As 2013 comes to a close, we took some time to reflect on MORE's accomplishments this year. Below, you’ll find a full list, but here are some highlights:
- We led the coalition to collect 36,000 signatures to qualify the Take Back St. Louis Ballot Initiative to realign our city’s investment priorities away from extraction corporations and into sustainable development. St. Louis residents will go to the polls on the initiative on April 8, 2014.
- We fought foreclosures, keeping people like Rose Bess in her home. Rose runs a home daycare and looks after many of her neighbor’s children. When Bank of America tried to evict her, we used direct action and mobilized community support and elected officials to keep her in her home.
- We worked with groups from West Virginia and Black Mesa, Arizona to pressure King Coal in its hometown, connecting struggles with those impacted by the mining of Peabody and Arch Coal.
- We started Participatory Budgeting St. Louis to allocate tax dollars more democratically. There is now a pilot program up and running in the 6th ward.
We need your help to continue to fight corporations who consistently place profits above people and the environment. As we gear up for these campaigns and many more in 2014, we are counting on you.
We thank you for giving your time and volunteer hours this past year. As 2013 ends, we’re also asking for your financial support. Can you give $20, $50, $100 or even $250 this year?
You can also send a check to MORE at 438 N. Skinker Blvd., St. Louis, MO 63130, or call our office at 314-862-2249. Thank you for considering a donation to MORE this year – any amount helps to sustain our work.
With hope for a just 2014,
The MORE Staff
P.S. Your donation will go towards building a local movement to end corporate welfare and invest in green jobs. If you can’t donate money at this time, we are also in need of laptops!
Take Back St. Louis: The Take Back St. Louis ballot initiative will go before voters on April 8, 2014! Over one hundred volunteers collected 36,000 signatures to get it on the ballot. This campaign was awarded recently when MORE’s Arielle Klagsbrun won the Brower Youth Award. To see a professional video about the campaign and to learn about how to get involved in the next few months, check out www.TakeBackStLouis.com.
We also fought the $7 million TIF (tax increment financing) to Laclede Gas for the company’s 3-block move downtown. Although the TIF passed nearly unanimously, we successfully used it as an example of bad development, generating a lot of media.
Housing: We were successful in using direct action to keep 2 families in their homes this year, and participated in national days of action around housing justice. In May, five MORE members were arrested in DC at the Department of Justice and Covington Law Office to highlight the lack of prosecution of the banks and the revolving door between Wall Street and the government. Homeowners even gave the names of bank CEOs when arrested!
MORE members in the 3rd and 5th wards, where Paul McKee is seeking to build the Northside Regeneration project, developed neighborhood demands to protect long-time residents. Residents also set up the People’s Park on a vacant McKee lot to reclaim public space and draw attention to McKee’s disregard for buildings.
Solidarity Economy St. Louis: We have put together a table of groups and projects working outside the traditional capitalist economy. The table will facilitate increased collaboration to build political and economic power for solidarity economy models, as well as hopefully lead to member-driven projects like childcare cooperatives.
Climate and Coal: This year, we did 6 actions focusing on coal companies headquartered in St. Louis. We partnered in January with RAMPS in West Virginia and Black Mesa Indigenous Support in Arizona, travelled to Gillette, Wyoming for Peabody’s shareholder meeting, and created a giant puppet of Peabody CEO Greg Boyce for street theater.
We also continued to work on Peabody’s Prairie State Energy Campus, helping cities like Marceline, Missouri get out from unfair and hugely expensive contracts. We are continuing organizing around Prairie State in Columbia and other cities and towns across Missouri.
Participatory Budgeting St. Louis: 40% of the 6th Ward budget is now going through the participatory budgeting process, where 6th ward residents are generating project ideas, making project proposals and gearing up to vote on the best allocation of tax dollars. We are already in discussions about spreading PB beyond the 6th ward.
Community Garden: We doubled our number of garden beds at our community garden at the intersection of Taylor and Evans. This year, we grew watermelons, eggplants, zucchinis, sweet potatoes and other fruits and veggies that were distributed to MORE members.
Other highlights: This summer, we had 10 interns working with us, many from local colleges. These interns were integral parts of our work this year, and we’re excited to help support the next generation of organizers. We have also done significant support this year for the St. Louis Can’t Survive on $7.35 campaign and were part of the Dump Veolia coalition. Dozens of MORE members have been part of every fast food strike, and one member was even arrested with her grandson fighting for higher wages. If you’re coming to the World Community Center to visit MORE, we have moved on up to the second floor. Look for us enjoying our new windows!