Human Rights/Well-Being

Muslim-Jewish Advisory Council Statement on Bomb Threats

February 22, 2017 – New York –This past weekend, 11 Jewish Community Centers across the country were victims of bomb threats, bringing the total to 69 hate crimes targeting 54 Jewish Community Centers in 27 states since January, according to news reports.  We call on the Federal Bureau of Investigation and state and local law enforcement to aggressively pursue investigations of these crimes and provide the public with updates on the status of their investigations. “The bomb threats to the Jewish Community Centers add to a disturbing trend in similar crimes against people of faith, and it is a grave concern for all Americans,” said Council Co-Chair Farooq Kathwari.

On Monday, more than 100 headstones were overturned at Chesed Shel Emeth Cemetery in St Louis. Last month, a mosque in Victoria, Texas, was burned and an Islamic Center in Davis, California, was vandalized. “These crimes against cemeteries and houses of worship cannot be tolerated and we expect them to be investigated and prosecuted,” said Council Co-Chair Stanley M. Bergman.

The Muslim-Jewish Advisory Council is committed as a national coalition of American Muslims and American Jews to work with federal, state, and local officials to uphold the principles of religious freedom upon which this country was founded and ensure that our country reverses this rise in crimes directed at people of faith.

Vandalism, Bomb Threats Cause Concern About Rising Anti-Semitism

More than 100 headstones were reportedly damaged or toppled in a historic Jewish cemetery in University City, Mo., on Monday, in what local media says was likely an act of vandalism carried out by an organized group. The incident follows a new round of bomb threats at Jewish community centers (including the St. Louis JCC). It’s the fourth time this year that multiple Jewish institutions have received threats in tandem, causing alarm over what some say is a rise of anti-Semitism in the U.S.  Read more

MO Prepares to Implement Voter Photo ID Law

December 31, 2016  Although he has not formally taken office, Missouri’s next secretary of state is working to implement a new state law requiring voters to show photo identification at the polls. Republican Jay Ashcroft told the Post-Dispatch Friday that he was in talks with the Legislature to ensure there is enough funding for the voter photo ID law. And, he is crafting guidelines for how it will work if someone shows up at the polls without an ID card. Read more

Missourians No Longer have Right to Vote Protected in State’s Constitution

The passage of Amendment 6 on November 8, 2016 is unprecedented as the first effort in the nation to strip a constitutionally protected right to vote from a state constitution.

“Legislators pushed forward the effort to pass a confusing amendment in order to implement a restrictive photo ID law they knew was unconstitutional,” said Missouri State Conference of the NAACP President Nimrod Chapel.  “We will work with the community to make sure the rights of Missouri voters are restored.”

Missouri now joins the ranks of 17 other states that have put restrictions on voting since the U.S. Supreme Court gutted a key provision of the Voting Rights Act in 2013. The 2016 presidential elections were the first in 50 years without the full protections of the Voting Rights Act in place.

“The tactics of voter suppression laws have changed since the days of literacy tests and poll taxes, but the outcome of making it harder for people to vote remains the same,” said Denise Lieberman, Advancement Project Senior Attorney and coordinator of the Missouri Voter Protection Coalition.  Click here for more

Standing with the LGBT Community: Hate Has No Place

Women’s Voices Raised for Social Justice joins with many other organizations and individuals in the St. Louis community and across the country in condemning the brutal act of violence that took 49 lives and injured 53 others in Orlando FL on June 12.   This massacre, motivated by hate and bigotry, can not and must not go unanswered.  

We will continue our commitment to common sense gun regulation, including a ban on military style assault weapons.  We will continue to speak out against discrimination against people based on sexual orientation, race, religion or gender.  We will come together in solidarity with the majority of Americans who believe in the founding principles of our country, that everyone has the right to live in a free and democratic society where the rights and liberties of all are valued and protected.

In Missouri You Can Be Fired For Being Gay

Tuesday, October 27, 2015 the Missouri Court of Appeals Western District denied James Pittman’s claim against his employer for creating a hostile work environment – and eventually firing him – because he is a gay man.  In his opinion  Judge James Welch writes:

Unlike many other states, Missouri has not enacted legislation prohibiting discrimination against homosexuals by adding sexual orientation as a protected status in the Missouri Human Rights Act. If the Missouri legislature had desired to include sexual orientation in the Missouri Human Rights Act’s protections, it could have done so. No matter how compelling Pittman’s argument may be and no matter how sympathetic this court or the trial court may be to Pittman’s situation, we are bound by the state of the law as it currently exists. Without the legislative addition of “sexual orientation” to the statutory list of protected statuses, the Missouri Human Rights Act does not prohibit discrimination based upon a person’s sexual orientation. 

Women’s Voices calls on the Missouri Legislature to pass the Missouri Nondiscrimination Act (MONA) which would prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity in the workplace. MONA would simply extend the existing Missouri Human Rights Statute to include lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender (LGBT), and allied people.

Supreme Court Rules for Marriage Equality

June 26, 2015

10264481_1053843057960497_4132518960366003212_nThe majority bases its conclusion that same-sex marriage is a fundamental right on “four principles and traditions”: (1) right to person choice in marriage is “inherent in the concept of individual autonomy”; (2) “two-person union unlike any other in its importance to the committed individuals”; (3) marriage safeguards children and families; (4) marriage is a keystone to our social order.

Justice Kennedy wrote:  No union is more profound than marriage, for it embodies the highest ideals of love, fidelity, devotion, sacrifice, and family. In forming a marital union, two people become something greater than once they were. As some of the petitioners in these cases demonstrate, marriage embodies a love that may endure even past death. It would misunderstand these men and women to say they disrespect the idea of marriage. Their plea is that they do respect it, respect it so deeply that they seek to find its fulfillment for themselves. Their hope is not to be condemned to live in loneliness, excluded from one of civilization’s oldest institutions. They ask for equal dignity in the eyes of the law. The Constitution grants them that right.

 

 LGBT Rights

Women’s Voices supports the rights of lesbian, gay, bi-sexual and transgender individuals to participate fully in society and enjoy the rights and benefits available to other Americans. Our first activity as an organization was to march in the St. Louis Pride Parade in 2005 and we continue to do so.

We endorsed the Uniting American Families Act which would end discrimination against gay, lesbian, bi-sexual and transgender persons who are seeking to become legal permanent residents of the United States.  Current immigration laws deny LGBT individuals the right to petition for a green card to bring their partners into the country.   More than 36,000 bi-national same-sex couples are affected by the current restrictions,almost half of whom are raising children.  UAFA was reintroduced in the 113th Congress in the House and Senate in February 2013.

Child Care and Welfare

Women’s Voices believes that high-quality, affordable child care should be available to all Missouri families who need it. The physical, emotional and cognitive growth of our youngest and most vulnerable citizens is both a wise investment and a moral imperative.  We also believe that every child deserves to live in a safe and loving home; we support the agencies and organizations in our community that work to protect children from violence, abuse and neglect.

In May 2015 Women’s Voices adopted a position to increase the tobacco tax with revenues going to support early childhood education programs  read here

 

In March 2012, Women’s Voices adopted a position on Child Care

A Powerful Voice for a Child in Foster Care     June 7, 2012

Speakers: Jan Huneke, Chief Executive Officer, Voices for Children; Cheryl Latham, Program Director, Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA), and Carol MacDonald, CASA Volunteer

Few issues tug at the heart as much as the plight of children locked in the child welfare system. “These children are not safe at home, and most have suffered multiple types of abuse and neglect,”  said Jan Huneke.  Read more