May 9th, 2024 e-Edition

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Biden addressing affordable housing crisis

St. LouiS AmericAn

Harris-Stowe graduates praise its diversity

St. Louis American

Harris-Stowe State University held its Spring 2024 Commencement on Saturday May 4, 2024, and its president, Dr. LaTonia Collins Smith, told graduates they should “hold fast to the power within that has carried you across this stage.”

“Your journey is not just a personal triumph but a testament to the transformative impact of education and the unwavering support of the HSSU community.”

Amariah Hardwick, who graduated magna cum laude after three years at HSSU, praised her school’s “diversity and all-around

LaTonia Collins Smith, HarrisStowe State University president, was joined by 2024 Commencement keynote speaker Dawnn Lewis. The acclaimed actor and activist told students “You are prepared to earn the right to be where you are.”


Wednesday May 8, 2024.


President Joe Biden has awarded a Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation’s highest civilian honor, to the late civil rights icon Medgar Wiley Evers and 18 other Americans.


Evers, born in 1925 in Decatur, Mississippi, is remembered for his unwavering dedication to the civil rights movement despite facing relentless racism and threats to his life. His childhood was marked by the pervasive specter of racism, with incidents like the lynching of a family friend serving as stark reminders of the injustice prevalent in the community. Determined to make a difference, Evers enlisted in the Army during World War II, serving with distinction in a segregated field battalion in England and France. After returning, Evers earned a Bachelor of Arts from Alcorn College, where he met Myrlie Beasley, who he married in 1951. He embarked on a career in activism, joining the


help provide foster teens with the tools they need to thrive. The Institute is recruiting 30 to 40 mentors for Epworth Children Family Services, providing these adults with the opportuni-

ty to make a positive impact. Training will be provided for adults looking to become mentors.

“Epworth has a long-standing relationship with the community and we are thrilled to be partnering with them,” said Stephanie McCreary, Oasis national intergenerational tutoring program director. ‘Grand Champions’ are the gateway to helping these teens become successful adults.”

“We take pride in meeting the youth we serve, where they need us most,” said LaTrina Hopton, Epworth Children

‘A powerful symbol of progress’

The vision for connecting St. Louis and the Brickline Greenway now has Harris-Stowe State University (HSSU) as a partner. The new Greenway Project on Market Street focuses on improving access for residents and visitors while enhancing the environment, and commemorating local history with public art. Construction will begin this summer for ta new stretch of greenway along Market Street between 22nd St. and Compton Ave. Market Street will be narrowed, now with shorter distances to cross the street but still plenty of room for driving and parking.

The 0.8-mile project will include trees and artwork. The expansion will begin at the corners of Compton and Market

CAC Audited MAY 9 – 15, 2024 @stlouisamerican @stlouisamerican
Medgar Evers
COMPLIMENTARY Vol. 96 No. 5 Serving, empowering and advocating for equity in St. Louis since 1928
See page B1 A dash of district track meets sprinkle calendar SPORTS The road to the Missouri state track and field championships got underway last weekend with district competition around the state at the Class 1,2 and 3 levels. Page B3 The concept behind the Little Free Library is to encourage reading and literacy in communities where books may be scarce or not readily accessible. Page A12 HEALTH Affinia, partners open Little Free Libraries See OASIS, A7
The St. Louis American
take pride in meeting the youth we serve where they need us most.”
Institute offers a unique partnership between teenagers aging out of the foster care system and mentors eager to share their life experiences, skills, and expertise to
receives Medal of Freedom See EVERS, A6 See
Greenway links with HSSU; to head north in future
Photo courtesy of Harris-Stowe
The An Oasis of understanding
Photo by Wiley Price / St. Louis American Mattie Vasser, End Times Christian Church associate minister, members of her congregation distributed food in the Ville neighborhood on According to the USDA, almost 15% of people in Eastern Missouri and Southwestern Illinois face hunger. Many must choose between food or paying medical expenses or utility bills.
Mentoring makes a difference for teens ‘Embrace opportunities with courage’ ‘Times’ to help

Metro Boomin teams up with Kendrick Lamar in explosive feud with Drake

St. Louis’ Metro Boomin’ clarified his position as Rap’s two undisputed generational icons, Drake and Kendrick Lamar, and the feud reached new heights. Nothing has been off the table; both have gone after every aspect of one another, and Kendrick flirted with the con cept of ‘offing’ Drake.

