America’s Prison Crisis – April Meeting

Jeff Smith

Guest Speaker – Jeff Smith, Ph.D.
Executive Director
Missouri Workforce Housing Association

Former – Executive Vice President of Community Engagement & Policy
at Concordance Academy, a St. Louis-based nonprofit
that provides comprehensive re-entry services
to individuals returning to the community after prison.

“The fall from politico to prisoner isn’t necessarily long, but the landing, as Missouri State Senator Jeff Smith learned, is a hard one.

In 2009, Smith pleaded guilty to a seemingly minor charge of campaign malfeasance and earned himself a year and one day in Kentucky’s FCI Manchester. Mr. Smith Goes to Prison is the fish-out-of-water story of his time in the big house; of the people he met there and the things he learned: how to escape the attentions of fellow inmate Cornbread and his friends in the Aryan Brotherhood; what constitutes a prison car and who’s allowed to ride in yours; how to bend and break the rules, whether you’re a prisoner or an officer. And throughout his sentence, the young Senator tracked the greatest crime of all: the deliberate waste of untapped human potential.

Smith saw the power of millions of inmates harnessed as a source of renewable energy for America’s prison-industrial complex, a system that aims to build better criminals instead of better citizens. In Mr. Smith Goes to Prison, he traces the cracks in America’s prison walls, exposing the shortcomings of a racially-based cycle of poverty and crime that sets inmates up to fail. Speaking from inside experience, he offers practical solutions to jailbreak the nation from the financially crushing grip of its own prisons and to jumpstart the rehabilitation of the millions living behind bars.” – St. Martin’s Press

Tuesday, April 9th
6:30 p.m. – Doors Open/Social Time
7:00 p.m. – Meeting Starts

Room 1
Daniel Boone Branch
St. Louis County Library
300 Clarkson Road
Ellisville, MO 63011

Please Bring a Friend!

St. Louis Women’s March for Action

Date:  January 19, 2019

Time: Program starts at 10 a.m.

Where: Meet in front of Union Station, in the park known as Aloe Plaza. An Event map will be available on our Facebook page 48 hours prior to the event.

March: Program will being at 10:00 am with a march to begin at 10:30 and head down Market. It will end in Poelker Park (*pending).  The event will conclude with a selection of speakers, each with a specific message unique to creating change in the St. Louis community. We invite all attendees to remain in the area to turn their inspiration into action at our STL In Action Fair.

STL In Action Fair: BE the change you wish to see in your community! After the march concludes in Poelker Park, vendors, non-profits and community organizations will be set up to offer volunteer and outreach opportunities here in St. Louis. These March Partners will represent a variety of issues and will be as diverse as the local population. In the transformative spirit of the march, we challenge each attendee to commit to at least one hour of action in the next month.

Accessibility: Attendees in wheelchairs are welcome. The march path is accessible and ADA compliant restrooms will be stationed along the route. Interpreters will be available at each stage for our attendees who speak ASL as their first language. A viewing area close to the stage will also be reserved for these patrons.

If you would like to join your neighbors in Chesterfield and march together, please use this sign-up form.

Women’s March for Action

Missouri Photo ID Rules Blocked by Court

We’ve got some fantastic news to share with you!
We received notice that Judge Callahan of the Cole County Circuit Court has blocked key parts of Missouri’s photo ID rules. Please find the full decision attached and view this article for more information.
The Judge’s ruling includes:
1. A prohibition on requiring voters who present valid, non-photo forms of identification from signing an intimidating and confusing affidavit under penalty of perjury,
2. A prohibition on any state advertisements that suggest that a photo ID is required to vote or that voters will be asked for a photo ID at the polls, and
3. A requirement that future advertisements from the Secretary of State explicitly mention that non-photo forms of identification are acceptable to vote.
This ruling will be appealed to the Missouri Supreme Court by Secretary of State Jay Ashcroft and Missouri Attorney General Josh Hawley. But, you can bet we’ll be ready for them! And if we win, then our voting rights landscape will be restored to what it was pre-HB 1631/pre-Amendment 6, which is awesome!
This significant ruling is a consequence of the work of the many, many volunteers – including so many of you all – who participated in efforts to educate voters, monitor implementation of these rules, and speak out against voter suppression. This is also a consequence of the plaintiffs and witnesses who bravely testified about their experiences, despite having been disenfranchised and intimidated by the photo ID rules.
In short, the People took on those who sought to disenfranchise voters, and The People prevailed! The work continues, but this is a moment to celebrate, for sure!
Trish and Jake, on behalf of WE CAN’s Voting Rights team

Events of Interest…


State of the Ferguson Commission Report Town Hall #2

Find out what has been accomplished since the release of the Ferguson Commission Report, what still needs work, and share your insights.

