Metropolitan Congregations United and Campaign for Youth Justice #FreeOurYouth

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.

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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.

Rebecca Klemme Eliceiri

Ordained minister in the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), MCU leader, and librarian who is always interested in equipping people to integrate thoughts and prayers with missional action so we can better work together to build and reveal God's realm.