Metro Boomin posted the Soundcloud link to his reworked version of “BBL Drizzy,” a song that implies Drake received a Brazilian butt lift, and said, “best verse over this gets a free beat. Just upload your song and hashtag #bbldrizzybeatgiveaway.”

Metro went on to say Drake

is a “colonizer” while posting videos of him using the N-word. Metro also provided to his following an image of Drake in minstrel-era blackface, calling him freaky for having painted nails, posing with St. Louisan Sexyy Red and several other homophobic posts targeting Drake’s heterosexuality.

“I’m lame, but the first week after #LikeThat, you tried to block it on the radio,” Metro said. “I been sitting on this email for a month but was just sparing you. Oh, you ain’t #LikeThat

SZA threatens to leave the show early if projectiles continue to be thrown

Videos making the rounds over the weekend showed St. Louis-born threatening to leave the stage when an unknown amount of cell phones were allegedly thrown at her on stage. “I will leave,”

SZA told the crowd. “Do not throw up any cell phones. I’m a person. That’s crazy.”

In June 2023, another famous singer, Bebe Rexha, was struck by a concert goer projecting something at her face, which began a small trend where concert goers were throwing hard objects at performers such as Drake Cardi B, GloRilla, Latto, and Ari Lennox Nicki Minaj, always in character, threw a small object back into the audience after an object barely missed her face while performing in April 2024.

“I have time to stop for you. Yes, we can smoke together, you can come backstage. You can come to my house if you want.’ Hella fans have spent the night with me and been to my house many times. How do I determine who’s safe to do that? I don’t. And sometimes it feels really bad.”

Martin Lawrence took the stage and presented one of his outrageous standup comedy routines. That’s all about to change as Lawrence told the world this week that he’s coming back with the “Y’all Know Tour.”

And, oh yeah, he’s bringing the show to St. Louis. Tickets go on sale May 17, 2024, for a show at Chaifetz Arena on Feb. 28, 2025

“Guess who’s back! Ya boy Marty Mar is hittin’ the stage again for my first tour in 8 years! I’ve missed y’all and can’t wait to bring the laughs straight to your city!,” Lawrence shared on Instagram.

And Lawrence won’t be alone. Several of the hottest and hilarious Black comedians will make selected tour stops with him including Adele Givens, Ms. Pat, Desi Banks, B. Simone, and DC Young Fly

‘Y’all Know’ what’s up with Martin Lawrence

Eight years have passed since

“Comedy gives me that instant gratification,” said Lawrence. “Seeing the fans up close and in person, making people laugh, doing what I love most, this is what it’s all about for me. But heyy’all know what it is!”

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“I am worried for our teachers, for our staff members, for our students.”

- Tennessee state Rep. Justin Pearson on his state allowing teachers and staff to carry firearms

Wash U’s Tori Harwell selected as a Rhodes Scholar

It’s on to Oxford

Victoria “Tori” Harwell has been selected as a Rhodes Scholar, the 30th winner in university history. Harwell was among the 32 students nationwide selected Saturday, Nov. 11, to receive the prestigious honor that provides scholars the opportunity to earn an advanced degree at Oxford University.

Harwell plans to pursue sequential degrees in nature, society and environmental governance and in African studies at Oxford. Harwell, who uses both they/them and she/her pronouns, wants to use her education to empower grassroots leaders to address climate change in their local communities.

Harwell, of Denver, is majoring in African and African American studies and in environmental analysis, both in Arts & Sciences, at WashU and is both a Udall and a Mellon Mays scholar. She is also a member of the esteemed John B. Ervin Scholars Program, which has produced four university Rhodes Scholars since 2013.

Chancellor Andrew D. Martin praised Harwell for her intellectual curiosity and global commitment to a more sustainable future.

“Tori is an exceptional scholar who believes in lifting up the voices of the marginalized,” Martin said. “I’m proud of all Tori has already accomplished

at Washington University, and I am confident that she will thrive at Oxford.”

