Many of our members frequently write letters to the editor or commentary articles, and many regularly communicate with local, state and national representatives. Whether they do it as individuals or as members of Women's Voices, our members are speaking out, and their voices are being heard. Here are some other events our members have attended, and efforts undertaken by the whole group:
June 30, 2013 - St. Louis Pride Parade
The Pride parade moved to downtown St. Louis this year, and a large contingent of Women's Voices members and friends moved right along with it. Carrying our banner and signs with interesting quotations from LGBT individuals, more than two dozen of us marched up Market St. from the City Garden to Union Station The weather was perfect (cool!) and the crowds were huge.
Marching in the Pride parade is an almost-annual event for Women's Voices; it was the first group activity that the founders organized in 2005. Why do we love the Pride Parade? Author Cheryl Strayed summed it up for us, in her book, "Tiny Beautiful Things":
Have you ever been to a LGBT Pride parade? Every year I take [my children] to the one in our city and every year I cry while watching it. There are the drag queens riding in Corvettes. There are the queer cops and firefighters all spiffed out in their uniforms. There are the lesbians on bicycles pulling their kids on tag-alongs and trailers. There are the gay samba dancers in thongs and feathers. There are the drummers and politicians and the odd people who are really into retro automobiles. There are choirs and brass bands and battalions of people riding horses. There are real estate agents and clowns, schoolteachers and Republicans. And they all go marching by us while my kids laugh and I weep.
My kids never understand why I'm crying. The parade seems like a party to them, and when I try to explain that the party is an explosion of love that has its roots in hate, I only confuse them more, so together we just stand on the sidelines, laughing and crying, watching that ecstatic parade.
I think I cry because it always strikes me as sacred, all those people going by. People who decided simply to live their truth, even when doing so wasn't simple. Each and every one of them had the courage to say, This is who I am even if you'll crucify me for it.
June 11, 2013 - To Protect and Welcome
Women's Voices was one of several sponsors of "To Protect and Welcome," an educational program on LGBT discrimination protections in the St. Louis area held at the Kirkwood Community Center.
PROMO, Missouri's advocacy organization for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender equality, presented a brief power point describing the actions they are taking and the progress being made to obtain nondiscrimination ordinances by area municipalities.
Marilyn Sue Warren, Susan Hayman, Mary Clemons and Karel Hippert learned that 400,000 Missourians now live in communities that have ordinances to protect the LGBT community from discrimination in employment and/or housing, though enforcing these ordinances varies from one community to another. Many of our major employers and small businesses support the PROMO efforts.
More information about PROMO may be obtained from: http://promoonline.org/issues/local.html
April 20, 2013
A chilly April morning found Women's Voices members and friends among approximately 100 people who showed up in Clayton to protest the vote cast by Missouri Senator Roy Blunt in the debate on gun control legislation. Sen. Blunt was among those who voted "no" and thus ended debate on a number of proposals designed to help curb gun violence in this country.
Photo by Stephanie Cordle firstname.lastname@example.org
A large contingent of members and friends of Women's Voices joined with other activists at Kiener Plaza in downtown St. Louis to demand an end to gun violence in this country. The rally was sponsored by Moms Demand Action and featured a number of prominent St. Louisans, including Mayor Francis Slay, Police Chief Sam Dotson, and State Representative Stacey Newman.
The Rev. James T. Morris, pastor of the Lane Tabernacle CME Church, held the crowd spellbound as he recounted the harrowing days, weeks and months that followed the shooting of his young son, Damien, who was severely wounded in a drive-by shooting. Damien sat nearby in his wheelchair as his father spoke.
Dr. Bo Kennedy from St. Louis Children's Hospital and Dr. Robert Flood of Cardinal Glennon Hospital for Children, both emergency room physicians, recounted stark statistics about the number of guns in America and the damage they routinely see in the course of their daily work. "I believe gun violence in this country amounts to child abuse," Dr. Flood said. "We must do whatever we can, whatever it takes, to put an end to this madness."
40th Anniversary of Roe v Wade - Jan. 24, 2013
Members of Women's Voices and other pro-choice supporters in St. Louis gathered at Central Reform Congregation to mark the 40th anniversary of Roe v Wade, which made abortion legal in the United States.
Speaker at the event was the Rev. Traci Blackmon, pastor of Christ the King United Church of Christ in Florissant and member of the board of directors of Planned Parenthood.
"For many women, Rove v Wade is an instrument of peace," she said. "Abortion will always happen. The issue is whether it will be safe and legal."
Women's Voices is a member of the Freedom of Choice Council, which sponsors the yearly event to raise money to provide buses for lobby days to Jefferson City in the spring.
"Now Is The Time" Forum on Gun Violence - Jan. 17, 2013
Women's Voices Raised for Social Justice and Central Reform Congregation co-sponsored this forum, which was hosted by State Representatives Jeanne Kirkton of Webster Groves and Stacey Newman of Richmond Heights.
A near-capacity crowd filled the sanctuary to listen to comments by two physicians, a former police chief, a rabbi, the two state representatives, and St. Louis Journalist Ray Hartmann, who moderated the proceedings. The event followed the publication of President Barack Obama's recommendations to control gun violence in America, and those attending left with a variety of suggestions about how to advocate for a safer, saner America.
Medicaid Expansion Campaign Kickoff - January 16, 2013
On Wednesday morning, January 16, over 20 Women's Voices members and friends joined nearly 200 St. Louis area residents at a Press Conference to kick-off the campaign to advocate for expansion of Medicaid in Missouri. Organizers of the press conference were members of a state-wide coalition representing over 20 organizations, including Women's Voices. Similar events were held in Kansas City and Springfield, Missouri.
Read a summary of the press conference here.
You can also follow the coalition on Facebook.