Advocating for Human Rights During the COVID-19 Pandemic

The COVID-19 Pandemic is affecting all areas of human rights and social justice. 

Below, please find actions you can take to advocate with local, state and federal officials, as well as specific actions Women’s Voices as an organization has taken.


Economic Justice

Action Items

Missouri needs food and housing assistance NOW!

Tell senators to include a fifteen percent increase for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). SNAP is an excellent stimulus for Missouri’s economy in addition to reducing food insecurity, so we must change his position on this! Also, with only two days left in the federal eviction moratorium, it is crucial that we secure $100 billion in emergency housing assistance and an extension of the moratorium.
Contact Senators Blunt & Hawley here.

Tell Gov. Parson to declare grocery workers first responders now!

Grocery store workers and pharmacy techs are on the front lines of the COVID-19 pandemic. They are working long hours to stock shelves, clean stores, keep food on the tables of our communities, and ensure that our families can get the medication they need.

Sign petition here.


Organizational Actions

Women’s Voices co-president Ruth Ehresman submitted a letter to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) stating that now is not the time to change the definition of poverty. Read more here.



Organizational Actions

Women’s Voices has signed on the a letter to MO Gov. Parson, Missouri Department of Social Services, County Executive Samuel Page, Mayor Lyda Krewson, St. Louis County Council, St. Louis City Board of Aldermen, St. Louis City and County Health Departments demanding local and state leaders to support the essential work of early childhood educators. Read more here.

Gun Violence

Action Items

Tell Donald Trump: Gun Stores Are Not Essential During the Coronavirus Crisis

During a time of a national pandemic crisis, we need the president to work to reduce panic-buying of guns rather than doing favors for the corporate gun lobby groups that are using Coronavirus fears to spur gun sales. Sign petition here.


Health Care

Action Items

Volunteer Opportunity to Support Urgent Advocacy on Medicaid Expansion Appropriations

Now that the budget bills are in the State Senate, it is critically important that Senators hear from constituents that they support adding Medicaid Expansion funding back into House Bills 10 and 11 (the normal appropriations bills).

Jobs with Justice and members of the MOVE Collaborative are starting phone banks, patching constituents through to their Senators. Calls will start on Tuesday, April 13, 2021 and will be held weekly on Tuesdays from 5-8 p.m. The groups need volunteers. If you can help, access the sign-up form here:

COVID-19 RESPONSE-Public Health Policy Recommendations for Missouri

Sign the petition to demand that local and state policymakers should implement a comprehensive set of policies targeted at the populations most at risk of contracting COVID-19, and the institutions and practices that pose the greatest threat.


Organizational Actions

Women’s Voices joined the First Focus Campaign for Children and other leading stakeholders in a sign-on letter to congressional leaders urging Congress to make the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) permanent.

Read the letter here.

Women’ s Voices joined organizations from across the country in signing a letter crafted by Families USA urging congressional action on key health care priorities in the next COVID legislation. The letter advocates for Congress to advance specific policies in the next COVID package that will:

  • Ensure access to affordable health insurance coverage for all.
  • Provide states, localities, and tribes with the financial support they need to respond effectively.
  • Protect the health and safety of the health care workforce.
  • Organize national public health capacity.
  • Protect all patients’ access to care and prohibit price gouging of health care services.
  • Prioritize children’s health and well-being.

Read the letter here.

Families USA has created an Infographic on the Five COVID-19 Policy Recommendations included in their letter, which can be viewed here.


Human Rights

Action Items

Tell Missouri Senators: COVID Relief NOW!

Many of the benefits that assisted families earlier this year have expired and we are not yet through the pandemic. Congress must act again to provide relief. Contact your U.S. senators and tell them they must stay in DC to pass emergency relief that prioritizes workers and essential public services. Without action, millions could lose unemployment benefits and thousands of public jobs will be lost.

Urge Trump Administration to Rescind New HUD Rule

A new U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) rule is being finalized that will destroy 45-year-old civil rights protection for the most vulnerable individuals. The rule will make it more difficult to combat systemic racism and discriminatory practices by housing providers, financial institutions and insurance companies. Learn more from the National Fair Housing Alliance and their partners. Take action here.

Demand stronger workplace health and safety protections for front line food workers

Frontline food workers still lack the necessary protective gear to keep themselves safe in the workplace and are dying from the virus at alarming rates.In order to protect workers and keep communities safe, OSHA must enact and enforce emergency protections for food workers today. Read more and sign the petition here.

Missouri needs food and housing assistance NOW!

Tell senators to include a fifteen percent increase for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). SNAP is an excellent stimulus for Missouri’s economy in addition to reducing food insecurity, so we must change his position on this! Also, with only two days left in the federal eviction moratorium, it is crucial that we secure $100 billion in emergency housing assistance and an extension of the moratorium.
Contact Senators Blunt & Hawley here.

Contact Your Members of Congress and Tell Them to Address the Needs of Survivors in the Next Stimulus Package

Right now, survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault are at great risk.