Creating a grassroots movement

To address today’s climate crisis, Harwell studies its roots.

“We talk a lot about carbon footprints and our own individual behaviors like the cars we drive or using plastic straws, but the problem is a much deeper one, one that has been forming over the course of 500 years,” Harwell said.

“My research looks at how colonization has dramatically changed the landscape and how we interacted with the land.

Decisions made by colonial administrators hundreds of years ago continue to impact political and geographical landscapes today.”

Harwell has studied sustainable design in South Africa, supported Black farmers as a Gephardt Institute St. Louis Fellow and served as a volunteer teacher for the Organization for Black Struggle.

She also has become an expert in the unlikely but illustrative subject of the Cadbury chocolate company, traveling to both Birmingham, England, where the company is based, and Ghana, where its cocoa has been harvested for more than a

Senior Tori Harwell plans to study nature, society, and environmental governance as well as African studies at Oxford University as a Rhodes Scholar.


Harwell recently discovered an early Cadbury document by employee E.J. Organ that captures the prevailing attitude that colonized lands are there to be exploited.

“Organ dehumanized the people and conceptualized land as this virgin body that had never been touched. He was just one man, but he informed an entire company,” Harwell said.

“We can’t have the E.J. Organs of the world telling communities how to work. It’s not right and it’s not ethical. So, to me, the best way to make sure people don’t get left behind is to create a grassroots movement that is bottom up and not top


Harwell’s profound empathy coupled with their courage to upend entrenched systems makes her a changemaker, said Jodi Allemeier, one of Harwell’s instructors in Cape Town, South Africa.

“Tori stands out not just for her academic prowess, but also for her authentic character,” Allemeier wrote in her recommendation.

“Her ability to comprehend and untangle the complexities of unfamiliar urban landscapes demonstrated her unique intellectual and social curiosity and ability to derive meaningful insight from classroom and field experiences.” Ultimately, Harwell wants to help nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) leverage local wisdom to develop effective policies, whether that be in Africa, South America or Asia.

She plans to earn a law degree to help local people protect their lands, and believes the cumulative effect of local efforts will lead to global change.

“There is so much to learn by understanding how people — not just Black people — are engaging with the land and reacting to climate change,” she said.

“I’m just one person, but I want to be part of a network of people that shifts how we think about land and our future.”

Diane Keaggy is the senior news director for campus life in Washington University Marketing and Communications

ST. LOUIS AMERICAN • MAY 9 - 15, 2024 A3 News
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Guest Editorial Commentary

What college protests say about America

The past two weeks of campus protests have exposed the hypocrisy of Republicans who claim to stand for “law and order” and free speech.

As NYPD officers converged onto Hamilton Hall at Columbia University Tuesday night, Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump called into Fox News and complained that police should have acted “a lot sooner.” The protesters had done “tremendous damage” to a New York City “landmark,” he told Fox News anchor Sean Hannity.

This from the man who sat in the White House watching TV and doing nothing for 187 minutes when the nation’s most important landmark, the U.S. Capitol, came under attack on January 6, 2021.

When racial justice protests erupted in the summer of 2020 after George Floyd was killed by police in Minneapolis, Trump’s response was forceful, condemning Black Lives Matter activists as “hoodlums.”

“They’re bad people. They don’t love our country. And they’re not taking down our monuments,” he objected.

ville, Virginia, chanting “Jews will not replace us” in 2017, Trump claimed there were “very fine people on both sides.”

When 11 people were shot and killed at the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh in 2018, Trump blamed the synagogue for not having armed guards on site. When Trump tweeted an anti-Semitic image of Hillary Clinton next to a pile of cash and the Star of David in 2016, Republicans still stood by him. And when Marjorie Taylor Greene claimed that Jewish space lasers caused the 2018 California wildfires, many Republicans stood by her as well.

But when the January 6 insurrectionists attacked the nation’s most sacred monument, Trump waited more than three hours before he reluctantly recorded a video message to the violent mob who tried to stop our democracy. We love you. You’re very special,” Trump told the attackers. “I know how you feel.”

