MCU’s work is organized through intentional campaigns and committee work that support the mission of the organization.
Many MCU congregations conducted Sacred Conversations on Race (+Action) in 2015. Our congregations declared that the place to begin the most effective work addressing structural and systemic racism would be in the areas of education and policing. At the same time, leadership from Liberation Christian Church was identifying a third issue: juvenile court reform. Task forces were developed and a unifying theme emerged:
the school to prison pipeline. The teams began understanding just how this system is limiting prospects for and criminalizing the lives of young people of color.
Click on the pictures below for more information about a
Break the Pipeline Campaign or a Working Taskforce
Thanks to everyone who turned out for the Dismas House action on December 17. What a great success! Dismas House is a stately cross covered building, full of heartache, disease and violence that doesn’t deserve the $43 million of Federal dollars it has been receiving over the last 5 years. It has failed its mission which means failed the residents who expected guidance in returning to the community after incarceration.
Speakers, including EXPO-STL leaders Tracy Stanton and Ronnie Amiyn highlighted the years long failures at Dismas House:
- multiple resident-on-resident attacks with guns and other weapons resulting in serious injury and death. The latest in November 2020.
- lack of educational and job training opportunities and other re-entry necessities, like obtaining post-Dismas House housing
- drug overdoses often with little or no medical intervention
All this from a facility that touts its reentry successes and gun-/drug-free environment.
Join in the protest of this mismanaged operation by contacting Specialist Kevin J. Hoff, Federal Bureau of Prisons. Tell him:
“My name is __________ I’m a concerned citizen and taxpayer. I’m calling in support of all formerly incarcerated people. There should be no renewal of the Federal contract with Dismas House in St. Louis.”
If you can’t talk to a real person, leave a message.
For more information about EXPO-STL text EXPOSTL to 31996
At a virtual rally on Thursday, December 10, MCU’s Juvenile Justice Task Force, the Family Partners leaders and Campaign for Juvenile Justice brought attention to implementation of the Raise the Age Bill. This bill, passed in 2018, raise that age at which a youth is automatically certified an adult in the court/prison system from 17 to 18. Joined by Rick Gaines, the Chief Juvenile Officer for St. Louis County and Ben Burkemper, Family Court Administrator for St. Louis County, MCU has issued a CALL TO ACTION. Going into effect in January 2021, the new Raise the Age is already being threatened: no funds have been allocated to implement this crucial and overdue change in the system.
Call the leaders of Missouri’s Blue Ribbon Panel on Juvenile Justice: Allocate the funding… save our youth…do your job!
Rep. Nick Schroer, bill sponsor/House
Sen. Wayne Wallingford, co-sponsor/Senate; vice-chair, Blue Ribbon Panel
Rep. David Evans, chair, Blue Ribbon Panel
Join EXPO-STL for a protest Thursday, December 17, 11:45pm at Dismas House, 5025 Cote Brilliante Ave, 63113.
EXPO-STL is Ex-incarcerated People Organizing and they know first-hand the issues faced by people returning to the community after prison. When the Federal government releases people, they often to go Dismas House, a residential program to aid in re-entry. It is meant to be a clean, safe place where people can begin to rebuild their lives. Dismas House has proven to be anything but that.
Listen to our podcast This is What Democracy Sounds Like to hear directly from residence and their families on the drug and violence ridden facility.
In 2018 MCU worked to successfully pass Raise The Age. It changed the law on the age at which a youth is automatically certified an adult when detained by the police. We raised it from 17 to 18 and it will take effect in 2021. The change requires extra funding for the Juvenile Division to accommodate extra youth, for housing, meals, education, counseling, medical care, substance abuse care, etc.
Join us on via Zoom on Thursday, December 10, 5pm to learn about how Raise the Age will ultimately impact the system and Missouri’s youth. We’ll also learn the work ahead of us to be sure Raise the Age is implemented in a timely fashion and correctly. We will leave no youth behind.
We are MCU and we are Breaking the Pipeline!!
We are in the final days before the election. They are critical. Right now, based on the people we have been talking to there are more “No on 3” votes out there than yes votes. That’s great but….We also know a lot of people were undecided until they got a phone call from someone who walked them through what Amendment 3 really is all about: creating a gerrymandering policy so rigid it will be the worst in the country!
We also know there is still a lot of ‘undecided’ out there.
