Human Rights

Women’s Voices Opposes Indefinite Detention of Children

October 15, 2018

The 1997 Flores Agreement limits the amount of time immigrant children can be held in detention centers to 20 days and requires that they be released to their parents, other adult relatives or licensed programs, without unnecessary delay. The administration is seeking to make changes to the current agreement to enforce their “zero-tolerance” immigration policy, arguing for the indefinite detainment of children. This will result in children being held in detention facilities for as long as the administration deems necessary.

Women’s Voices voiced opposition to the new proposal writing: Women’s Voices Raised for Social Justice, an organization based in St. Louis, Missouri, opposes the proposed rule “Apprehension, Processing, Care and Custody of Alien Minors and Unaccompanied Alien Children”. Indefinite detention of families is abusive and detrimental to a child’s physical and mental health. This regulation will allow the current administration to operate facilities with no oversight, will be costly to taxpayers and damage our reputation with our international allies. Please, preserve the Flores protections for immigrant children.

White House Considers Reducing Refugee Admittance Further in 2019

August 8, 2018
From the Jewish Community Relations Council (JCRC), St. Louis: “This year’s refugee cap of 45,000 is already an historic low and, devastatingly, the United States will have resettled less than half that number by the end of the fiscal year. With a lower goal for next year, actual admissions will continue to plummet.” Read more from the New York Times: White House Weighs Another Reduction in Refugees Admitted to U. S.

The president must establish a number of refugees to be admitted by Oct. 1. JCRC suggests the following actions: 

  1. Call congressional offices directly using your local contacts. You can also reach US Representatives in DC by calling 202-225-3121, and US Senators by calling 202-224-3121. Ask the operator to connect you to the individual office. Call them more than once!  
  2. Use social media to make your position clear and encourage followers to contact members of Congress. You can also tweet at your Senators & Representatives.
  3. Visit your Member. House members are in-district for recess and Senators will be as well. Even if they aren’t in-district, meet with their staff.

Sample Script: “I am your constituent from [CITY/TOWN], and I urge you to support the U.S. refugee resettlement program. I strongly oppose any attempts to limit refugee admissions into the United States. I urge you to do everything in your power to see that the administration resettle at least the 45,000 refugees they have set as the goal for 2018 and see the administration commit to resettling at least 75,000 for 2019. Resettlement is a core American legacy that allows refugees to rebuild their lives in safety and dignity as people have since they first imagined our country. My community welcomes refugees and immigrants, and I urge you to do the same.”

Supreme Court Upholds Travel Ban on Majority Muslim Countries

June 26, 2018

Women’s Voices is opposed to the travel ban and applauds Justice Sotomayor’s dissent; she spoke in court for about 20 minutes and extensively quoted Trump’s words during and after the 2016 campaign.  She wrote, “A reasonable observer would conclude that the proclamation was motivated by anti-Muslim animus.”

You can read an article about the ruling here. 

Parents Are Facing a Nightmare at the U.S. Border

June 25, 2018 issue of Time

“Immigrants’ advocates offer wrenching accounts of how, exactly, federal authorities remove children from their moms and dads. On some occasions, advocates told TIME, kids are pulled, sobbing, from their parents’ arms. On other occasions, agents have allegedly lied. “They say, ‘We’re just going to take your kids to have a bath,’” Gilman says. “But then they don’t bring them back.” The American Academy of Pediatrics recently published a letter noting that taking a child from a parent can do “irreparable harm, disrupting a child’s brain architecture and affecting his or her short- and long-term health.”    read the article here 



March 22, 2018   Five members of Women’s Voices joined dozens of others who crammed into the crowded board room when members of the Board of Commissioners of the St. Louis Housing Authority met on March 22.  The topic of discussion:  an intractable infestation of mice, which has plagued the residents of the Clinton-Peabody housing complex for more than a year.

Residents took to the microphone to describe intolerable living conditions.  Mice, bedbugs and roaches force residents to keep their lights on all the time; foul odors force them to open their windows even in the winter.  “Our living conditions are embarrassing and dangerous and traumatizing.  I hate living at Clinton-Peabody,” one woman said, as she burst into tears.  Another resident challenged board members to “spend one night in an apartment at the complex.”

Commissioner Regina Stewart

While most board members listened impassively to the residents concerns, one commissioner, Regina Stewart, was moved by their heartfelt pleas for help.  “I will not spend the night in a mice-infested apartment, but I do promise you that we will come up with a plan to help you,” she said, to a standing ovation. “I hear your pain, and we must do something about it.”

Women’s Voices members who attended to support residents were Jeanne Bubb, Mary Clemons, Barbara Finch, Karon Hatchett and Barbara Richter.  State Senator Jamilah Nasheed and State Representative Bruce Franks Jr. attended the event, along with TV, radio and print news reporters.

The ACLU Sues Administration to Stop Family Separation

March 10, 2018

“The lawsuit, filed in federal district court in San Diego, asks a judge to declare family separation unlawful and says hundreds of families have been split by immigration authorities.”  Read more here

Where Do We Stand On DACA?

March 5 , 218

The court battle (see article below) removes some of the urgency for meeting the March 5 deadline to renew DACA.  “DACA advocates are using the Monday deadline to intensify pressure on the White House and Congress for permanent protection.”  Where do the Courts stand?   Where does congress stand?  Is the March 5 deadline meaningful?  Read the answers to the questions here.

Supreme Court Declines to Decide Fate of  DACA

February 26, 2018  

The Supreme Court rejected the Trump administration’s highly unusual bid to bypass a federal appeals court and get the justices to intervene in the fate of a program that protects hundreds of thousands of young immigrants from deportation.

The announcement means the case affecting “Dreamers” will have to work its way through the lower courts before any Supreme Court ruling is possible. The case could also become moot if Congress takes action in the meantime. Right now, however, efforts to address the issue in Congress have hit a stalemate.

 read more here

Travel Ban Heads to the Supreme Court

January 23, 2018    “Travel ban 3.0 tweaks the details and reshuffles the list of banned countries (removing Sudan and adding Chad, North Korea and Venezuela). On October 17th, the same federal judge in Hawaii who blocked the second ban wrote a decision freezing the third.”     To read the latest news about the ban and the courts click here.

Suing for workplace, housing discrimination in Missouri tougher under new law

Gov. Eric Greitens approved a measure that will require people to explicitly prove their race, sex or other protected status actually motivated their boss or colleague to mistreat them to win an employment discrimination case….Under the new law, which goes into effect Aug. 28, such an employee would need to meet a higher standard: The worker would have to show that race explicitly “motivated” mistreatment through, for example, written documentation of racist comments. Read more here

Facts About the New Workplace, Housing Discrimination Bill

Quick facts:

  • Harder to sue your employer when you are discriminated against
  • Could put federal housing funding at risk
  • MO NAACP called this type of legislation “Jim Crow,” a regression to a time before civil rights legislation
  • Removes some whistleblower protections making us all less safe.
  • Removes ability to sue a specific employee, creating a devastating result for survivors of sexual harassment and potential future victims.

Missouri would be the first state to roll back civil rights protections – rights in employment and housing that were won through decades of struggle. 


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.

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.