He was not alone. A year after the January 6th failed coup attempt, the Republican National Committee adopted a resolution calling the attack “legitimate political discourse.”

It’s hard to argue for law and order while you’re justifying an attack on Capitol Police Officers and defending a man who runs a company that was convicted of criminal tax fraud two years ago and is currently on trial, facing 88 charges in four criminal indictments.

The selective outrage from Republicans also exposes their hypocrisy about antisemitism.

When torch-bearing Nazis marched through the college town of Charlottes-

I taught for several years at Columbia University and City College of New York, and I support the right of students to protest peacefully on those college campuses and elsewhere, just as I support a two-state solution in the Middle East. I do not support violence from protesters or from police, or antisemitism, Islamophobia, or the harassment of Jewish or Muslim students. For those who sympathize with the cause of Palestinians but don’t support college protests, I urge you to read Martin Luther King Jr.’s “Letter from a Birmingham Jail.” Dr. King had no problem with protest and tension, but he condemned protest critics who were “more devoted to order than to justice” or preferred “a negative peace which is the absence of tension to a positive peace which is the presence of justice.”

The true path to peace is the same on American college campuses as it is in Israel and Gaza. Sustainable peace will not come through violent confrontation, displays of force, or retribution. Nor will it come from hypocritical show trials and stunt bills. It will only come by dismantling systems of oppression and replacing them with systems of justice.

“Black Vote, Black Power,” a collaboration between Keith Boykin and Word In Black, examines the issues, the candidates, and what’s at stake for Black America in the 2024 presidential election. Boykin is an author, TV and film producer, and former CNN political commentator.

Legislators’ cowardice keeping guns on streets

“When the Columbine High School shooting happened twenty-five years ago, it was an unimaginable tragedy. Now, as gun violence continues to traumatize students and devastate our schools, families, and communities, we cannot afford to become numb to this crisis. We’ll keep fighting to honor the victims and survivors of Columbine with the common-sense solutions that we know work.”

— Angela Ferrell-Zabala, Moms Demand Action executive director

Even before the slaughter of students and a teacher at Columbine High School stunned the nation, mayors like me were acting against the unchecked greed of gun manufacturers.

New Orleans, where I served as mayor, was the first to sue. In the months to follow, 30 more cities followed our lead.

That summer, the U.S. Conference of Mayors met in New Orleans and called on Congress to enact common-sense gun safety measures including raising the minimum age for purchasing and possessing a handgun from 18 to 21, requiring background checks at guns shows and limiting gun purchases to one a per month per individual.

tims of Columbine were laid to rest. They held the convention, anyway, turning the event into a massive slap in the face to the grieving survivors.

Over the years, as mass shootings grew more frequent and ever more deadly, the NRA’s defiance and contempt grew as well. After each tragedy, the gun industry seized on baseless fears of a total gun ban to weaken gun regulations and push more powerful guns on the public.

But the same greed that built the gun lobby may have destroyed it.

The same day we announced our demands, in a show of defiance against the gun industry, Louisiana Gov. Mike Foster made a show of his cowardice and signed a law banning cities from suing gun companies.

Even though a small fraction of the hundreds of thousands of lives lost since Columbine were lost in school shootings, such incidents underscore the shame of our nation’s inaction on gun violence. The gun industries main lobbying arm for decades, the National Rifle Association, was aware of the “horrible juxtaposition” of “kids fondling firearms” at its upcoming convention even as the teenage vic-

After a lawsuit filed by New York Attorney General Letitia James exposed top executives’ rampant financial misconduct, NRA members lost faith in the organization dropping out by more than a million and leaving its coffers depleted by more than 40%. It remains to be seen whether the NRA’s waning influence will allow the nation to enact the measures we need to prevent future columbines. Despite its opposition, Congress was able to pass the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act in 2022, the first major piece of federal gun reform legislation in nearly 30 years.

A significant step forward, the act requires background checks on gun purchases for young adults, increased mental health funding, expanded prohibitions on gun ownership for domestic abusers and created incentives for states to pass “red flag” laws. But it does not address more significant gun safety measures such as universal background checks, a ban on the sale of assault weapons, and longer waiting periods for gun purchases.

