing that many states, including Missouri, will be introducing “copycat” legislation like that passed in Texas this term.

When I worked as a counselor at an abortion clinic provider, women shared heartbreaking stories of why abortion was their best option. A 12-year- old was raped by a family friend. A 21-year-old was raped by her stepfather a few weeks after her mother died. And on and on. According to a recent Forbes article, “a majority of Americans across the country believe abortion should be legal, and more than 60% believe people should be able to obtain abortions during the first trimester” (the first 12 weeks of pregnancy). Ninety-one % of all abortions are performed in the first trimester, according to the CDC (as reported by Mother Jones, April, 2019).

Women's Voices advocates for reproductive freedom and health care. We need to let our legislators, who work for us, know why reproductive justice is vital for all people. We invite you to join our Advocacy Committee. We meet the 4th Monday of every month. Consider this a personal invitation to join our Zoom meeting on October 25 at 1 p.m. Contact Karen Francis if you'd like to attend.
Task Force Joins Call for Criminal Legal System Reform
Several members of the Racial Justice Committee formed a task force this year to learn more about criminal legal reform. The task force, co-chaired by Anne Litwin and Mary Schuman, has chosen to continue support of policing reform efforts, to partner with Empower Missouri on re-entry issues, and to learn more about Innocence Project efforts here in Missouri.
 
Twenty-six thousand people are currently in Missouri prisons. Some of them will be returning each year to their communities, but the re-entry process is nearly impossible to overcome. Some of those people were wrongly convicted. The racial balance of the current prison population is grossly unequal. Add unsafe detention centers, a woefully underfunded public defender system, and nearly a third of Missouri’s population under one kind of supervision or another, it becomes clear that the system needs reform at every level.
 
Reform of a system is overwhelming until one looks at small, commonsense reforms that could change the lives of thousands of Missourians, and that is what this task force has begun to do. We are optimistic because reform efforts at all levels of the criminal legal system are gaining strength through research, community education and a growing number of advocacy partnerships. The demands for police reform coming from protests in the streets are now making their way into policy-making bodies. During last year’s legislative session, several reform bills had bipartisan support. We believe that more can be done in this session and that now is a good time to step up our education and advocacy efforts. If you are interested in joining the Criminal Legal Reform Task Force, which is a part of the Racial Justice Committee, we invite you to contact Mary and Anne.
Affordable Housing Task Force Addresses Kirkwood Council and County Equity Commission
The Affordable Housing Task Force has been busy over the past month. In early September, Ellen Wentz, Mary Clemons, Barbara Richter and Karen Coulson were actively involved in Kirkwood’s consideration of rezoning a property from single-family to multifamily units. Our team sent comments to every Kirkwood City Council member, received responses from several, attended the council meeting, and apparently persuaded one member to vote to support the zoning change! Additional meetings with council members will be scheduled soon. Although the measure did not pass, Women’s Voices is now on the council’s radar as an important voice in Kirkwood’s affordable housing conversation.
 
On September 28, Shannon Koenig, executive director for the Housing Authority of St. Louis County, joined us for an outstanding Lunch & Learn event. She discussed the work of the Housing Authority and shared ideas on how to provide more affordable housing in our community. On September 29, Barbara Harris, co-chair of the Racial Justice Committee (RJC), and Liz Sondhaus, co-chair of the RJC’s Affordable Housing Task Force, provided a PowerPoint presentation to the St. Louis County Equity Commission highlighting the challenges of finding affordable housing in the Central Corridor and offering our ideas to address this important community issue.
A Look at the Local Landscape for Affordable Housing
At the September Lunch & Learn, Shannon Koenig, executive director of the St. Louis County Housing Authority, explained the role of governments in providing affordable housing for cost-burdened households—those who spend more than 30% of income on housing. She said one in four households in St. Louis County is cost burdened, which means they have less money for other needs such as food and health care. Koenig offered suggestions on how Women's Voices members can work to expand affordable housing availability.

Environmental Racism: Alive and Well in St. Louis
At the Women's Voices September meeting, speakers Jeanette Mott Oxford and Myisha A. Johnson, both members of the Metropolitan Congregations United Environmental Justice team, opened our eyes to the under-acknowledged environmental racism resulting from historically racist policies in St. Louis City and the surrounding region.
 
Environmental racism, they said, is evident in areas where communities of people of color are not as protected from environmental and health hazards as majority-White communities and where residents do not have equal access to policy-making processes that affect their home environments.
 
Lock It for Love Returns to Community Events
Although the number of community and health fairs has not returned to pre-pandemic levels, in recent months several events have resumed -- with appropriate COVID-19 precautions – and Lock It for Love volunteers have been there to distribute gun locks and gun safety information. Since June, we have participated in twelve events, including the three-day Taste of Black St. Louis where we distributed 148 locks. We’re not done yet: we have three more community events scheduled in October. Additionally, our partnerships with the St. Louis Fire Department and the city and county libraries provide locations where our gun locks are available directly to those who need them. If you would like to help purchase gun locks for community events and for our partnerships, you can donate here.
Help Strengthen Our Collective Voice!
Women’s Voices Raised for Social Justice has a goal of having 600 members by the end of this year. The more members we have the more we can influence decision makers to take actions that advance equity and justice for all, abolish discrimination, and protect the planet.
You can help us increase membership in several ways:
Help us reach our membership goal and increase our collective voice on social justice issues!
Kudos!
Karen Kalish has been named a St. Louis Business Journal Champion of Diversity and Inclusion. The journal reports that "in 2007, Karen Kalish launched Home Works! The Teacher Home Visit Program to focus on parent and family involvement in low-performing area schools. Since then, the program has impacted thousands of students and their families."
Women's Voices Members respond to injustice!
Barbara Finch, in her letter to the San Angelo Standard-Times, explains why she has cancelled a trip to Texas following the passing of the new restrictive abortion law.

Barbara Finch, in her letter to the St. Louis American, writes about the arrogance of developer Paul McKee to name a 3 bed urgent care center "Homer G. Phillips Hospital."

Karen Kalish, in her letter to the St. Louis Post Dispatch, writes that it is poverty that puts children on a path to begin school behind and never catch up. 
 
Joanne Kelly, in her letter to the St. Louis Post Dispatch, says that consumers need effective ways to combat plastic pollution.
 
Sherilyn Krell, in her letter to the St. Louis Post Dispatch, argues that it many not be that much safer here than in Afghanistan.

Individual members' letters do not necessarily reflect the position of the organization.
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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.
  • Participate in advocacy activities in any way that you want or is possible for you.
  • 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