President’s Annual Report 2020

Linda Zazove, June 1, 2020

Despite our 2019 – 2020 program year being cut short by the coronavirus, Women’s Voices had a very busy year since May 2019. In October, the Board adopted an ambitious strategic plan after a day-long retreat in the summer and much review and discussion. By April 2020, the Advocacy Committee, the Campaign for Common Sense Gun Solutions, and the Racial Justice Committee had all debated and adopted action plans for the coming year.

As part of the planning process, the Board approved our first Vision Statement: “Women working together to advance a world that values equity and justice for all, abolishes discrimination and protects the planet.”

Education Programs. From September 2019 to March 2020, we held seven public education programs on a range of topics, including transgender rights, the “precariat”, gun violence, affordable housing, and re-entry after incarceration. Those programs were attended by 435 people.

Campaign for Common Sense Gun Solutions. In the last year, Lock It for Love (LIFL) volunteers distributed more than 1,400 locks at 57 events and completed translation into Spanish of their binder showing how to secure a gun with a gun lock. We are extremely grateful to our volunteers and proud of our LIFL program, which was selected for a What’s Right with the Region award from FOCUS St. Louis. During the year, co-chair Andrea Bauman did a facetime interview that was broadcast on KSDK. She spoke of our LIFL program and the increased need to use safe firearm storage to keep kids safe and prevent suicides. The same segment was part of the Trace, a national nonprofit newsroom focusing on gun violence, on April 2.

Racial Justice Committee. In October, the Committee offered a sold-out tour of North St. Louis with Bob Hansman, and in November, we collaborated with We Stories to host a book event at EyeSeeMe Book Store. The Committee’s Lunch and Learns continued to be very well attended, including: September’s event with Jamala Rogers of the Organization for Black Struggle; a discussion of affordable housing with Webster Groves Councilwoman Laura Arnold and St. Louis County Councilwoman Lisa Clancy; and a “Lunch and Learn in Reverse” at the request of Dr. Laurie Punch, member of the St. Louis County Board of Police Commissioners. The Committee organized two monthly programs: “Life After Lock-Up: The Reality of Re-entry,” which supports the committee’s focus on criminal justice reform, and “No Place to Call Home: Where’s Affordable Housing?” which supports the committee’s focus on affordable housing in the St. Louis metro area. Our planned Visionary Voices event with poet and activist Reginald Dwayne Betts had to be postponed to spring 2021 as a result of the coronavirus. Read more about all our recent activities here.

Advocacy Committee. In July 2019, WV collaborated with other organizations to create the Heartland for Human Justice to protest separation of families seeking asylum and several members traveled to Fort Sill, Oklahoma, with the group to demonstrate against the cruel government policies. Committee members and other WV volunteers worked with Missouri Health Care for All and Jobs With Justice on the Medicaid expansion ballot initiative, which was successful and will be on the August 4 ballot. We also continue to be active in the Missouri Voter Protection Coalition. The committee finalized and the membership approved seven position papers: Public Education K-12; Post-Secondary Education and Workforce Development; LGBTQ Rights; The Need for Adequate Public Subsidies to Provide High-Quality Child Care to all Children In Missouri; Early Childhood Education; and Women’s Safety and Well-Being.

Outreach and Communication. We continue to publicize a wide range of advocacy opportunities through our website and social media. Since the coronavirus, we have started Keeping Connected, a weekly e-mail update on current advocacy topics. We have more than 2,750 followers on Facebook, 872 on Twitter, and 406 on Instagram.