St. Louis, Missouri - “What is the delay in closing the Workhouse?” moderator Maquis Govan asks Mayor Tishaura Jones at a virtual town hall on “re-envisioning public safety” February 8. The event was co-organized by Action St. Louis, an affiliate of the Movement for Black Lives. The group’s 501©4 arm, Action St. Louis Power Project, endorsed Jones during her 2021 mayoral run. The Rev. Michelle Higgins opened the event by thanking Jones warmly for “valuing and loving the constituents of this city in this way: taking the time to listen to our questions directly.” Now, activists want clarification on when the mayor will fulfill her campaign promise to close the St. Louis Medium Security Institution, more commonly known as the Workhouse, which activists have been trying to shut down for years.
A 2018 law adding sweeping changes to how labor organizations — exempting, however, public safety unions — conduct business was struck down by the Missouri Supreme Court Tuesday. The Supreme Court upheld a lower court’s decision rendering the GOP-backed HB 1413 null for violating public employees’ right to collective bargaining “through representatives of their own choosing.” It also said the law violated the state constitution’s equal protection clause by exempting public safety labor organizations. The state’s highest court concurred with the circuit court in finding the offending provisions could not be severed from the legislation as a whole. Dubbed the “paycheck protection” bill, HB 1413 from Rep. Jered Taylor added a myriad of changes for how labor organizations could operate, including mandating public employees to opt-in to dues and fees annually, preventing supervisory employees from being included in the same bargaining unit as employees, and requiring groups be approved by an election before the State Board of Mediation in order to be certified, among other things. The Supreme Court upheld a lower court’s decision rendering the GOP-backed HB 1413 null for violating public employees’ right to collective bargaining “through representatives of their own choosing.” It also said the law violated the state constitution’s equal protection clause by exempting public safety labor organizations.
In the early morning hours of April 4, 2021, a day that many Christians recognized as Resurrection Sunday, detainees, at the St. Louis City Justice Center moved in the spirit of insurrection to challenge their oppressors and well documented repression at the jail. After the first major rebellion at the jail grabbed national attention on February 6, 2021, government bureaucrats in collaboration with “activists” of the social justice state scrambled to mystify what is really happening to detainees at the city’s jails through sham reports and pseudo-independent investigations. The attempt to paper over the status quo of cruelty and inhumanity exacted on detainees in the aftermath of the February 6th jail uprising has proved unsuccessful.
St. Louis, MO - St. Louis police responded to the city's downtown jail Sunday night after inmates broke windows, set fires and threw debris onto the street below Sunday night. The St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department sent out an all-points bulletin across city police radios Sunday night after inmates on the third floor of the City Justice Center reportedly covered cameras. A short time later, inmates began breaking the windows and throwing things onto the street. At around 9:30 p.m., smoke was pouring out of the broken windows. The St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department's Civil Disturbance Team was among the officers responding to the scene Sunday night. By around 10:20, the inmates had moved away from the windows, and police officers could be seen inside the windows looking around with flashlights in hand.
Brandy Granados’s road to activism began in November 2018 when the heater in her Kansas City, Missouri, apartment exploded. She went without heat for two months during a winter that included multiple blizzards. She continued to pay rent, she said, but in response her landlord didn’t fix the heater; instead he tried to evict her and her children. Desperate for help, she was connected with Tara Raghuveer, an area native who had returned after graduating from college with the goal of solving residents’ housing insecurity. “I figured I could either just sit there and be mad about my situation, or I could do something about it,” Granados said. She was able to fight off the first eviction attempt in court, but the landlord removed her to retake possession of the house. She ended up in a homeless shelter for three months. The loss of her home has left her son suffering from anxiety and trauma.
Daniel Halferty was behind on rent. “When I made a partial payment in October, [my landlord] texted me, berating me.” Halferty had been hunting for a job since April, but with a history of cancer and traumatic brain injury, he was cautious about finding a job that would be fairly safe from COVID-19. Halferty started his new job at the end of November, and made a payment plan to catch up on past-due rent. That was fine with his landlord, Ellis Real Estate, until Halferty asked to delay just 2 weeks, so he could prevent his utilities from being shut off. Then his landlord stopped communicating. “They just cut out all communication to me, and then Christmas Eve, we had the notice from the lawyer on our door that we were going to be sued for $2,925. They had 30 days to collect the payment and get the apartment back.”
