Category Archives: Community

Happy Human Rights Day!

Just a flashback to my Human Rights panel at the Thurman Grill last year

Human Rights Day mini panel at the Thurman Grill - Montague Simmons, Martin Rafanan, Pamela Merritt, Committeewoman Cara Jensen
Human Rights Day mini panel at the Thurman Grill - Montague Simmons, Martin Rafanan, Pamela Merritt, Committeewoman Cara Jensen
– Great speakers and great discussion!

p.s. – The entire presentation was recorded by Larry, but I can’t quite figure out how to get it up here – does anyone have advice?  Thx.


Reclaim the Promise of Public Education

I was honored to participate in last night’s rally at Carr-Lane school to “Reclaim the Promise of Public Education”.  It was a national event, with actions held in many cities throughout the United States and was co-sponsored by the American Federation of Teachers and National Education Association.  It was nice to see a strong diverse coalition of community and faith leaders come out and speak up for public education instead of tear it apart as so often happens by many St. Louis political leaders.

The AFT has a great synopsis of the key issues and points to endorse – I am proud to support all of these issues and hope you will stand up with me against the onslaught of corporate privatization, biased meritocracy, and class-ism that plagues not only public education but our nation as well.


Our visions for reclaiming the promise:

  • High-quality public education for all children that nurtures a joy of teaching and learning. Read more
  • Access to early childhood care and education for all families, including the supports they need. Read more
  • Access to affordable and excellent higher education. Read more
  • The resources and staffing our hospitals and medical centers need to provide world-class patient care. Read more
  • Properly funded and dependable public services and programs that meet the needs of our communities. Read more
  • Safeguarding the retirement security for all working women and men. Read more

Beni writes a Memoir!

My friend Beni (and former EWIDA board member) is writing a memoir – she is such a fascinating woman and I can’t wait to read her book! I donated a bit to her publishing costs – please consider joining me.
Burning Rubber:  A Memoir
An independent, hard-drinking woman, finds adventures on the road as she pursues a traveling circus in her VW van in order to make a documentary. Winding from California, Kentucky, Indiana, and finally St. Louis, she becomes transformed. Her life began in a displaced persons camp in Germany after War II and this life story continues her quest.  Funds are needed to edit and self publish this memoir.Those funding this project will receive acknowledgements in my book. Thank you in advance.

Buy-a-bird campaign

I’m proud to let you know that, upon my suggestion, the 8th ward Democratic org committed to purchasing 5 turkeys through this program!!  Such a great way to support our less fortunate neighbors!

Join us in helping those less fortunate have a wonderful holiday season. We’re celebrating 20 years of our Buy-A-Bird campaign! For a donation of $20 you can purchase a turkey for a family in need and for $30 you can purchase an entire meal. Be a part of this blessed holiday tradition. You can mail your donations to: Isaiah 58 Ministries, 2149 South Grand Blvd, St. Louis, MO 63104.

Voter Registration

Brrrrr – I just got back from a day at the Shaw Art Fair!  This is the 5th year I have organized a voter registration table at the fair.  It was so enjoyable to sit and people watch, dog watch, and talk to interested citizens.  Thank you to all who stopped by to say hi!  We took 24 registrations which were mostly address changes, but one new 18-year-old and one new citizen! Since I was at the same tent as the Shaw housing corporation, the Shaw neighborhood association and UIC (who is the developer of the new DeTonty Commons), I really got to network and strengthen relationships.  Face to face time is so important as a lot of people either know my name or know my face but sometimes don’t put the two together as their Committeewoman!  Today I feel good about my part in democracy – especially hearing the “thank-you for doing this” from passersby and knowing that every registration, every vote, is hope for a brighter future.  It really does matter!

New Development on S. Grand

Per this Lewis Reed Tweet: “Per Planning Commission: New Bailey restaurant coming to South Grand (3150), renovation of long vacant mid-century building.” Dave Bailey is set to transform this S. Grand building.


via Geo St. Louis

This is quite exciting – there have been many proposals throughout the years on what to do with that old bank building – keep your eyes open for the groundbreaking!

