Empowering You – October Newsletter

Check out Empowering You- newsletter from Empower Missouri.

In this issue:

  • Preview our workshops and meet our Superhero Awardees for the 116th Annual Conference: Persisting & Organizing to Win – POW! October 5-6th! Register NOW!
  • Veto Session: were any of Gov. Greitens’ vetoes overridden?
  • How will you honor World Food Day?

Download a PDF.

POW! 2017 Annual Conference

116th ANNUAL CONFERENCE: 
Persisting & Organizing to Win! Putting the POW in EMPOWER!

October 5-6, St Louis, MO

Online Registration is NOW OPEN!

Empower Missouri is dedicating the 2017 Annual Conference to the role of labor organizing. With continued attacks to reduce the reach and influence of the labor community, now is the time to focus on building strong alliances across the broad social justice spectrum.

Keynote Speakers:

  • Nancy Cross: Opening Keynoter, Vice President SEIU Local 1
  • Tiffany Dena Loftin: Closing Keynoter, Senior Program Specialist, NEA
  • Rev. Traci Blackmon & Rabbi Susan Talve: Dinner & Awards Speaker

>>>Preview our complete POW! Conference program booklet, with descriptions of workshops, bios of presenters and awardees, and final schedule. <<<

Schedule:

Thursday, October 05, 2017

9:00 - 10:00

10:00-11:30

Registration Opens - remains open throughout conference

Pre-Conference Session Presented by Missouri Jobs with Justice

11:30-11:45

Break

11:45- 1:15

Conference opens with Welcome 

Buffet Lunch Available

Keynote: Nancy Cross 

1:15-1:30

Break

1:30-3:00

Session 1 Breakouts.  See below for list.

3:00-3:15

3:15-4:45

Break

Session 2 Breakouts. See below for list.

4:45-5:00

Break and Awards Dinner check-in.

4:45-6:00

Networking Happy Hour with Cash Bar.

6:00-8:00 PM

Dinner and guest speakers Reverend Traci Blackmon & Rabbi Susan Talve.

Presentation of annual awards winners.

Friday, October 06, 2017

7:30-9:00

8:30-9:45

Breakfast buffet

Annual Business Meeting

9:45-10:00

Break

10:00-10:45

Keynote Presentation - Tiffany Dena Loftin 

10:45-11:45

Response Panel 

11:45 AM-Noon

Call to Action, Thank You’s & Safe Travels

   

Subject to change, more details to follow.

Breakout Session #1 1:30-3:00 PM   Breakout Session #2 3:15-4:45 PM
Housing & Food Insecurity Among Low-Wage Workers (AHHTF & HTF)   Housing & Food Insecurity Among Low-Wage Workers (Repeat) (AHHTF & HTF)
Justice in the Workplace (HRTF)   Faith/Labor Alliance
MO Budget Project (EJTF)   Ban the Box - Fair Chance Hiring Policies (CJTF)
Impact of Trauma on Low-Wage Workers (H/MHTF)   Minimum Wage and #FF$15 (EJTF)

Scholarships:

10% of the total tickets sold are available at a Scholarship Rate of 10% of the conference price. Click here to apply for a scholarship. If selected, you will receive registration instructions.

Sponsoring:

You and/or your organization can show your support for worker's rights and grassroots organizing by sponsoring our conference and contributing to our scholarship fund for low-wage workers. 

Thank you to last year's Sponsors. 2017 Sponsors include:

Bob Fox & Maxine Clark
Center for Budget & Policy
Clark-Fox Foundation
CWA Local 6355
David Bohnett Foundation
Dowd Bennett, LLP
Lutheran Children & Family Services
Missouri Association of Trial Attorneys
Missouri Faith Voices
Missouri Jobs with Justice
Missouri Chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People
National Council of Jewish Women
National Low Income Housing Coalition
Painters & Allied Trades, District Council 58
Places for People
Representative Deb Lavender
Schuchat, Cook & Werner
Second Chance Freedom Foundation
Service Employees International Union Local One
Senator Jill Schupp
Sts Joachim & Ann Care Service
Vision for Children at Risk
Women's Voices Raised for Social Justice
15th Ward Democratic Club

When & Where

October 5-6, 2017

Sheraton Clayton Plaza Hotel, St. Louis

7730 Bonhomme Ave.

St. Louis, MO 63105

(Special hotel rate of $109/night is available under "Empower Missouri October 2017" RATE EXPIRES 9/12)

 

Sponsors

 

Documents

Train the Trainer | MO HIV Justice Coalition & SERO

August 3-4, 2017, the MO HIV Justice Coalition is hosting a Train the Trainer event in Springfield, MO. Tami Haught of the Sero Project will be leading the program along with input from other Missouri-based leaders. Tami Haught, Sero’s Organizing and Training Coordinator, was diagnosed in 1993 and lived with HIV in silence for 6 years, before embracing advocacy and HIV education. She managed the successful campaign to reform Iowa’s HIV criminalization statement.