We are asking you to make some calls in the last ten days. Tell people about Amendment 3 and ask them to vote no. Here is a specific way to do it:
- Between October 24 and October 30: commit to 2 phone banking shifts
- Between October 31 and November 3: commit to 1 phone banking shift
- Most days have 3 shifts. They are morning (10:30-1:30), afternoon (2:00-5:00), and evening (5:30-8:30).
- After you sign up, you’ll receive follow-up emails with additional details. Each shift begins with an orientation and training.
- Returning phone bankers can check in and get started calling right away.
The time is now…
let’s push this over the line!
You can sign up as “MCU”.
Sign up now for your choice shifts!
All phone banking done from you own home… staff person always available for questions.
Expo (Ex-Incarcerated People Organizing) and Our Lives Matter has partnered for a Call of Action to address the dehumanizing and inhumane conditions of MDOC. Our family members, loved ones and friends are being treated like brutes.
Our people are not able to fight for themselves therefore, we have a responsibility to expose the injustices that are taking place inside of MDOC. The men and women at the facilities need US right now. We have called, written letters, and filed grievances yet the Director of MDOC or the prison authorities still haven’t deemed it necessary to release anyone or protect the lives of those incarcerated. It is time to ACT!!! It is time to meet them at their front door. We are asking everyone to fill out the form listed below if you are interested. Will you join us In Jeff City???
Thursday, Oct. 15, 10am – 11am
Gather at in the rotunda of the Capital building at 9:45pm.
WHAT HAPPENED FIRST: In 2018, MCU leaders and others spent months collecting thousands of signatures to get Amendment 1 on the November ballot. It was called “Clean Missouri” for what is was intended to do: clean out the big money out of Missouri politics and clean up the gerrymandering of voting districts. In effect, outlawing gerrymandering. (Gerrymandering creates voting districts that heavily favor a single political party.) And we did it! Amendment 1/Clean Missouri passed with 62% of voters saying loud and clear NO to gerrymandering.
WHAT HAPPENED SECOND: After the passage of Amendment 1/Clean Missouri, the major party in the Missouri legislature got to work to overturn it. That’s right. The will of the voters became a problem for the party in charge. Declaring that the voters were in fact unaware, ignorant or just plain not paying attention, majority legislators passed a bill putting Amendment 3 on the November 2020 ballot. All of us who worked so hard in 2018 immediately dubbed it “Dirty Missouri”
WHAT IT SAYS: Amendment 3/Dirty Missouri leads off well enough reducing lobby gifts from $5 to $0 and reducing state Senate campaign contributions by $100. Then it gets dirty. Here’s the dirtiest parts:
- Who draws the lines of new districts? Voters approved of a nonpartisan demographer taking the new census information and creating districts as balanced as possible. Amendment 3 requires the process stay basically the same. The governor will appoint a bi-partisan committee. This has not been working and voters know it. This is how gerrymandering is born and this is what majority legislators want to hold on to.
- Who is included in a district’s composition? Voters approved that districts would included everyone living in a district. They would be properly counted and represented. Amendment 3 will only count and therefore, represent ONLY registered voters. That means when doing the headcount of a district children and youth, ages 0-18 WILL NOT be in the count. Non-voting adults WILL NOT be in the count. This means folks in memory care centers who longer vote. Developmentally delayed folks who don’t vote won’t count. Immigrants who are non-voters….but working tax-payers…won’t count. It’s an easy assumption that if a person doesn’t count, they will not be represented. THIS WOULD BE THE MOST EXTREME FORM OF GERRYMANDERING IN THE COUNTRY!
- What if you think a district is unfairly created? Even now a citizen can challenge the composition of a district, and a judge most certainly can. Currently and under Amendment 1, a district deemed unfairly created can be challenged. Not so under Amendment 3. Citizens will be unable under ANY circumstances to challenge the composition of a district, and judges will be severely restricted in their ability to challenge even the most obviously unfair districts.
How Politicians Are Tricking Voters
These are reason enough to NO on Amendment 3. Our children count. Our neighbors working to become citizens count. The mentally ill, homeless veteran counts!
Join us now to defeat Amendment 3.
The will of the people counts! Send that message on November 3. We All COUNT.
Vote NO on Amendment 3.
