Police Reform and Accountability
Sign the Petition
Governor Parson must call a special session on police reform and accountability.
While states across the country are addressing systemic racism and police brutality, Missouri is attempting to sweep the problem under the rug and ignore the voices of Missouri’s most vulnerable who have, for decades, been calling for reform.
To address violent crime in our communities, we must reimagine policing; the tired old broken windows policies have proven ineffective and deadly.
Join us in telling Governor Parson to hold a special session to address Police Reform. Holding a special session on crime and not police reform will only further divide Missouri and will not decrease violence.
Send a Letter to Senators
The Senate returned to work on Monday, July 20 under immense pressure to act on additional COVID-19 relief legislation. Before they went home on recess, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Republican leadership claimed their next COVID-19 relief package would be about “bringing back jobs and making sure we take care of our kids.” We need your help to make sure that’s more than an empty promise, because our children and families need help now to weather this crisis.
COVID-19 continues to pose an unprecedented public health, economic, and unemployment crisis across our country that is magnifying the effects of systemic racism and long-standing racial and economic disparities. And the needs of our nation’s most vulnerable children—especially Black children and other children of color, immigrant children, and children in the child welfare system—are growing more urgent each day. Yet for months, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has ignored their suffering and dire need for assistance by refusing to bring to the Senate floor any additional COVID-19 relief legislation.
The good news for the Senate is that we already know exactly what our kids and families need to weather this crisis. But each day the Senate refuses to take action, more children are going hungry, becoming homeless, and falling into poverty.
The Senate must immediately move forward additional COVID-19 legislation, including the many critical provisions for children and families as included in the HEROES Act, as well as additional measures to get children and families the assistance they desperately need and start to address growing racial disparities in our country.
Keep Them Accountable
On Monday, July 13, Deaconess Foundation joined 12 partner organizations to release a set of demands that lay out the first steps to eliminate systemic racism embedded in St. Louis’ public safety systems. These demands follow weeks of protest that surged after the police killing of George Floyd.
Of the five demands, one is already on the way to completion: close the St. Louis Medium Security Institution, most commonly referred to as The Workhouse. This closure, while almost certainly happening, it is not yet finalized. Only when the bill absolutely authorizing its closure is passed by the St. Louis Board of Aldermen and signed by Mayor Krewson will it be considered a win for this table of organizations.
Deaconess is centering the needs of our marginalized neighbors and families during the COVID-19 pandemic.
On Friday, March 13th, we joined 18 local advocacy groups making Public Health Policy Recommendations for Missouri’s COVID-19 Response. We are pleased the calls and petition have gained traction and the attention of local media. Make no mistake. While schools, large convenings and even restaurants are closed, democracy must remain open for business. So, please stay vigilant with elected officials making policy without public contact or input.
On July 17th, our CDF Freedom Schools Scholars joined over 180 Children’s Defense Fund Freedom School sites in 87 cities and 28 states across the country for a National Day of Social Action. Our Scholars went to City Hall to offer solutions to gun violence in their communities to Mayor Lyda Krewson and President of the Board of Aldermen Lewis E. Reed.
A little over a week ago, Rev. Dr. Starsky Wilson joined the chorus of more than 160 children and youth who visited City Hall calling our region’s leadership to take action.
In the local epidemic of gun violence that has taken the lives of nearly twenty children this summer, our pain is palpable and must be met with compassion for our children. Perhaps like yours, his family has been touched by this moment and has been moved to action.
In a column in the St. Louis American newspaper, Dr. Wilson detailed specific actions Mayor Lyda Krewson can take to demonstrate moral leadership and provide ongoing, proactive supports for our young people in light of this moment. Unfortunately, much of the public rhetoric has further criminalized youth and their communities.
At Deaconess, we work for safe communities where children and youth thrive. We hope you will join us in urging Mayor Krewson to use the arms of our city to embrace and support our grieving children by taking three simple actions:
Staff and fund the role of
“Commissioner of Youth Services”
as called for in the
St. Louis City Charter;
These actions would shift away from the failed arrest-and-incarcerate approach to public safety and invest in the flourishing of our children and families. People-centered investments are a manifest expression of our city’s commitment to the health and well-being of its citizens and are proven to reduce violence.
More than 20 organizations joined us in calling on our Mayor to take moral action for the children of St. Louis. We were in direct communication with the Mayor on these matters and shared your concern.