Recent Activities

Lunch & Learn: Why Medicaid Matters

Thursday, April 25

Medicaid is a “political hot potato” topic, with many legislators offering positive or negative opinions and expressing strong feelings about the costs of the program. But to people with disabilities, Medicaid is an essential health insurance program that saves lives. Medicaid is there following a life changing accident. Medicaid allows people with disabilities to access the doctors, medicines, and therapies they need in many cases. 

Paraquad Medicaid ambassadors Everlene Falconer and Constance Phillips-Gray, along with Ronald Wallace, shared their experiences with Medicaid. Jeanette Mott Oxford offered an update on several Medicaid issues in Missouri and provided information on services available through Paraquad. Paraquad, serving primarily St. Louis City and County, is one of Missouri’s 22 independent living centers providing five core services to people with disabilities: information and referral, peer support, independent living skills training, transitions, and advocacy.

Watch the recorded presentation here.

Lunch & Learn: Challenges in American Higher Education

April 17, 2024

Turmoil on college campuses is in the news as students protest the war in Gaza and administrators attempt to defuse the chaos. Members or Women’s Voices were privileged to hear some thoughts about this when Professor Mark Wrighton, former chancellor of Washington University and past president of George Washington University, spoke about challenges in higher education at a Lunch and Learn session on April 17.

View the recorded program here

Watch the recorded presentation to hear about Professor Wrighton’s own journey from a small elementary school in Florida to the top of the
Ivy League.

Lunch & Learn: The Power of the People-Understanding the Initiative Petition Process in Missouri’s Democracy

April 5, 2024

Speaker M’Evie Mead, director of strategic partnerships at Missouri Jobs with Justice and facilitator of the Will of the People Coalition, explored the history of initiative petitions in our state and reviewed current challenges in the Missouri legislature aimed at reshaping this important citizen-driven tool.

On April 25, the Missouri House of Representatives passed SJR 74. SJR 74 would require constitutional initiative petitions to pass by not just a majority of all votes cast, as is the case now, but also by a majority of votes in a majority of the state’s eight Congressional districts. This means that measures approved by a majority of Missouri’s voters may not pass into law, allowing a minority of citizens to determine policy outcomes.

The measure now goes back to the Missouri Senate, where a filibuster is expected to challenge the inclusion of the “ballot candy” provisions. If approved there, the proposed change would go to the ballot for approval by Missouri voters.

Call and write the your State Senator and tell them you OPPOSE this bill and any measure that changes the initiative petition process advancing in the legislature.

This event was co-hosted by Women’s Voices Raised for Social Justice and the Ashrei Foundation.

Watch the recorded presentation here.

Racial Justice Film Series: The Right to Read

March 29, 2024

Lunch & Learn: Pretrial Detention and the Criminalization of Poverty

February 22, 2024

Insha Rahman joined us to share stories from her work on ending mass incarceration and the criminalization of poverty across the country, including in New York, Illinois, Texas, and elsewhere. She offered lessons for countering the “tough-on-crime” rhetoric and reactionary backlash that stands in the way of advancing policies that deliver safety and justice for all.

As vice president for advocacy and partnerships at Vera Institute of Justice and vice president at Vera Action, Insha Rahman leads the development of advocacy priorities and campaigns. This includes partnering with government and communities to end mass incarceration, fight for immigrants’ rights, ensure dignity behind bars, and build safe, thriving communities for all. Rahman is a nationally recognized expert on bail reform and criminal justice. Prior to joining Vera, she was a public defender at The Bronx Defenders.

Watch the recorded presentation here.

Lunch & Learn: Arts at the Forefront of Social Justice

February 13, 2024


Renée Brummell Franklin, chief diversity officer, Saint Louis Art Museum
Nicole Ambos Freber, managing director, Opera Theatre of St. Louis (OTSL)
Emily Kohring, executive director, Bread and Roses of Missouri

Watch the recorded presentation here.

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