Many of you worked hard to collect petition signatures to get Medicaid Expansion on the ballot – thanks for your efforts. We’re urging you to not let the petition efforts be for naught – please join us in the Get Out the Vote opportunities listed below as we work to complete a successful campaign to bring Medicaid Expansion to Missouri.
The July 23 Rally gives us an opportunity to join with volunteers from around Missouri who are working to ensure the success of Yes on 2. Since we can’t do the usual door-to-door canvassing during the pandemic, phone and text banking from your home are the best ways for us to reach large numbers of voters before Aug 4. As you will learn when you sign up for phone or text banking (details below), training is provided (no experience necessary). Please remember that the previous MCU phone banking efforts end July 23, when we switch to the centralized scheduling below. You have many choices for how to spend your time – please join us in this vital push to ensure that Amendment 2 is approved by voters!
***When registering, please use HEARTLAND ACTION as the organization when asked for tracking purposes.***
Upcoming GOTV Actions
Virtual Medicaid Expansion Rally
(Thursday, July 23, 2020 @ 6pm): http://bit.ly/RallyYesOn2
Phone Banking Shifts
Saturday, July 25th and ending Monday, August 3rd; each shift includes training.
For Morning Shifts (10:30am – 1:30pm):
For Afternoon Shifts (2:00pm – 5:00pm):
For Evening Shifts (5:30am – 8:30pm):
Text Banking Training and Shifts
Saturday, July 25th and ending Tuesday, August 4th:
Various Times: https://www.mobilize.us/moveaction/event/287019
Please contact your friends and neighbors again before the election to remind them of Yes on 2. Also, place a reminder in your church newsletter.
Training is happening NOW to get folks informed on Amendment 2/Medicaid Expansion. Healthcare is a right that should not be denied to anyone. Let’s get our community informed and Voting!!
Phone bank training – Please sign up for one of the 3 training sessions below using the sign up link for each. Those who’ve already registered for the canceled 7/6 training do not need to re-register for the 7/13 session, but you will need to re-register if you will attend another session. After registering, you will receive a confirmation email about joining the meeting.
Session 1 – 7/13 @ 6pm
Session 2 – 7/14 @ 10am
Session 3 – 7/15 @ 3pm
Text bank training – Please email Aysha Gray to learn about training (Aysha.firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com; please use both emails). If you contacted Aysha previously, you do not need to do it again.
Metropolitan Congregations United (MCU) EX-incarcerated People Organizing-MO (EXPO-MO) and Campaign for Youth Justice (TCYJ) are staging a protest parade on May 8, at 5pm at the Division of Youth Service’s Hogan St. Center, 1839 Hogan St., St. Louis 63106. To RSVP text #freeouryouth to 31996
The protest is a call during this unprecedented health crisis to release incarcerated children and adults and to protect them from the spread of COVID-19. Research tells us that incarcerated populations are at extreme risk. There have been releases from local jails; we are calling for releases from detention centers and prisons.
“We are protesting the inaction of the Missouri Division of Youth Services (DYS) officials,” said LaTrisha Gandy, MCU’s Parent organizer. “Their inaction is endangering the lives of our community’s youth being held in these facilities.” “We are asking the Missouri Department of Corrections (MDOC) to treat our loved ones like humans”, says Maria Miller a leader in EXPO-MO. We are asking the Division of Youth Services and the Department of Corrections to be accountable to the community.
Youth in DYS will be returned to the community by their 18th birthdays; most are held for an average of 12 –18 months. Let’s take this opportunity to build community-based resources and supports needed for these youth at home where the data shows they are more likely to thrive and succeed. On March 23 MCU sent a letter to the Department of Youth Services concerning the youth who tested positive for Covid-19 at the Hogan St. Specific release recommendations are included in the letter to DYS officials and found at MCUStlouis.org . To date there has been no official response from DYS; they refuse to release any children in light of this public health emergency.
Metropolitan Congregations United is a community organization of 40 congregations that puts faith into action by developing leaders who move their congregations, organizations and communities to change public policy for the common good.
EX-incarcerated People Organizing-MO works to end mass incarceration, eliminate all forms of structural discrimination against formerly incarcerated people, and restore formerly incarcerated people to full participation in the life of our communities.
The Campaign for Youth Justice is a national initiative focused entirely on ending the practice of prosecuting, sentencing and incarcerating youth under the age of 18 in the adult criminal justice system.