December 20, 2023
So I don’t bury the lead; this is a fundraising letter and then some. 🙂
As I close out 2023, like many of you, I am reflecting on what I learned, how I showed up as a leader, what we accomplished, what seeds we planted for future harvests, and the larger sociopolitical context in which we exist – and what most resonates with me is an interrogation of the history we are writing today based on our values and how we act on those values.
While every year is essential on the path to our collective liberation, 2024 is especially an inflection point for our region, country, and who we are in the larger context of this world. 2024 will be a year where neutrality, inaction, and silence are just as vicious as the loud and violent behaviors of frontline obstructionists of our freedom work.
In 2024, we have got to give it all we can to protect and restore our humanity. How we vote, what we put our dollars towards, what uncomfortable conversations we have, and what we do with our time will affect our history. And, there is a right side of history.
Who will we choose to be in 2024, ten years after the Ferguson Uprising? And, 20 years from 2024, what stories will we tell our grandchildren, what will be true of our region, what will our textbooks say about us? What did we have the courage, faith, and discipline to do for our babies and their futures?
Now, more than ever, we need your support. We need you to join us as a donor and partner in this work. Your partnership is the driving force towards living out our shared mission and collective future.
As I think about all that has happened in 2023 and what is on the horizon – attacking the well-being of our communities, I am reminded that making change is rarely nice, never linear, far from easy, and inevitably controversial. But that doesn’t negate our responsibility to engage. Here’s a snapshot of what we are up against in our home state:
- We will end this year with the Supreme Court banning affirmation action, which has now led to legal attacks on funds that support women and people of color-led businesses.
- We will end this year with the potential of approximately 11,000 babies losing access to childcare across Missouri, joining the 41,000+ babies here in St. Louis who already lack access.
- We will end this year with a growing number of Missourians living in poverty and being forced to choose which bills to pay when things like housing, childcare, and food should be a civil right.
“You're not to be so blind with patriotism that you can't face reality. Wrong is wrong, no matter who does it or says it.” – Malcolm X
So, who is WEPOWER in this moment? What do we believe, and how will we act on our beliefs as we transition into 2024, a historic window in our region and country?
Who We Are
As a proud community of Black and Latinx changemakers and entrepreneurs from STL and ESTL, we declare a commitment to be on the right side of history. We are aunties, freedom fighters, mamas, business owners, early childhood educators, grandmamas, neighbors, and future public leaders. We envision a future where systems are accountable to powerful communities that have been historically oppressed and nurture our freedom, well-being, dreams, and joy.
What We Believe
- We believe all people have value.
- We believe power is a human right.
- We believe we have a collective responsibility to each other.
- We believe in a democratic and self-determined economy.
- We believe high-quality, safe, and joyful educational opportunities are a civil right, starting at birth.
What We Do
We reimagine social systems, activate the power of people and partners, and shape and shift public narratives to win campaigns that can lead to measurable improvements in the life outcomes of marginalized people, especially Black and Latinx families.
What This Looks Like In 2024
- Winning approximately $100 million in public funding for early childhood and supporting values-aligned campaigns to support the well-being of babies and families.
- Reimagining St. Louis’s local economy to be one that puts people over profits.
- Investing in, training, and supporting changemakers and biz owners to create the conditions for our babies and communities to thrive.
What We Are Calling On YOU To Do
- Fund our freedom work with a donation by the end of 2023.
- Call on the St. Louis Board of Aldermen to earmark $60 million of the Ram’s Settlement towards early childhood education.
- Reimagine STL’s economy as a Design Fellow or join a Solutions Team.
“This may only be a dream of mine, but I think it can be made real.” – Ella Baker
WEPOWER’s 2024 priorities are bold but necessary. Your engagement with us and other organizations working on the frontline in 2024 might require some sacrifice, but we have a new history to write. We have wrongs to right. We have babies and families to prioritize and protect.
So, please invest in WEPOWER, and then get some rest before we get to work!