Due to the myriad of challenges presented by COVID-19, ArchCity Defenders, Action St. Louis and the St. Louis American teamed up to centralize policy recommendations, updates, and online petitions on a website: www.STLCovidhub.org.
Information on the website outlines concerns COVID-19 presents to already marginalized community members, as well as specific policy measures designed to combat the spread of COVID-19 and its disastrous effects.
“As this virus reached our region and elected leadership began to respond, we wanted to ensure that communities that are too often left out of conversation were centered in the region's strategy,” said Kayla Reed, founder and executive director of Action St. Louis. “This site is about educating the broader public on what steps local leadership has taken to protect vulnerable communities and provides a way for people to take action and hold elected accountable to meeting our demands.”
The website compiles advocacy efforts, several of which have been initiated and authored by ArchCity Defenders, and endorsed by multiple stakeholders throughout Missouri. Two such petitions are currently circulating. One is directed towards Missouri public officials urging them to implement several Calls to Action on behalf of people who are unhoused, the working poor, people who are incarcerated, and people with disabilities. The second petition targets the Chief Justice and Judges of the Missouri Supreme Court, urging them to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in jails by ordering the release of people who are held in city and county jails.
“The St. Louis American uses the tools of journalism to inform, educate, inspire, empower and defend the black community in St. Louis,” said Chris King, managing editor of the St. Louis American. “This collaboration with ArchCity Defenders and Action St. Louis aligns perfectly with our mission and extends it through their legal and activism efforts.”
The website presents a clean design and clear flow of information, with headings such as “Policy Demands,” “More COVID-19 Advocacy,” “Updates”, “Contact Policymakers,” and “Resources.” In this format, users are encouraged to learn about these issues and advocate for tangible change in real time. The “Updates” tab automatically sources articles written about COVID-19 for further reading, and the
“Resources” tab leads the user to a sister website organized by WePower in partnership with ACD and the Clark-Fox Family Foundation.
“It is always critical for public policy to be responsive to the needs of those who face systemic oppression,” said Blake Strode, executive director of ArchCity Defenders. “It is perhaps even more critical in the midst of a global crisis such as this one. And, in a democracy, we know that this is only possible through a sustained and vocal demand for policies that support those most at risk.”
For more, visit the site at: www.STLcovidhub.org.