Action St. Louis

Action St. Louis is holding a #ClosetheWorkhouse video contest for a $1,000 top prize. The second place prize is $500.

“We have a lot of amazing artists who are not working and we wanted to merge those worlds,” said Kayla Reed, co-founder and executive director of Action St. Louis. “It’s a way to give back to the community that has always shown up to support us and to focus on the fact that the Workhouse should be closed right now.”

As of April 21, the Medium Security Institution, also known as the Workhouse, was only jailing 112 people — though it has the capacity to hold 1,138 people and requires a $16 million annual budget. The #ClosetheWorkhouse campaign has been pushing for the closure of the St. Louis city jail, especially in light of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Action St. Louis, a grassroots organization, is asking people to post a one-minute video of a poem, song, skit, etc., related to closing the Workhouse. The contest opened on April 20 and ends May 1 at midnight. 

Previously, the group also held a video contest to raise awareness about the importance of the Census, and they received submissions from all ages and all talents, Reed said.

To compete, use the #ClosetheWorkhouse hashtag and tag @ActionSTL when you post the video to social media. Also, email the video to The winner will be announced via Zoom at the Close The Workhouse May Movement Meeting on May 7 at 6 p.m. 

For more information about the Close the Workhouse campaign read the 2.0 report (released January 2020) at


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