Digging Deeper: A Conversation with Women’s Voices Raised for Social Justice

I was delighted that two members of Women’s Voices Raised for Social Justice took the time to comment on my blog post about the organization last week. Today I was happy to hear from Lise Bernstein, the president of the organization, who thoughtfully answered my follow up questions.

 Women’s Voices’ mission:

  • To identify, research and discuss critical issues
  • To mobilize, energize and inspire ourselves and others to action
  • To work as individuals and in community for social justice

Women’s Voices achieves our mission through education and advocacy. Our activities include: writing letters or commentaries published in print media; sponsoring monthly educational programs; disseminating information; public speaking; marching; witnessing; and . Women’s Voices works with other social justice organizations, participates in coalitions; and develops and implements programs and activities in collaboration with like-minded groups

Why is it critical to serve the population you support in the state where you are?

Missouri consistently ranks low nationally in funding for public education, health care, early childhood programs and other basic services. The state has not expanded Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act, leaving 300,000 low-income Missourians without health insurance. There is only one abortion provider in the state and anti-choice groups consistently file bills to restrict access to abortion and other women’s health services. Missouri also has one of the lowest corporate and individual tax rates in the country, including the lowest tobacco tax in the nation. Four proposals to raise tobacco taxes have failed in the past several years, most recently in November…which would have raised $300 million annually for early childhood eduction.

What will Women’s Voices Raised main focus(es) be in 2017?

Women’s Voices will focus on gun violence prevention, health care (Medicaid expansion, Affordable Care Act), reproductive justice and racial justice in 2017.

While you struggle against serious challenges in a red state, what is something positive that those of us outside of Missouri should know about the state or its people?

Missouri has many organizations that work collaboratively on many social justice issues; St. Louis, Kansas City and Columbia (largest University of MO campus) are cities where progressive activism is strong. Women’s Voices has strong partnerships with many organizations, working collectively to strengthen our advocacy efforts in Jefferson City (Capitol). Among the organizations with whom we work are: Planned Parenthood; Missouri Budget Project; Vision for Children at Risk; Jobs with Justice, Missouri Health Care for All and many others.

A big thanks to Lise and the others at Women’s Voices Raised for Social Justice for letting us know more about the great work they do!

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