Social Assistance resources

I don’t know why it took me this long to organize all these phone numbers into one place – when people call me for help or ask me who to call for this and that, I looked up the resource each time.  It’s important to know how to help those in our community and how to direct questions.  I’m glad that I am looked upon as a resource and will strive to be so continually.  Please look over this list and add any other resources as you see fit –  I know it isn’t comprehensive.  I appreciate your help.

Rental Assistance

Food Assistance

Free Rehab centers

Homeless shelters and services

Programs and services for health care

SNAP application

Dept of Social Services resource list

Society of St. Vincent De Paul of St. Louis – They run several different programs for people in need. Call the organization at (314) 531-2183. Find help with:

Car repairs – They partner with local garages to fix a car if it is needed for work or medical reasons.

Free medications – If you can’t afford to pay for your prescription or do not have health insurance, receive a voucher for free medications.

Legal counseling – They can arrange for qualified individuals to get free legal advice. Learn more.

Also receive access to food, clothing, and other emergency aid.

Social workers can also help people apply for other financial aid. Some of it is directly offered by the charity, and other resources are provided from referrals. Continue Saint Louis St. Vincent assistance programs.

Legal Services of Eastern Missouri – Lawyers from this organization provide free legal assistance to the low-income and others in 21 counties of eastern Missouri, including Adair, Macon, Scotland, Clark, Marion, Shelby, Franklin, Monroe, St. Charles, Jefferson, Montgomery, St. Louis, Know, Pike, Lewis, Ralls, Warren, Lincoln, Washington, and Schuyler. Their main offices are in Hannibal and St. Louis. Dial (800) 444-0514 to apply.

Heat-Up St. Louis – This particular program may be able to provide energy and heating bill assistance grants ranging from $100 to $600 to low income and other qualified applicants. Heat-Up St. Louis Inc. is an all-volunteer, regional charity that focuses on helping the disabled, low income, and elderly individuals and families with paying their delinquent energy bills. Help is available both in St. Louis and throughout the following counties. Call the agencies below for more information or to apply for help.

St. Louis City – Call the St. Vincent DePaul 314-531-7837,

Domestic Violence

Lydia’ House
[]Redevelopment Opportunities for Women
[]St. Martha’s Hall
[]Women’s Safe House
[]YWCA []

St Louis City resources




St. Margaret of Scotland School Announces Community Alliance for Education

St. Margaret of Scotland School and four prominent community service organizations announce the formation of the Community Alliance for Education.  Cardinal Glennon Foundation, St. Louis University, Gateway Greening, and the Missouri Botanical Garden are partnering with St. Margaret of Scotland School to expand the educational opportunities of students and their families.

“Our new relationship with these esteemed groups will allow our students educational opportunities not possible without the alliance.  We are happy to announce the Community Alliance for Education, and believe that it speaks to the vitality and growth of our school here in the City of St. Louis,” said Father Matthew O’Toole, Pastor at St. Margaret of Scotland Catholic Church.

The alliance members will offer:

  • Cardinal Glennon Foundation:  Will work with students, teachers, and parents to develop healthy eating habits and active life choices.
  • St. Louis University:  Will work using St. Margaret of Scotland School science teachers as mentors for teachers in training at the university, and help to provide college volunteers to work as tutors with students at the school.
  • Gateway Greening and the Missouri Botanical Garden:  Will work with St. Margaret of Scotland School students in the Dragon’s Grove Garden at the school to learn the cycles of the seasons and how to plant and harvest throughout the year.

The alliance will be formally announced to the community at an event on Saturday, September 14, 2013 at the school located at 3964 Castleman Avenue, St. Louis, MO, 63104. Please contact Chris Thetford or by phone at 314-681-4719 with media questions.

Passing it down…

Proud that the kiddos tonight met Iconic Sister Antona Ebo, who marched on Selma, with Martin Luther King Jr. We were at the 50th celebration of the Jefferson Banks protest for Equality in St. Louis. Of course there are pictures to come. Sister Ebo liked Lily’s string bracelets and talked about here hand woven commemorative stole from Notre Dame that she was wearing. I know my kids roll their eyes at things I take them too, but they will learn…

via Franciscan Sisters of Mary

via Franciscan Sisters of Mary

Antona Ebo, F.S.M.: Brave Sister of Selma