The goal of this training is to equip people living with HIV (PLHIV) and allies to advocate for changes to Missouri’s outdated and stigmatizing HIV criminal laws. Register at this link.

Full training schedule can be found at bit.ly/MOHIVJCevents

Legislative Update Week of 3.13.17

 
Three Cheers for You! SB 28, the block granting of Medicaid, has been put on the back burner. Thanks for making all those calls. The bill was briefly debated in the senate floor before being laid over to the informal calendar - so it could come back, but it was not put forward for a vote at this time. Take a deep breathe and soak in that moment.
 
 Advocates testified on two bills (HBs 712 and 713) put forward by Rep. Dan Shaul (R-Imperial) and Rep. Crystal Quade (D-Springfield), respectively, to create a pilot program to address the Cliff Effect specifically as it relates to when working parents lose ALL child care subsidies over often miniscule raises. Read more.  Reach out to the House Children and Families Committee members, tell them your experience with this, and urge them to approve this legislation.
 
 
We thank Rep. Cora Faith Walker (D-St. Louis County) for filing HB 847which would require training about trauma and trauma-informed approaches as part of preparation to become a teacher. Email or call the House Special Committee on Urban Issues in support of the bill.
 
 
Our Human Rights Task Force members testified in support of SB 287, to reduce bias in policing. Encourage Senate Judiciary and Civil and Criminal Jurisprudence committee members to approve this legislation.
 
 
That was the good news.
 
 
The state legislature is trying to keep St. Louisians from the raise in the minimum wage they passed 2 years ago. HCS HBs 1193 & 1194 are moving quickly, having been introduced, heard, and passed through the House chamber all last week. They might try to push this through the Senate before Legislative Spring Break (March 17-24). Tell your senator this bill deserves time for debate and discussion, not a rubber stamp. Let your senator know you support a higher minimum wage and local control and want to defeat these bills; watch our Facebook page for announcement of a hearing or any floor debate.
 
 
 We stand up to discrimination.We're watching a number of bills that attack workers by weakening employment non-discrimination protections in the MO Human Rights Act (SB 43, HB 550, HB 552, HB 676) and by requiring arbitration (SB 45).
We ought to be passing stronger worker protections like the Missouri Nondiscrimination Act (MONA), not undermining civil rights protections that took decades of blood, sweat and tears to secure. Watch Facebook and Twitter for developments throughout the week. It was while testifying on these bills earlier in the session that MO NAACP Pres. Rod Chapel was cut-off from testifying.
 
 
 
Go back up to the top and read that good news one more time. Then call your state rep. and senator and see if they've got time for a meeting with you and your friends while they're back in town for Spring Break, or if they're doing a town hall. If so, let us know and we'll share public events with others on social media. Thank them for their service and make sure they know how you'd like to see them representing you.
 

#ProtectOurCare Action Alert to Save Medicaid

The Guiding Principles of Empower Missouri begin with this phrase: “All people in Missouri should have true access to quality health care….” Given that this right is so foundational to us, we are gravely alarmed by proposals at the state and federal levels – to repeal the Affordable Care Act, to establish block grants or spending caps within Medicaid, or to in other ways radically constrict access to affordable care for millions of Americans.

FEDERAL LEVEL

Please contact your U.S. Senator and Congressional today (calls preferred) to say “Do not repeal the Affordable Care Act without providing an affordable high quality alternative to serve the needs of my family and my community.”

Sen. Blunt’s contact information: http://www.blunt.senate.gov/public/

Sen.McCaskill’s contact information: https://www.mccaskill.senate.gov/

To find contact information for your U.S. Congress member:
http://www.senate.mo.gov/LegisLookup/Default.aspx

You may also use this call-in number as part of the Nation Day of Action to defend health coverage on January 24:

866-426-2631

MO STATE LEVEL

In Jefferson City, Sen. David Sater (R-Cassville) has proposed Senate Bill (SB) 28, the “Medicaid Global Waiver” bill. This bill was heard on January 11 in the Senate Committee on Seniors, Families and Children. A vote could come as early as the next meeting of the committee, 8 a.m. on January 25. Pick up your phone right now and call the our state senators. Ask them to vote no on SB 28, to preserve a strong Medicaid program for the sake of seniors, persons with disabilities, families, and children, and to wait until there is less uncertainty at the federal level to begin tinkering with the funding structure of Medicaid in Missouri.