Wednesday, October 10 | 6:30-8:30 pm
Grace Hill Water Tower Hub (North City)


Happening: Clean Energy Revolution film showing

A 55-minute film about technological advance and human resilience followed by discussion. Two showings of the same film. Pizza provided if you arrive early!

Thursday, October 11 | 6:15 pm  OR  Tuesday, October 16  |  6:15 pm
St. Francis Xavier College Church (SLU)  Grand and Lindell


Homing in on Housing Policies: Moving from Segregation to Diverse, Inclusive Communities

Dr. Jason Purnell and Dr. Molly Metzger will speak about a century of discriminatory housing policies and practices in St. Louis.  Thursday, October 11  7 pm  The Heights (Richmond Heights) Ron Stallworth, “The Black KKKman”… speaks Oct 12th, 7 PM @ Webster University, Grant Gymnasium


Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America Monthly Meeting

Hear the latest updates on how to take action in large and small ways to end gun violence in our country. 

Saturday, October 13 | 10-11:30 am   Pilgrim Congregational Church (Central West End)  Thursday, November 1 | 7-8:30 pm   Kirkwood Baptist Church (Kirkwood)


Mass Incarceration of Young Black Men (and Women, Too)

Rev. Dietra Wise Baker, Break the Pipeline Campaign, speaks as part of Aquinas Institute of Theology lecture series. $25 registration required.   Tuesday, October 16 | 6:30-8:30 pm  Aquinas Institute of Theology (SLU)


Budget 202 Webinar

Missouri Budget Project will be hosting a webinar on how to navigate the state budget and advocate for your priorities.  Wednesday, October 17  |   2 pm


Nuns on the Bus: Town Hall for Justice

Join the Catholic Sisters of NETWORK Lobby bus tour “On the Road to Mar-a-Lago”

Wednesday, October 17  |  6 pm  St. Alphonsus “Rock” Church (Grand Center)


Bread for the World Sunday

A moment when we can come together to pray for those who struggle with hunger—and rededicate ourselves to advocate for legislation that will help achieve the international goal of ending hunger by 2030

Sunday, October 21 (or any Sunday in October))



How to lobby your legislator

Scheduled for Thursday, Nov. 8th at St. Clare of Assisi Church (15642 Clayton Road.  Ellisville), The event presents an opportunity to learn how public policy affects all in our region, and what you can do to ensure the needs of all people are considered by law makers. Featured speakers will be Ms. Tamara Kenny (Director of Advocacy and Community Engagement at Catholic Charities) and Father Christopher Martin (Pastor, St. Clare of Assisi). The meeting is scheduled from 6:30-8:30 with pizza and soft drinks provided.  Please RSVP to Ms. Sally Kellogg (314-256-5901 or so that we have an estimate of attendees which will help with plans for food and drink).

Housing Empowers 2018 Annual Conference

The theme of this 117th annual conference is the impact of affordable housing

Saturday, November 17 | Time TBD – Columbia, Missouri

SLATE – If You’ve Been Enjoying All the Donald Trump Subtweets at John McCain’s Funeral, You’ll Love This Anti-Trump Film the U.S. Government Produced in 1943

SLATE – Brow Beat


It’s been a big day for former government officials speaking out against Donald Trump: Ex-presidents Barack Obama and George W. Bush both used their eulogies for John McCain as an opportunity to draw an implicit contrast between the late senator and our current president, while McCain’s daughter Meghan, although not a former government official herself, explicitly invoked Trump’s loathsome campaign slogan. By doing so, they joined a grand tradition of former government officials speaking out against the depravity of Donald Trump, from Jimmy Carter, who called him “a disaster” to Abraham Lincoln, who aptly described him as a “highwayman” in his legendary Never-Trump Cooper Union Speech. But perhaps no current or former employees of the United States government have been as vociferously opposed to Donald Trump’s presidency as the staff of the U.S. Army Signal Corps in 1943, when they released their blistering anti-Trump film, “Don’t Be a Sucker.” A clip from the film went around Twitter in the immediate aftermath of the “Unite the Right” disaster, but here’s the full video, which spares Trump nothing:

It’s a sad day when people who have given their lives to public service, like the filmmakers behind “Don’t Be a Sucker,” feel the need to speak out against a sitting president. It’s even sadder when Felix Bressart, the Lubitsch stock player who plays the professor in “Don’t Be a Sucker” feels the need to look into the camera with gentle disapproval. There’s no shortage of sick burns aimed at Trump here, from the reference to his “oldest and most persistent enemy, the truth,” to the prediction that his “pure-blooded supermen [will be] defeated by the mongrel armies he despise[s].” But for all the swipes, the film ends on a positive note, speaking to the ideals we continually fall short of, but should continually aim at:

You have a right to be what you are and say what you think, because here we have personal freedom. We have liberty. And these are not just fancy words: this is a practical and priceless way of living. But we must work at it. We must guard everyone’s liberty, or we can lose our own. If we allow any minority to lose its freedom by persecution or by prejudice, we are threatening our own freedom. And this is not simply an idea, this is good, hard, common sense. You see, here in America, it is not a question of whether we tolerate minorities. America is minorities.

