APRIL 30, 2020
Moving Towards a Measurably Different St. Louis
What are we moving towards, together? Because there is no turning back from here.
We can move towards a new way of co-existing, screaming and kicking, clinging and grasping to the toxic behaviors and beliefs that are killing Black people, OR we can choose to embrace a radically different way of being:
- in relationship with one another
- in relationship with our history, our present, and our future
- stewards of the world our children will inherit
- accountable for outcomes instead of applauded for activity
- led by the voices, solutions, decisions, and experiences of impacted communities who are being hit way too hard by this pandemic
This past weekend, as I read an excerpt from one of my favorite thought leaders and organizers, adrienne maree brown, she offered a quote that feels so appropriate for the moment in our region, our country, and our world’s history.
“...that in the destruction of something lies a whole new world of possibility–a place where patterns can finally become unhinged and there’s space for something new to take its place. Not that this doesn’t come without loss, grief, devastation, it often does. But, to see that there’s also resilience, the beauty of survival, the move to create and thrive despite what surrounds us. To me that’s the essence of our fight for liberation.” --Spenta Kandawalla
Amidst this pandemic and as the curve appears to flatten, as loss, grief, and devastation feel less palpable for some while remaining normal for many who reside in zip codes like 63115, what do we choose to move towards beyond today? And, when we arrive, how will we know?
I propose we move towards a measurably different St. Louis. We will know we arrived because racial equity will not be a feeling, it will be an entirely different set of outcomes that can be measured. We have everything–people, resources, the most opportune time–we need to move towards a liberated future.
We can choose to move towards a measurably different St. Louis where life expectancy isn’t 85 in zip code 63105 (Clayton) and 67 in zip code 63115 (North St. Louis City). We can choose to move towards a measurably different St. Louis where 44% of our Black children in St. Louis City no longer live in poverty compared to only 11% of White children. We can choose to move towards a measurably different St. Louis where there isn’t a dearth of quality, affordable ECE slots in North St. Louis areas like Walnut Park, the Ville, O’Fallon, and Jeff-Vander-Lou.
We can choose to move towards #stl2039 (page 11).
Will you join us?
We offer some ways for you to be in relationship with us as we make strategic movement towards #stl2039 this year.
- Sign up to phone bank households in 63115 zip code during the pandemic. We are phone banking households in the 63115 zip code, one of WEPOWER’s priority areas since our inception, to build relationships, connect folks to the St. Louis Mutual Aid efforts and STL Quarantine Support, and to begin building awareness about voting in November 2020.
- Read and sign on to the Playbook to reimagine early childhood education in St. Louis. Now, more than ever, our early childhood system is being impacted by woeful underfunding and lack of coordination, causing harm to many families and those who care for them.
- Sign on in support of reimagining the future of Saint Louis Public Schools. Our community members leading the What’s Next SLPS Campaign listened to over 400 parents, educators, and St. Louisans to co-create a vision and set of policy solutions to inform equitably improving SLPS.
- Lead early childhood, K12, and economic change by becoming a Power Builder. Through the Power Building Academy, Black and Latinx changemakers from our priority neighborhoods (wards 3, 9, 20, 21, and Normandy and Airport townships) will develop skills to analyze power and systems, design new policy solutions, and organize for change.
- Prepare to become the future elected or appointed leader our region needs! This summer, WEPOWER is launching Chisholm's Chair–a pilot seven-month leadership development opportunity for Black and Latinx women in the St. Louis region who are interested in pursuing elected or appointed leadership. Chisholm's Chair is for women who are willing to work across lines of difference, listen deeply to others, and lead with humility and love.
- Join our giving community as we work to activate 100+ new changemakers and entrepreneurs who work to improve early childhood education, K12 education, and economic opportunity in our region.
This moment calls on us to be in a real relationship with one another to actively move towards a measurably different St. Louis. Let’s get to work.
In power and with love,