Governor’s Proclamations Ignore Needs of This Moment: Must Be Vigorously Challenged by Justice Advocates

Missouri’s General Assembly and executive branch have moved into political chaos, following a pair of racially insensitive proclamations to Special Session by Governor Mike Parson. These came on the heels of signing Senate Bill 600, a “get tough on crime” package of measures that repeat mass incarceration failures of the past that had racially disparate...
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Sara Baker is the legislative and policy director for the ACLU of Missouri. She is responsible for working with elected officials and community organizations on issues related to the rights of all Missourians. She is returning to her home state after serving as Special Projects Manager and Stephen M. Rivers Memorial Fellow at the Center for Democracy...
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We were extremely disappointed when Gov. Parson announced on July 6 that he would be signing Senate Substitute for Senate Bill 600 (SB 600), legislation that enacts mandatory minimums and stacking of sentences and creates new classes of crimes.  We said so in a statewide press release, in a guest column in the St. Louis...
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We at Empower Missouri are extremely disappointed to learn that Gov. Parson plans to sign Senate Bill 600. This reverses the positive direction that his administration appeared to be heading in his 2019 State of the State Address. At that time Gov. Parson said: “As a former sheriff and law enforcement officer for over 22...
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As social justice advocates, our relationship with “Independence Day” is “complicated” to say the least. Clearly the liberty and justice promised in founding documents of the U.S. have never been realized, and those same documents contain structural inequality. So much has been written about this. This year some of us will be revisiting Langston Hughes’...
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On June 18th, the Elizabeth Taylor AIDS Foundation (ETAF) launched their national HIV is Not a Crime initiative, focused on modernizing HIV-specific laws across the country. This initiative is in partnership with The Counter Narrative Project, Positive Women’s Network, The Sero Project, Transgender Law Center, the US People Living with HIV Caucus, and Gilead Sciences,...
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The 2020 Legislative Session came to an end on May 15th, amidst the special challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic. Despite having floor debate time reduced by about six weeks due to the public health emergency, 51 bills became “Truly Agreed and Finally Passed” (TAFP) during the abbreviated session. We were disappointed to see many of...
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Happy Juneteenth! Empower Missouri is among organizations that has begun a discussion about amending our personnel manual to create a paid staff holiday for Juneteenth. We have not adopted that policy yet, but the deliberative process is just one of the many ways that our staff and Board are attempting to fulfill the mandate of...
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Whether you have been part of the Empower Missouri advocacy network for a long time or just joined our mailing list this week, there has never been a more important time to be a social justice advocate. Our planet is rocked by three crises simultaneously that interact with each other with synergistic power: The novel...
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Note: The following blog contains links to stories that include photos and descriptions of actions that are traumatizing. Recently, I have heard a number of people speculate that living through the COVID-19 pandemic is bringing uncommon unity to people in the U.S. that “we are all in the same boat now.” Despite the longing that...
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