It’s the most powerful indictment of the president and his stooges since the actual Stooges spoke out against him. At press time, inquiries to the White House about how they would respond to this unprecedented attack from the staff of the U.S. Army Signal Corps circa 1943 went unanswered, as did requests about other anti-Trump films The Great DictatorInglourious BasterdsRaiders of the Lost Ark, and, of course, They Saved Hitler’s Brain


Local Social Justice Events


Women Against Registry National Conference

Women Against Registry seeks to educate Americans about the dangers and damage to American society caused by excessive sexual offense registries and work for change.

August 17-19
Location in Maryland Heights TBD



Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America Monthly Meeting

Hear the latest updates on how to take action in large and small ways to end gun violence in our country.

Saturday, August 18  |  10-11:30am
Pilgrim Congregational Church (Central West End)
Tuesday, August 21  |  7-8:30pm
inStep Church (St. Charles)



Kirkwood Black Lives Matter Vigil

Join the West County Community Action Network for their monthly vigil

Saturday, August 18  |  11:30am
Kirkwood City Hall



Youth Undoing Institutional Racism Open House

Come learn about this new organization and expectations for members. As they work to address racism in the Criminal Justice and Education systems, they look for possible partners.

Sunday, August 19  |  3-4pm
5249 Delmar (University City)



End Racism Discussion Group

Watch and then discuss the TED Talk “The Danger of a Single Story” by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

Monday, August 20  |  7-8:30pm
Ethical Society of St. Louis (Brentwood)



Summer Social Justice Cinema

A showing of a movie about immigrants and refugees

Tuesday, August 21  |  7pm
Gethsemane Lutheran Church (South City)



Major! Film Screening and Q&A

A documentary film that explores the life and campaigns of Miss Major Griffin-Gracy, a formerly incarcerated Black transgender elder and activist who has been fighting for the rights of trans women of color for over 40 years.

Thursday, August 23  |  6-9pm
The Stage at KDHX (Midtown)



Project Clean Sweep

Hundreds of volunteers will come together for a large-scale clean up to jump-start local area neighborhoods.

Saturday, August 25  | 9am-3pm
Walnut Park neighborhood



Community Canvass

Building trust in the Walnut Park neighborhood with the St. Louis Area Violence Prevention Commission

Saturdays, August 25  |  10am-1pm
Walnut Park Neighborhood (North City)



Justice Fleet: Radical Forgiveness

Created and curated by guest artist Dr. Amber Johnson, the pop-up exhibit engages community members in a dialogue that reimagines the “social” in social justice.

Saturday, August 25  |  11am-2pm
St. Louis Public Library Baden Branch (North City)



Northside Trap Run

One-mile walk, 5K walk/run, and festival aimed at empowering north city neighborhoods and unifying grassroots, civic, educational, commercial, and residential efforts to bridge the city’s north-south divide.

Sunday, August 26  |  8am
Northside Community Housing (North City)



Workers Rights Workshop

Organizer Amanda Tello will walk us through worker rights info, as well as ways in which businesses can be prepared for ICE raids.

Wednesday, August 29  |  6pm
MIRA (St. Louis City)



Pick the City UP Tour Finale

Saint Louis Story Stitchers bring their unique brand of urban storytelling about public health issues St. Louis cares about including gun violence prevention. Pay tribute, join the fun, and make a difference.

Friday, August 31  |  7pm
.ZACK (Midtown)



People of Faith Pilgrimage

The North City Deanery Interracial Relations Committee and the Peace & Justice Commission of the Archdiocese invite all to gather as one for their 3rd annual pilgrimage in The Ville neighborhood.

Saturday, September 8  |  9:30am-12:30pm
St. Matthew the Apostle (North City)



Break the Pipeline Mass Meeting

MCU’s monthly meeting for working to break the school-to-prison pipeline

Tuesday, September 11  |  6:30-8pm
Central Reform Congregation (Central West End)



Religious Diversity Seminar: Making Room for All Paths

Diversity Awareness Partnership’s professional development seminars present current trends and strategies to help professionals respond to their employees’ needs.

Thursday, September 13  |  8-11am
Nestle Purina (Downtown)



DeRay McKesson – On The Other Side of Freedom

Join the internationally recognized civil rights leader and host of the podcast Pod Save the People for a timely conversation on culture, social justice, and politics. Tickets required.