More than 100 inmates at the St. Louis City Justice Center took over two units of the jail early this morning, shattering fourth-floor windows and setting small fires as they called out jubilantly to a crowd of supporters who gathered on the street below. The uprising began around 2:30 a.m., and detainees held control of the units for more than six hours before teams of city sheriff's deputies and police regained custody. For weeks, tensions have been high at the downtown jail. Inmates staged two protests in late December and early January to complain about COVID-19 protocols and other conditions in the facility, where the majority of the city's detainees are now housed.
Saint Louis, MO - It is a custom in the City of Saint Louis and other predominantly New Afrikan cities to welcome a new year by firing into the air. The coming of the New Year 2021 saw the most oppressed of our people improve on this popular custom by initiating a struggle against atrocious conditions at the Saint Louis “Justice” Center. This justice center downtown is directly across from the hideous faux-gothic, soot stained monstrosity of City Hall, and it is not lost on many who enter the doors of either building that one feeds the other. The City needs Black people incarcerated because, as Huey P. Newton and other revolutionary theoreticians pointed out, New Afrikan people after slavery technically ended became a surplus population.
For almost a decade, advocates in Missouri have been lobbying their legislators to expand Medicaid coverage in the red state. Since the Supreme Court ruled in 2012 that the Medicaid expansion under the Affordable Care Act was optional, 36 states plus Washington, D.C., have adopted and implemented the expansion. In those states where coverage has not been expanded, the decision has come at a devastating cost to Americans who fall into the "coverage gap," advocates said. "When the Affordable Care Act was originally passed, folks who were making up to 138% of the federal poverty level were supposed to be on Medicaid.
A protest in front of City Hall in Kansas City over the arrest of a pregnant Black woman entered its seventh day on Thursday. Demonstrators have camped out in front of City Hall after videos circulated showing a white Kansas City police officer kneeling on the back of a Black pregnant woman during her arrest last week. The protesters are demanding Police Chief Richard Smith resign and want the officer involved to be fired. They are also calling for the city to redistribute 50 percent of the department’s budget to social services to help the Black community, according to The Associated Press.
A grand jury in St. Louis on Tuesday indicted Mark and Patricia McCloskey on counts of exhibiting a weapon and tampering with evidence four months after footage circulated showing the couple pointing guns at Black Lives Matter protesters outside their home. The couple's attorney, Joel Schwartz, said the grand jury reached the decision after the McCloskeys appeared before a judge earlier in the day, NBC affiliate KSDK reported. St. Louis Circuit Attorney Kimberly Gardner had issued felony charges against the couple in June for unlawful use of a weapon.
Caught on a police dash cam video repeatedly kicking a suspect who had already surrendered, a Missouri police officer was recently charged with one count of deprivation of rights under color of law. After an internal investigation was launched at his department, the officer resigned and immediately joined another police department.
The defeat of a right-to-work law in 2018 seems to have given Missouri's unions a boost. Their membership grew by 46,000 last year, bucking a downward national trend. The increase boosted the state's union membership to 297,000 people, the highest number since 2004. Union members now make up 11.1% of the state's workforce, the highest percentage since 2008.
In Bridgeton, on the northern edge of St. Louis County, Missouri, a fire burns underground in a vast landfill, creeping closer and closer to a pile of radioactive waste from the World War II era that was dumped there back in the 1970s. This “subsurface smoldering event,” as these odorous, high-temperature chemical reactions are called, at the West Lake Landfill has burned continuously for almost a decade now, keeping nearby residents all too aware of the Superfund site in their backyard.
Artists Call For Kemper Museum Of Contemporary Art To Drop Trustee Tied To $130 Million Lawsuit Over ICE Detainees
Mariner Kemper, the CEO and chairman of the UMB Financial Corp (UMB Bank) and a trustee of the Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art in Kansas City, Missouri—which was founded by his parents, R. Crosby Kemper Jr. and Mary “Bebe” Hunt, in 1994—is under fire for his connections to President Trump’s controversial immigration policies. Artists began calling for his removal from the museum board after learning that UMB Bank represents the bondholders for the publicly owned and privately operated Wyatt Detention Center in Central Falls, Rhode Island...