- What is your congregation/organization: I was with Mary Mother of the Church when I first started working with MCU. Now I worship at St. Nicholas in St. Louis City
- How long have you been involved with MCU: My involvement began as I neared retirement. I had been asking myself why there was so much hopelessness in parts of our city, especially with young men of color. After Michael Brown was killed I became committed to work to make things better in St Louis. I felt that I could only remain in St Louis if we citizens came together and turned things around. I started reading, watching and attending anything that could help me begin to understand.
- What was the first issue or activity you took part in: I found myself in the organizational stages of MCUs Break the Pipeline Campaign and subsequently the Juvenile Justice Task Force. Through my experience with MCU I met professionals who shared their experience and as a result helped structure goals and actions. I met young men whose lives had been impacted by Missouri’s Criminal Justice System and their families. Being retired meant that I could be free to travel to Jefferson City often. I met and worked with lobbyists and legislators who were working on system wide reform. For three years MCU was aligned with other groups in the Missouri Coalition to Raise the Age. In 2018 Missouri joined 45 other states and passed legislation, which was signed by the Governor, to raise the age of adult criminal prosecution in Missouri from age 17 to age 18.
- What are you doing now with MCU: Still active with the JJ Task Force
- Why does working with MCU matter to you: Being aligned with MCU and other coalition members gave me greater confidence and access to people of power. Taking group actions and staying in focus and on point lets those in power know that we were/are watching and will not be going away.
Sadly we lost Helen on April 15, 2019. A celebration of her life will be held on Friday, May 3, 6:30pm at St. Nicholas Catholic Church, 701 S. 18th St., St. Louis 63103. We hold her family and friends in prayer.