Clayton, MO – A two-pronged initiative to protect Missouri’s working families now under open assault by the Republican-controlled Missouri Legislature has been announced by a coalition of faith, community, human rights and Labor organizations.
The initiative includes a planning and organizing conference and the release of a fact sheet on the impact of Missouri’s discriminatory SB 43. POW! Conference – “Persisting and Organizing to Win (POW) a joint two-day educational and organizing event on working conditions in Missouri and the assault on workers’ rights Oct. 5 -6 at the Sheraton Hotel in Clayton will bring a multitude of organizations together in an effort to devise a coordinated, cohesive set of actions to protect Missouri families and develop strategies to implement those actions.
Unions are encouraged to have representatives attend. Registration for the two-day conference and awards dinner is $195, or $50 for just the dinner, and scholarships are available. For more information or to register, visit empowermissouri.org or call 314-791-6777.
FACTS ABOUT SB 43
Senate Bill 43 legalizes employment and housing discrimination in Missouri law. Several organizations have co-released a FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions) sheet addressing the loss of workplace and housing protections in SB 43.
“Senate Bill 43 is also an assault on workers’ rights and families,” said Nimrod (Rod) Chapel Jr., president of the Missouri State Conference, NAACP. “The standard of proof in cases of discrimination has been ratcheted up in a way that contributed to our recent announcement of an NAACP Travel Advisory for Missouri.”
In addition to the loss of protections on the job and in housing foisted on Missourians by SB 43, Chapel said, “Agencies in our state have also lost more than $600,000 because we are deemed no longer in substantial compliance with the Fair Housing Act.”
Groups and individuals co-releasing the FAQ include: the Anti-Defamation League of Missouri, Southern Illinois and Eastern Kansas; Empower Missouri, Metropolitan St. Louis Equal Housing and Opportunity Council, Missouri Faith Voices, NAACP, Missouri State Conference, National Council of Jewish Women St. Louis, Patrick D. Walker and PROMO, Missouri’s statewide organization advocating for LGBTQ equality.
A copy of the FAQ sheet can be downloaded at empowermissouri.org/?s=SB43.
“Missouri working families are under attack every day from both state and federal level politicians,” said Nancy Cross, vice president of SEIU Local 1, who will be among the keynote speakers at the conference.
“In the past, we have tried to win on our own issues that impact our organizations directly, and we have not always been successful with this strategy. Now is the time for us to work together on our shared vision for a better Missouri. None of our organizations can win on our own, so we have to bring our energy and resources together to accomplish common goals.”
In addition to Cross, other keynote speakers at the conference will include:
• Rev. Traci Blackmon, executive minister of Justice & Witness Ministries for The United Church of Christ and senior pastor of Christ The King United Church of Christ in Florissant, MO.
• Tiffany Dena Loftin, senior programming specialist at the National Education Association’s Community Advocacy and Partnership Engagement Center.
• Rabbi Susan Talve, founding rabbi at Central Reform Congregation in St. Louis City, known for fostering relationships with African-American and Muslim congregations and advocating for civil liberties for the LGBTQ community.
Co-sponsors for the two-day conference include: Missouri Faith Voices, Empower Missouri, Missouri Jobs with Justice, Painters District Council 58, CWA Local 6355, the Missouri NAACP, SEIU Local 1, Clark-Fox Policy Institute at Washington University, Dowd Bennett Law, Missouri Association of Trial Attorneys, Maxine Clark and Bob Fox, National Council of Jewish Women, Places for People, Sts. Joachim & Ann Care Service, Schuchat, Cook & Werner and Vision for Children at Risk.
For more information, contact Jeanette Mott Oxford at 314-775-3261 or Rod Chapel at 816-309-5009.