June 13, 2020

By Katherine Ewing

On Saturday, June 6th, I organized an event at Lea McKeighan Park South where people could gather and write letters to our local, state, and federal officials about the changes that need to be made to fight institutional racial inequities. Over fifty people came out to support the cause, including Mayor Bill Baird, City Councilman-elect Andrew Felker, Committeewoman Shellie Montemurro, former LSR7 Superintendent Dr. Dennis Carpenter, LSR7 Board of Education member Jackie Clark. Together, we wrote and mailed 112 letters in support of the Black Lives Matter movement!

The event was much more impactful than I could have expected. Its impact reaches far beyond the letters we wrote, however meaningful. The conversations I had with participants were incredibly inspiring. Those who attended came from all across the spectrums of political affiliation, race, religion, sexuality, gender, and age. The diversity of those in attendance clearly communicated a message that is extremely important for all of us to internalize: the oppression of black people is not an issue of race; it is a human rights issue. Mending the racial inequities that penetrate society requires the effort and dedication of everyone, no matter who you are or where you stand politically. A person’s right to exist should not be a partisan debate. This is an opportunity for our community to rise together and fight the forces that oppress black people, especially those within ourselves.

If you were not able to attend my letter writing event, do not let that stop you from advocating for this cause. You can find your local, statewide, and federal legislators by visiting the Legislator Lookup tab on the Missouri Senate’s webpage. Write to them about why fighting against institutional inequities is important to you, and encourage them to respond. Educate yourself about policies that impact this particular community, and vote with intention. Many of the most oppressive policies are those that seem harmless to the privileged eye. Donate to advocacy organizations and campaigns. Actively have conversations about race, and compassionately correct ignorant comments when they are made. Take up the space you deserve, and keep being loud. We are on the cusp of something truly incredible.