Click for the Committee members’ phone numbers and emails.

For an analysis of SB 28, authored by Joel Ferber of Legal Services of Eastern Missouri, for informational purposes only, and taking no position on the passage or defeat of SB 28, click here.

For a briefing paper on SB 28 by Dr. Sidney Watson of the St. Louis University School of Law, Center for Health Law Studies, click here.

LOCAL ACTIONS:

To volunteer to phone bank so that more Missourians learn about the threats posed by eliminating or slashing Medicaid, email info@empowermissouri.org. Training will be furnished.

Our Columbia area members are asked to join other advocates for affordable, high-quality health care at the following elected officials’ offices on Friday, Jan 27th:

• Congresswoman Vicki Hartzler’s office from 7:30 to 8:30 a.m., 2415 Carter Lane, Suite 4
• Senator Roy Blunt’s office noon to 1:00 pm, 1001 Cherry St, Suite 104

Congress is on the verge of cutting over 20 million people from health care. We cannot be silent. Join Empower Missouri, Jobs with Justice, Missouri Health Care for All, Planned Parenthood, SEIU and National Nurses United on Saturday, January 28, to tell your story of what the Affordable Care Act means to you! Speak Out this Saturday at 10am at the United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW 655) Hall, 300 Weidman, Ballwin, MO.

Some participants will be headed to Washington DC next week, and they want to carry your voice and stories with them. Please come out to support them at the speak out and a rally to follow.

SWMO/Springfield: save the date for an action on Saturday February 4th. Details coming soon.

Watch our Facebook page for additional announcements of public events to #ProtectOurCare.

Michael Johnson Wins Appeal in HIV Case

Michael Johnson is a young man who was convicted under Missouri's HIV criminal law statutes on one count of transmitting HIV and several cases of exposing another to HIV. For updates from legal expert Mayo Schreiber, Jr., Esq., Deputy Director at The Center for HIV Law & Policy, view video of the webinar held this afternoon.

Resources from the webinar:

HIV Is Not A Crime Conference

“It is our duty to fight for our freedom.
It is our duty to win.
We must love each other and support each other.
We have nothing to lose but our chains.”

Assata Shakur, Assata: An Autobiography

I’m Ashley Quinn, Empower Missouri’s newest hire as Coordinator of Organizational Outreach, from our Springfield Chapter and our MO HIV Justice Coalition.  I had the great privilege of attending the nation’s second ever HIV is Not a Crime Training Academy (#HINAC2016) in Huntsville, AL this May. Thank you to the Missouri Foundation for Health’s grant which provided funds for this adventure.

HIV is often thought of as a white gay man’s disease – but we spent a lot of time talking about how HIV and the laws that criminalize a virus affect young black men, trans women of color, heterosexual women/sex workers, our armed forces and immigrants. On a recent conference call, a sociologist has reported that there have been at least 119 people convicted under HIV specific statutes in Missouri law since 1991 – which is the highest in the nation. We also heard stories of success from states that have successfully changed their harmful laws. I saw intersecting threads running across many of the topics Empower Missouri works for justice in.

Our Springfield chapter is joining with other local organizations to do a summer book study on The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness by Michelle Alexander.  We see the overarching disparate impact of our hyper-criminalized world, where situations that should be handled from a public health perspective, like HIV, drug use, and mental illness are so frequently handled with handcuffs and jail cell bars. And we see that those marginalized in our society have the slimmest resources and become targets of biased policing, prosecutions, and imprisonment.

I stood in an auditorium where I was the minority, where most attendees were PLHIV (People Living with HIV), but I wasn’t in a room of “sick” people. As we left the conference I saw a critical mass of activists who were encouraged and emboldened to go back to their home states with new connections, new networks, new resources and a renewed spirit to work for justice. As we chanted the quote from the top of this post, we were empowered.

To join our MO HIV Justice Coalition or our book study in Springfield, contact Ashley at Ashley@empowermissouri.org or 417.425.6251.

Ashley Quinn
Coordinator of Organizational Outreach