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:
September 10, 2014 - Stand with Missouri Women
A group of Women's Voices members traveled to Jefferson City on September 10 for the Stand With Missouri Women rally. Women's Voices was a sponsor of the rally to encourage our legislators to uphold Governor Nixon's veto of the 72-hour waiting bill to obtain a legal abortion. The weather was threatening but the rain held off while the crowd on the capitol steps cheered the speakers who spoke on behalf of women's rights.
Several hours before the rally, a bust of Virginia Minor was installed in the Missouri Hall of Famous Missourians. In 1874, Minor brought a lawsuit to the U.S. Supreme Court seeking the right for women to vote. As Deb Lavender told a reporter before the rally, "What better way to honor Minor's memory than to be out and working to support women's rights."
Minor was unsuccessful in her bid to secure the vote for women but continued to work for women's suffrage until her death in 1992. The legislature overturned the Governor's veto, but, like Minor, we will continue to work on behalf of women and for our rights for reproductive health.
August 28, 2014 - Proud to Be Partners with MCU for Social Justice
Many members of Women's Voices attended the Metropolitan Congregations United public meeting on August 28 where we pledged to work in partnership for justice in health care, education, and voting rights.
Barbara Paulus, WV board member and a leader of MCU, told the crowd at St. Alphonsus "Rock" Church of past successes and led the group in chants celebrating the creation of a community, a region, a state, and a country undivided. MCU was instrumental this past year in securing a bill, signed by Governor Nixon, ending the lifetime ban in SNAP (food stamps) for persons with prior drug-related felony convictions.
Community members told their personal stories:
Rev. Emmett Baker decried the loss of life -including that of his own daughter- of those who did not qualify for Medicaid.
Rene LaFeria, a 59-year-old, said she is too young for Medicare and falls into a "coverage gap," earning too much to qualify for Medicaid but not enough to qualify for Marketplace premium tax credits.
Missouri state legislators were asked to declare that they would work to achieve Medicaid expansion in 2015. Senator Joe Keavany, minority caucus chair, responded with a rousing, "Absolutely!" He added, "The numbers are compelling, the need is compelling, and it is the human thing to do."
Senator Keavany thanked MCU members for coming to Jefferson City to rally for Medicaid expansion. Barbara Paulus, when speaking about MCU members going to Jefferson City every week to garner support for our causes, said they were told by one legislator, "You can't keep coming back here every week!" Her response, and one we will take to heart: "See you next week!"
June 30, 2014 - Annual Pride Parade
Thanks to the 19 Women's Voices members and friends who marched in the St. Louis Pride Parade on Sunday, June 29. Kudos to Ann Ross for coordinating our group! Spectators along the route responded enthusiastically to our signs which had quotes from such wise and famous people as Dr. Seuss, Tennessee Williams and Alice Walker.
May 15, 2014 - The Women's Filibuster - Jefferson City
Mary Ann Tipton and Ann Ross
Women's Voices partnered with Planned Parenthood in a 72-hour filibuster against a bill that would triple the state's mandatory waiting period to 72 hours for a woman seeking safe, legal aortion. The protest ended Thursday at 2 p.m. Our members Mary Ann Tipton and Ann Ross represented us in speaking against this legislation, which has now passed the Senate and the House. We join women all across Missouri in urging Governor Nixon to veto this legislation when it reaches his desk.
Ann Ross read the Women's Voices Position Paper on Reproductive Rights, as well as a message of encouragement from Lisa LeBlanc, whose testimony was read during the Wendy Davis filibuster in Texas. Mary Ann Tipton spoke about the personal experiences of herself and prior generations of women in her family in Missouri, regarding reproductive choice. (Mary Ann's Remarks)