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
School board elections are coming up on April 2, and there are several local school board candidate forums. Please attend your local candidate forum so you can make an informed decision about these people who want to be elected to make decisions regarding our children. Go and ask them:
- where do they stand on Memorandums of Understanding with the police?
- what do they want to do to reduce and eliminate out of school suspension?
- what will they do to keep students from falling into the School to Prison Pipeline?
Candidates for Rockwood School Board Location: Administration Annex, 500 N. Central Ave., Eureka Time: 7-8:30 pm
Candidates for Hazelwood School Board Time: 7-8:30 pm on March 7 Location: HSD Learning Center, 15955 New Halls Ferry Rd., Florissant, MO 63031
Candidates for Pattonville School Board Time: 6:30 to 8:00 pm Location: Pattonville Learning Center, 11097 St. Charles Rock Road
Candidates for Kirkwood School Board Time: 7-8:30 pm on March 11 Location: North Kirkwood Middle School Cafeteria, 11287 Manchester Rd., 63122
Candidates for St. Louis City School Board Location: Central Visual & Performing Arts H.S. – 3125 S. Kingshighway, 63139 Time: 6 to 7:30 pm
Candidates for Jennings School Board Location: Gary Gore Community Center, 2545 Dorwood, 63136 Time: 6-7:30 pm
Candidates for Mayor of Bellefontaine Neighbors Time: 2:30-4 pm Lewis & Clark Library
Candidates for St. Louis City School Board Location: St. Louis Central Library, 1301 Olive St., 63103 Time: 6 to 7:30 pm
Candidates for Parkway School Board Parkway Central Middle School, 471 N Woods Mill Rd, Chesterfield, MO 63017 Time: 7-8:30 pm
Every year we support a couple of bills in the Missouri General Assembly. These bills support aspects of our work on Break the Pipeline. Below are the bills we are currently supporting. We will update the progress of these bills, so check back:
HB310: Requires teacher-training institutions in this state receiving state funds to require students to demonstrate proficiency on the concepts of trauma-informed approach and trauma-specific interventions. NOT YET assigned to committee.
This bill is sponsored by Rep. Cora Faith Walker (parts of North St. Louis County)
HB953: Establishes the Interim Joint Committee on Juvenile Court Jurisdiction and Implementation(which will help implement the new Raise the Age bill.) REFERRED to Committee on Children and Families
This bill is sponsored by Rep. Jeff Knight (parts of Southwest Missouri)
HB508: This bill allows anyone convicted of a felony who has been released from prison and is currently on probation or parole to vote. REFERRED to Committee on Elections and Elected Officials
This bill is sponsored by Rep. Bruce Franks, Jr. (parts of St. Louis City)
Call your own state rep and ask them to support these bills in moving legislation that will help decriminalize our children and restore voting rights to returning citizens.
These mass meetings incorporate task force work, training, and new participant orientation. If you’re curious, please come and see what we’re up to and how you can be a part of it!
All regular monthly mass meetings will be at 6:30pm at Central Reform Congregation, 5020 Waterman Blvd, St. Louis 63108.
November: Public Meeting; date and place TBD
Monthly Task Force meetings
Education Task Force: 4th Thursdays, 6pm @ MCU office, 4501 Westminster Pl., St. Louis, 63108
Juvenile Justice Task Force: 4th Thursdays, 7pm @ First Unitarian Church, 5007 Waterman Blvd., St. Louis, MO 63108
St. Charles Task Force: 4th Tuesdays, 7pm @ New Hope Presbyterian, 1580 Kisker Rd, St. Peters, MO 63304
There are so many ways to be a part of MCU’s work! Your financial contribution helps us build the power necessary to develop leaders who move their congregations, organizations, and communities to change public policy for the common good. You may contribute financially via the following:Online:
Credit card: call the MCU office 314-367-3484
Check: make out to “MCU”; mail to MCU, 4501 Westminster Pl., St. Louis, MO 63108
Whichever method you choose, consider becoming an ongoing sustainer by making a monthly contribution.
Call the MCU office for more details: 314-367-3484. Thank you for being a part of this movement!
Moving Our Faith and Values Into Community: You Can (Phone) Bank on It!
We’ve knocked on hundreds of doors informing people about Amendment 1 and Prop B; now we’re phone banking to GOTV (Get Out the Vote) and turn all those signatures we collected into votes. Either phone bank with us at the MCU office or schedule a phone bank with us at your church. Bring your laptop or tablet with you (we will provide one if you don’t; just let us know you’re coming), and your cell phone. If you’ve never phone banked before, not to worry – we provide all the training you’ll need!
- Saturday, Nov 3, 1-4pm – MCU office, 4501 Westminster Pl, St. Louis, MO 63108
- Sunday, Nov 4, 2-5pm – MCU office, 4501 Westminster Pl, St. Louis, MO 63108, with the Ethical Society of St. Louis
- Monday, Nov 5, 5-8pm – Eliot Chapel, 100 S Taylor Ave., Kirkwood, MO 63122
- Monday, Nov 5, 6-8[pm – College Church, 3628 Lindell Blvd., St. Louis, MO 63108
GOTV by Email: Voter’s Circle
Want to GOTV but are super-short on time? Use Voter’s Circle – email your friends and family from wherever, whenever – by Tuesday!
