January 25, 2021
(St. Louis, MO) — Today, a coalition of grassroots organizations launch the People’s Plan, a comprehensive policy agenda designed to redistribute power and resources in St. Louis City. The People’s Plan builds on 6 years of organizing while creating new momentum towards a multi-issue, multi-year strategy to inspire transformation at the policy and structural levels.
Released online, the People’s Plan Coalition Statement reads:
“Our education, health, housing, and policing systems are in desperate need of an overhaul. Centuries of racism and socioeconomic inequity have left their mark on these systems, resulting in a vastly different quality of life for White and Black St. Louisans and ending countless Black lives. The COVID-19 pandemic and economic recession has magnified these racial and economic disparities. As more and more people wake up to what Black St. Louisans have always known to be true, we have a chance to reshape public policy, allowing us to shift outcomes and build a new vision for our city that is truly equitable, sustainable, and inclusive.”
Fundamentally, the People’s Plan is a dynamic policy agenda that is designed to redistribute power and resources back to the people that call this city home. In order to do this, the People’s Pan calls on our city to commit to:
- Making STL Home: Schools are closing, rents are rising, and violence is increasing. We can make St. Louis a safe and inspiring place to live, work and play, but we need to invest in public schools, affordable housing, accessible transit, health equity, universal childcare, environmental justice, and so much more.
- Funding Our Future: Our local tax regime is regressive, and wealthy individuals benefit from countless tax preferences. We must raise local taxes on the rich in order to fund wrap around support for struggling families and communities, particularly for the young people that will determine this region’s future.
- Building Inclusive Democracy: Our city’s economic and political elites crowd the legislative agenda with TIFs and tax abatements, while everyday educational, health, and housing tragedies go unaddressed. We need to return power to the people, which means reimagining broken institutions, and redesigning them to be truly democractic. That means a transparent budget process, independent redistricting process, updated ethics rules, and elections designed to maximize turnout.
- Re-Envisioning Public Safety: Our city must divest from the failed, predatory, and expensive “arrest and incarcerate” model of public safety, and invest in communities, an approach that has proven to reduce violence and actually keep people safe.
The People’s Plan is anchored by a coalition of grassroots organizations: Action St. Louis, ArchCity Defenders, CAPCR, Dutchtown Community South Corporation, Empower Missouri, ExpectUS, Forward Through Ferguson, Faith for Justice, Homes for All St. Louis, Missouri Faith Voices, Missouri Healthcare for all, Missouri Jobs with Justice, Missouri Voter Protection Coalition, MO Ho Justice Coalition, NARAL Pro-Choice Missouri, Organizations for Black Struggle, Peace Economy Project, Privacy Watch STL, Roderick & Solange MacArthur Justice Center, SEIU Healthcare, MO/KS SEIU State Council, Show Me Integrity, St. Louis Palestine Solidarity Committee, STL Housing Defense Collective, The Bail Project STL, Team TIF, WEPOWER, and Women’s Voices Raised.
Here’s what a few anchor organizations are saying about the People’s Plan:
“Time and time again, people have been asked how to address issues of poverty, criminalization, economic disparity, and racism that plague St. Louis. They have repeatedly responded with clarity about deep community investment, universal access to opportunity, and transformative justice. This plan is a reflection of the broad community alignment around those principles, and we hope that those who have been entrusted with leadership, and those asking for our votes, will take note,” said Blake Strode, Executive Director of ArchCity Defenders
“The People’s Plan is a proactive and visionary plan for St. Louis. We are coming together to clearly show what our communities need to build an economy and democracy that works for all of us – no matter what. Government should respond directly to the needs of its people and invest in our communities to make that happen. We are excited to keep working directly with community members and organizations to make the People’s Plan a reality,” Caitlyn Adams, Executive Director of Missouri Jobs with Justice
“For years our communities, and more specifically Black communities, have suffered as St. Louis leadership has failed to implement a vision that centers the people of this city. Our neighborhoods are not safe, our children do not have the investment they need, and our voices are ignored. The People’s Plan is the product of the collective work of more than 20 organizations and sets a vision for something better. This plan moves us to closer to transforming this city into a place where families can thrive,” said Kayla Reed, Executive Director of Action St. Louis
The People’s Plan grew out years of findings, proposals, and visions put forward in such documents as the Ferguson Commission Report, For the Sake of All, Dismantling the Divide, Environmental Racism in STL, Close the Workhouse Reports 1.0 and 2.0, and more.
Our first step is to take these policy proposals back to the people in a series of teach-ins and workshops. Starting this week, Action St. Louis will host an informal teach-in each day that will focus on one of the pillars of the Plan. Our hope is that these teach-ins will offer a deep dive into each pillar and educate folks about the work some of the anchor organizations are doing to drive forward the policies within the Plan. These teach-ins will be broadcast live from Action St. Louis’s Facebook page Tuesday-Friday at 5pm.
The People’s Plan can be found online, along with a detailed list of resources, campaigns, and organizations driving the core tenets. We are currently asking organizations and community members to sign on and offer feedback on the policies we’re proposing. To follow the conversation on social media, use #PeoplesPlanSTL.