It happened again. Another human life was taken without accountability. Leaders in government stood before cameras and tried to explain it away. People in the community grieved, mourned and cried out. They were struck down and voices quelled by excursions of intimidation from the very public employees they pay to serve them.
This could describe the events surrounding the death of Breonna Taylor Wednesday in Louisville, Kentucky. The paragraph also accurately describes every day’s evening news coverage of the COVID-19 pandemic and the more than 200,000 Americans lost. With now less than forty (40) days to local and federal elections, it’s time for each and every one of us to be counted among those who have had enough with government inaction to protect our lives.
Last Thursday, David Nehrt-Flores, manager of Deaconess Center for Child Well-Being, worked with the St. Metropolitan Clergy Coalition to host a Zoom meeting with Rev. Al Sharpton of the National Action Network and hundreds of local clergy about policy advocacy and voter mobilization. Tuesday, September 22, was both National Voter Registration Day and the first day for in-person absentee voting in Missouri. I marked it by joining Rev. Traci Blackmon, associate general minister for Justice and Local Church Ministries of the United Church of Christ (UCC), in a national voter registration training broadcast by the Black Church PAC. This followed closely our work together two days before for Voter Mobilization Sunday at Christ the King UCC.
I’m excited to see such robust action by communities of faith for this election. Assuring true democracy this season will take all of us and all our energies. Deaconess Foundation is up for the fight. In fact, we’ve made a few changes to own calendars to make room for team members and partners to engage more deeply.
First, between now and the election, our staff team members are all encouraged to dedicate four (4) hours per week from paid Foundation time to engage in voter education, registration, and mobilization efforts. While we always encourage voting and provide time off to do so, this year our offices will be closed on election day, November 3, so staff members can serve as poll workers and participate in day-of get out the vote efforts. (You may see Kiesha Davis, our Director of Partnership and Capacity Building, or Matt Oldani, our Vice President of Operations, as election judges in the city and county, respectively.)
Deaconess Center for Child Well-Being is hosting free notary services for mail-in ballots. We recognize mail-in voting is now available and mail-in ballots must be legally notarized. So, we have scheduled notary hours, with community volunteers, at Deaconess Center. Local notaries will be on the campus of Deaconess Center for Child Well-Being to notarize mail-in ballots at no charge to voters on the following days and times.
- Tuesday, October 6 (3:00 pm – 6:00 pm)
- Wednesday, October 14 (11:00 am – 2:00 pm)
- Thursday, October 22 (3:00 pm – 6:00 pm)
- Monday, October 26 (3:00 pm – 6:00 pm)
For questions or to learn more about notary hours contact David Nehrt-Flores at 314.338.0273 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Join us in this work. Consider becoming a poll worker or volunteering with one of our Partner organizations engaged in electoral justice work. See the links below for information on working the polls in Deaconess’ grantmaking footprint.
- City of St. Louis
- St. Louis County
- St. Charles County
- Franklin County
- Jefferson County
- Madison County (IL)
- St. Clair County (IL) (Must confirm registration status first.)
- East St. Louis (recruits separately)
- Monroe County (IL)
As I said before, this effort will take all of us. Inclusive democracy calls for all hands on deck. Roll up your sleeves. Make your plan to vote. Then, let’s make sure every voice and vote gets counted!
For our children,