Thursday, September 13  |  7pm
Union Avenue Christian Church (Central West End)



Immaculee Ilibagiza Mini-Retreat

New York Times bestselling author of “Left to Tell” brings her message of forgiveness, healing, and hope after surviving the Rwandan Genocide.

Friday-Saturday, September 14-15
Our Lady of Sorrows Catholic Church (South City)



2018 Missouri Poverty Summit

Join Missourians to End Poverty and difference-makers from across the state for a day of community-centered dialogue

Thursday, September 20  |  9am-4pm
Jefferson City



Amnesty International Midwest Regional Conference

Amnesty members and other human rights activists will continue their tradition of engaging in networking opportunities, inspiring plenaries, and hands-on skill-building workshops, as well as shaping the policies of the organization.

Saturday, October 20  |  9am-6pm
Red Lion Hotel (Downtown)



Housing Empowers 2018 Annual Conference

The theme of this 117th annual conference is the impact of affordable housing

Saturday, November 17  |  Time TBD
Columbia, Missouri


CTD Endorses CLEAN MISSOURI Amendment

IMG_1064Chesterfield Township Democrats congratulated and endorsed ten club members last night at its August 14 membership meeting. Those ten members all won their primaries on August 7th. They are: LaDonna Applebaum, 71st, Paula Brown, 70th, Kevin Fitzgerald, 89th, Mike LaBozetta, 99th, Bill Otto, 65th, Helena Webb, 100th, and Genevieve Steidtmann, 101st.  All are seeking seats in the Missouri House of Representatives.

John Kiehne, SD 26, seeking the senate seat representing large swaths of western St. Louis County including Chesterfield and Wildwood and Cort VanOstran, seeking the US House seat from district 2.

Candidates presented their individual campaign strategies for the next three months to the fifty plus members attending the CTD meeting.  Please check their campaign websites and Facebook pages for specific needs and direction for supporting your candidate.

Last night’s main topic was the Clean Missouri Amendment.  Maggie Lallor, Regional Director for the Clean Missouri Campaign highlighted the themes to the constitutional amendment which seeks to limit the influence of lobbyists in Jefferson City, make more transparent the financial donations to candidates, and force redistricting by an independent, non-partisan agency among other items.  You can find out more about Clean Missouri at   In a voice vote, CTD membership gave a full-throated endorsement to Clean Missouri.   Vote YES on Amendment 1!

On a related theme, Mary K. Brown, former Chesterfield City Councilperson for eight years and Wendy Geckler, former Planning Commission member for the City of Chesterfield for twelve years and both members of CTD, spoke to membership about the emergence of “dark money” and unethical campaign tactics by city councilpersons currently on the Chesterfield City Council.  During last April’s election, one candidate received the financial support from outside the city and region beyond the scope of the candidate’s own campaign treasury.  When several CTD members approached the city council to ask councilpersons and the mayor to declare against “dark money” by way of personal and committee resolution, the motion was tabled, and the matter killed.  Chesterfield city council refuses to disclaim the influence of Dark Money their campaigns. Click here for more detail.

Please be sure to put the next meeting of the Chesterfield Township Democrats on your calendar.  It will feature updates on these issues and more, including a workshop for supporting candidates which will be led by Stacy Newman, former Missouri House Representative from district 87.

Steidtmann School Supply Drive a “Thunderous” Success

Park Event

Promptly at 5 p.m., the scheduled start of Genevieve Steidtmann’s School Supply Drive  celebration a clap of thunder introduced a 45 minute rain shower. But the rain did not dampen the spirits of the women, men and children attending in support of Genevieve Steidtmann for MO House 101. The 101st includes much of Chesterfield and Wildwood.  The school supply drive netted nearly $1,200 dollars worth of school supplies.

Attending in support of Genevieve’s campaign were sitting representatives Deb Lavender of the 90th, and, all the way from Springfield, MO Crystal Quade. Quade represents the 132 district in that Southwest Missouri City, most notably around the city core and Missouri State and Drury Universities. Yes, there are Democrats in Greene County. Boris Abadzhyan, a candidate in the 71st  facing a primary challenge joined the women giving all those in attendance a glimpse of what the Missouri House might look like come January, 2019.

Steidtmann was non-plussed about the rain. “Right now, I am running a campaign here;  I have to let someone else handle the weather.” Steidtmann said that the drive isn’t over and she encouraged constituents to purchase schools supples for their respective school districts.

In light of the growing wave of endorsements and support she’s received, her positions on healthcare, education, jobs and civil rights the




for the Missouri House of Representatives serving District 101.


Click on the image above to visit the Steidtmann for Missouri website

Genevieve will be at the Chesterfield Township Democrats August 14 and September 11th meetings seeking your support. Be sure to attend, meet Genevieve and other candidates and prepare yourself to get out the vote in November.