Act now to urge Congress to address the urgent and emerging needs of domestic violence and sexual assault survivors and the programs that serve them during the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic and resulting disruptions. 


Tell Congress: Protect the Food Chain During the Pandemic–Our Farmworkers are In Danger!

The farmworkers who grow, pick and pack the food that ends up on our grocery store shelves have been deemed “essential” workers during the coronavirus pandemic, but are vulnerable and need additional health and safety measures in place to protect them from being infected by, and spreading, the coronavirus. They need additional protections because many live in cramped employer-provided housing and are transported in buses to and from worksites every day.

Sign the petition to Congress to protect farmworkers and to ensure our food chain is not threatened during the pandemic.


Justice System

Action Items

Submit Testimony in Support of Senate Bill 60

Missouri State Senator Brian Williams has introduced Senate Bill 60 in the current session of the Missouri legislature. SB 60, which has bipartisan support, is intended to increase public safety by building trust between the community and police. The bill includes increased accountability, a ban on no-knock warrants, a ban on chokeholds, and de-escalation training for police.

On Monday, January 25, 2021 at 1:30 p.m., there will be a hearing on Senate Bill 60- the Law Enforcement  Agency Accountability Bill. Citizens can submit written testimony asking for its passage through the committee. Register and submit written testimony here. The ACLU has prepared talking points on SB 60, which are available here. Listen to Monday’s committee hearing live here.

Call on the Missouri Supreme Court to Prevent a COVID-19 Public Health Crisis in Jails by Releasing People

St. Louis County had two jail employees test positive last month for COVID-19 and the County said nothing. We still do not know whether any detainees have been tested. Join Women’s Voices in calling on the MO Supreme Court to act. Sign the petition here.

Arch City Defenders has created an on-line petition to the Missouri Supreme Court asking for the release of non-violent offenders.  You can review the petition and sign-on here.

Demand Governors Free Our Youth Amid COVID-19 Crisis

Take action here.

Organizational Actions

Women’s Voices joins Statewide Organizations and Medical Professionals Call on the Missouri Supreme Court to Prevent a COVID-19 Public Health Crisis in Jails by Releasing People

Women’s Voices joins Organizations to Urge State Leaders to Accommodate Re-entry

Reproductive Rights

Action Items

Demand that the Food and Drug Administration Lift Restrictions on Medication Abortion

Every day the FDA does not act, people who need abortions and the clinic workers who care for them are risking their health — and lives — by increasing the risk of exposure to COVID-19. Read more or sign petition to demand that FDA lift the restrictions on medication abortion now.

Voting Rights

Action Items

Federal Legislation to Expand Voting Rights: S. R. 1 – For the People Act

On March 3, the House passed H.R. 1, the For the People Act, which will provide much-needed election, campaign finance, and ethics reforms. Tell the Senate: Pass the For the People Act

Read the Missouri Voter Protection Coalition’s letter to Missouri’s Congressional delegation making the case for why Missouri voters need H.R.1 /S. 1

Organizational Actions

Women’s Voices has joined other Missouri organizations in signing a letter to Gov. Parson urging an extension to Missouri’s COVID-19 voting provisions.

Women’s Voices Signs On to Letter Specifying “Measures to Ensure Voting in Missouri Amid the COVID-19 Crisis.”


Stop the CDC Data Bypass!

Ensure the integrity of the data being released on the COVID-19 virus by hospitals, which have now been ordered to bypass the CDC and report the data to HHS, effectively allowing the Trump administration to skew, alter, withhold, and lie about the cases and deaths, and provide false guidelines regarding the pandemic! Sign the petition here.

Tell Congress: During This Pandemic, Support Our Public Postal Service

The Postal Service could run out of money as early as June. As most Americans shelter in place, postal workers are delivering people’s prescriptions, keeping small-enterprises in business and connecting families. The USPS has always been our emergency distribution system when our country is in crisis. The loss of the USPS would shatter our response to the Coronavirus pandemic. Sign the petition to demand support for the USPS here.

Sign the petition: Demand all U.S. governors investigate Amazon warehouses that put public health at risk

Amazon has failed to issue a comprehensive plan to protect its growing workforce from coronavirus exposure, despite the unwise decision to operate as usual. As COVID-19 infections are found in Amazon warehouses, this puts all of us — workers, customers, small-business sellers, and neighbors — at risk.

Public officials must safeguard workers’ and public health, since Amazon is not taking necessary measures. Demand your governor step in and investigate Amazon for the sake of public safety.

Sign the petition to your governor: Close Amazon warehouses that fail to protect public health NOW.

Tell Congress: Local News is Critical in the Midst of a Pandemic

Since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, local news outlets have been providing indispensable, real-time updates on information imperative to safeguarding America’s communities. Yet, many outlets will not survive COVID-19 without immediate economic help.

As Congress considers future economic stimulus aid packages for impacted people and businesses, they must also provide a lifeline to local reporters and local media to ensure they continue providing their vital service to the American people.

Sign the petition to Congress to include funding for local news in the next stimulus package.

For more information or to get involved, e-mail