For Phone Bank and Voter’s Circle Info:
Sarah at email@example.com or 913-948-3779
Ready to Vote: Know Before You Go
Go to Vote411.org (the League of Women Voters website), type in your address and you will see the ballot you will be voting on. St. Louis County’s ballot is VERY long….read it first!
Go to RocktheVote.org and make sure you’re registered to vote. Some people are discovering they’ve been removed from the rolls!!! If you are NOT registered and you know you should be, contact your board of elections for the county where you live ASAP.
You DO NOT need a phote ID to vote. Read the St. Louis American’s article about the recent court ruling and this about Missouri voters not needing a photo ID to vote. In short: “Under the ruling, voters who show non-photo identification will not have to sign the affidavit as it’s currently written. The state, Callahan said, cannot produce any materials that say a photo ID is required to vote, and Secretary of State Jay Ashcroft must make it clear that voters can use other forms of ID.”
As per the Missouri Secretary of State:
- YOU MAY print out a sample ballot, mark it and use it as a “cheat sheet” when you vote.
- You may request curb-side voting if you are unable to access your polling place easily.
Know your voting rights if you are have accessibility issues: HERE
- NEVER leave your polling place if you have a problem. Ask for the main poll judge or supervisor. You can cast a provisional ballot is nothing else. If you continue to have a problem, call: 1-866-687-8683
- Check it out what ever Missouri voter should know HERE
- People with felony convictions CAN vote if they are off all forms of supervision. Read more HERE
Prop B (Raise Up Missouri) Key Points:
- A full time minimum wage worker currently earns $314/week
- No one working any job full-time should have to resort to food stamps.
- When people have more money in their paycheck, they spend it: on food, on clothes, on daily needs.
- More money in people’s pockets means more money out in the economy.
- A raise in wages allows people to keep up with the rising costs of groceries, housing and other basics.
- States with high minimum wages experience a higher standard of living, stronger economies and a more stable workforce.
- Prop B will raise the minimum wage incrementally to $12.00 an hour by 2023.
- The Archdiocese of St. Louis endorsement HERE and HERE
- Ballotpedia information HERE
Amendment 1 (Clean Missouri) Info:
- Lowers campaign contribution limits for state legislative candidates
- Eliminates almost all lobbyist gifts
- Requires politicians to wait two years before becoming lobbyists
- Requires that legislative records be open to the public
- Ensures that neither political party is given an unfair advantage when new maps are drawn after the next census, by requiring a nonpartisan expert to draw fair legislative district maps, which would then be reviewed by a citizen commission
- Jamala Rogers in the St. Louis American HERE
- Derrick Johnson, national NAACP in the St. Louis Post HERE
- League of Women Voters/Missouri HERE
- Ballotpedia Information HERE
Event: Break the Pipeline Orientation Meeting Tuesday, November 27, 6:30pm – MCU Office, 4501 Westminster Pl. (3rd floor), St. Louis, MO 63108
Tired of “politics as usual”? Interested in improving the lives of St. Louis children by working with other motivated people for long-term, systemic change in St. Louis-area schools, policing, and juvenile justice systems? Did our October 7 public meeting help you to realize that together, we can be the change we hope to see in the world, and that we are the ones we’ve been waiting for? Come on over to learn more about MCU, what the Break the Pipeline campaign is all about, and where you can make a difference by becoming a part of it! This is a great place to start if you are new to MCU or need a refresher. Bring a group from your congregation and come on over!
Ntosake Training and T-Shirts
NTOSAKE, the women’s leadership training in September was a smashing success. Over 90 women traveled to Detroit and have now returned to their own organizations ready to take on the issues that hold down their communities.When did YOU go to Ntosake? Help us send a new generation.
Because it was NTOSAKE’s 25th Anniversary, we designed a new logo and produced a new commemorative shirt – celebrate Susan’s birthday by buying one in November for $15.00!
Contact: Susan@mcustl.com to purchase
MCU Membership Assembly: January 31, 2019, Dar Al-Jalal Islamic Center, Hazelwood 63042
MCU’s Annual Membership Assembly is every member congregation/organization’s opportunity to shape MCU in the coming year. All are welcome! Dues-paying member congregations and organizations, please send two representatives from your church/organization to cast votes for new cabinet members, the 2019 budget and approve the plans going forward for our Break the Pipeline campaign.
National Leadership Training and Development Dates
February 24-March 2: Villa Maria, PA
August 11-17: Kenosha, WI (includes EXPO track)
September 19-21: Ntosake – Baltimore, MD
November 10-16: Clarkston, MI
Here’s the latest dates to phone bank:
Tuesday 30th, 6-8PM at College Church, Lindel
Saturday 3rd, 1-4PM at the MCU Office
Sunday 4th, 2-5PM at the MCU office with the Ethical Society of St. Louis
Monday 5th, 5-8PM at Eliot Chapel, Kirkwood
Monday 5th, 6-8PM at College Church, Lindell
You’ve heard me say it before: We have been disenfranchised and flat-out ignored for way too long. The rich and well-connected call the shots in Jefferson City. Meanwhile, regular folks and families in our neighborhoods struggle to pay the bills. But this November, we have a chance to take power away from the big money forces who run Jefferson City, and take it back for regular folks, by voting YES for Amendment 1.
Here are the facts on what Amendment 1 will do to clean up state politics: stop big money in the legislature by lowering campaign contribution limits; require state government be more transparent and stop any legislative fundraising on state property; eliminate fancy lobbyist gifts; stop the revolving door of legislators becoming lobbyists with a two year waiting period; require fair state legislative maps to protect minorities’ political power and to ensure neither party is given an unfair advantage when new maps are drawn after the census.
Join us with a crew from your church or your neighborhood to knock doors and talk to our neighbors about CLEAN and RUM! We will provide a brief training on how to go door-to-door, and then we will head out into the neighborhood together. Never canvassed before? Don’t worry – this is a perfect opportunity to get your feet wet. We are all learning together, and we plan on making a big splash in our community during this election season! Bring a friend!
Reclaim Our Democracy. No More Sitting Out!
MCU congregations are taking back the decision making in our schools. We have challenged the overuse of out of school suspension of our children of color, the overuse of police for discipline, lack of trauma care trained teachers, and more. We are getting results, but do you know how your districts stands up? We will also launch a final push toward the November mid-terms and getting a win on our issues: CLEAN and RUM. Join us at one of the meetings near you (see listed times and places). We’ll hear from our school district administrators and the police on how our children are being treated.
Check our FaceBook pages Metropolitan Congregations United
Follow us on Twitter: @MCUStLouis
On Monday, July 2, 2018 at 4:30pm, MCU leaders will gather outside of the office of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) at Tucker and Spruce to demand the end of family separation at the border. This event is being held simultaneously with other Gamaliel affiliates across the country.
The abusive, unjust, and immoral separation of immigrant children from their families cannot continue. Senator Blunt is a critic of the policy. MCU is asking him to lead the effort to reunite families and push for immediate comprehensive immigration reform.
“Nearly every faith tradition on the face of this earth holds in common this key tenet, that all of us are divinely created and worthy of compassion,” said Rev. Karen Anderson, president of the board of MCU. “But what we are doing at the border of this country to children and families seeking asylum from violence and oppression in the countries from which they have escaped is inconceivable. I cannot imagine the irreparable harm being done to children as they are being torn from their mothers’ arms. And what about the impact on this nation? What scars will our non-immigrant children and their families suffer if we continue this immoral policy?”
Social scientists and modern ethicists have noted that one of the marks of a just society is its treatment of the most vulnerable. This is a cornerstone message in both both Hebrew and Christian texts. While protecting our borders is important, we can and must do better as a government, and as a society, to find other ways to ensure that safety.
Families are a foundational element of our society and our government must not tear them apart. Immigrant families have historically built prosperous businesses that contribute to the economic growth of this nation. Keeping families together and reuniting the families who have been separated by unfair detention and deportation practices and policies must be central to any piece of legislation that Congress enacts.
The Gamaliel Network is a community organizing network with affiliates, like MCU, in 17 states and 44 regions. Gamaliel’s organizing work draws on struggles for justice by people of faith spanning many nations, creeds, and cultures. Our work draws on the sacred writings of our multiple faith traditions—the Torah, Christian teachings from the Bible, Catholic social teaching—as well as the founding principles of American democracy, the U.S. civil rights movement, and many other sources. Above all, our work begins and ends in an expression of the personal faith and values of our members.
“Something Is Wrong”
On February 8, of this year the Juvenile Detention Alternative Initiative (JDAI) held a collaborative meeting. Our youth are being sent to detention instead of in class. Something is wrong.
Jessica Karins writes that the disparities in juvenile justice are a: “constitutional violation in the county’s juvenile justice”, “fails to provide constitutionally required due process” and “that juvenile justice discriminates black children”, “fails to ensure adequate legal representation”. The St Louis Family Courts are failing our youth. Something is wrong when a program has been implemented or initiated since 2006 to address these failures, but are not being utilizes to the fullest to be effective. The JDAI aims to keep families and communities together by reducing the number of youth in detention.
This concept of joining families and communities and the success of programs like JDAI and campaigns like Break the Pipeline (BTP) , is deserving of committed workers and public notice. Metropolitan Congregations United (MCU) is very passionate towards doing away with detentions and focusing on breaking the pipeline to prisons. In 2017, MCU had a public meeting. The lack of justice on behalf of the courts gives some explanation why not one judge attended that meeting to make a commitment of justice for our youth.
Again, this year MCU will provide a platform through its public meetings. The event Jammin’ for Justice, held on June 14, 2018 and other grassroots actions to affect change within the justice system and schools will be ongoing.