As President Biden noted in his statement on the 25th anniversary of the Columbine massacre, the families who have lost loved ones to gun violence have only one message: Do something.

Marc Morial is National Urban League president and CEO

As I See It - A Forum for Community Issues

It’s difficult for the left to get it right

For nearly 50 years, Roe v. Wade stood as a protector of reproductive rights, holding that women have a constitutional right to an abortion under the 14th Amendment. The right to choose has been a fundamental freedom for those who want to decide their future and make life-saving health decisions. Now, states across the country are putting abortion bans into effect and denying access to care.

As a Black woman attending an all-women’s Historically Black University, Spelman College, I am acutely aware of the disproportionate impact that these bans have on communities of color and other groups who already face systemic barriers to health care.

It’s critical for students to speak out against the recent wave of extreme state abortion bans sweeping across the United States, particularly the ban that took effect in the neighboring state of Florida this month. These abortion bans are only possible because of Donald Trump, and defending our reproductive rights starts with reelecting a president and vice president who support a woman’s right to choose.


Abortion bans not only threaten our ability to make decisions about our own bodies but also perpetuate cycles of systemic injustice and oppression. They make getting reproductive care more difficult and make the delivery room even more dangerous for Black women – who already suffer from maternal mortality rates that are much higher than white women.

In Georgia, where I reside and attend school, the passage of stringent abortion bans has sent shockwaves through our communities. These bans not only rip away access to abortion but also criminalize doctors who provide reproductive health care.

As Florida’s extreme abortion ban takes effect, collectively, we are facing a breaking point. As some leaders boast about overturning Roe and take credit for these extreme state abortion bans, we need to make it clear – they are forcing women into perilous situations, placing their health, privacy, families, and, most importantly, their lives in jeopardy. These bans represent a dangerous erosion of the rights and liberties that generations of women have fought so hard to secure.

Now that Roe has been overturned, I am part of a generation that has fewer rights than my mother’s, forced to fight the same battles my grandmother fought. I stand with millions of Americans who face a less free future than the one we were born into, staring down a future where our lives are no longer ours to

In the face of this assault, we must act and use our political voice to counter these attacks. We cannot afford to be silent or complacent in the face of injustice. We must use our platforms and our collective power to demand change.

This means organizing, mobilizing, and advocating for policies that protect and expand reproductive rights for all – and most importantly, it means exercising our right to vote and reelecting Joe Biden and Kamala Harris, who unequivocally support and will fight to protect women’s reproductive rights.

As a Spelman woman, I am a leader, advocate, and change agent. This means I cannot disregard the injustices happening in our communities. It’s essential to stand in solidarity with women from all over the country who are fighting for their reproductive rights and join them in the struggle for justice and equity. Audre Lorde said, “Your silence will not protect you.” It is time to break the silence, speak truth to power, and fight for all people’s rights and dignity. Together, we can and will build a future where everyone can make decisions about their bodies, lives, and futures.

ST. LOUIS AMERICAN • MAY 9 - 15, 2024 A4 Editorial/Commentary
Samantha Spooner is a sophomore attending Spelman College in Atlanta. Guest Columnist Samantha Spooner
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Columnist Marc H. Morial Guest Columnist Keith Boykin

OFS ‘Healthy Food, Healthy Community expansion underway

Operation Food Search (OFS) will receive a large serving of funding for its Healthy Food, Healthy Community renovation project, the largest renovation the nonprofit has undertaken since its founding in 1981.

OFS will receive $850,000 in renovation funding, which is part of a $13.7 million allocation for local community projects in St. Louis, according to Congresswoman Cori Bush.

“Our local nonprofits are doing the work to improve and save lives in St. Louis. [The] federal funding will go directly to the people who are doing meaningful work to make a difference in our communities,” said Bush.

With a total cost of $10 million, the Healthy Food, Healthy Community renovation will include:

• Doubling the racking space for shelf-stable food storage and increasing cold storage capacity with an additional 2,000 square feet of freezer and cooler space to enhance the distribution of fresh food.

• Establishing new teaching gardens to educate children and adults about garden-to-table eating, fostering a sustainable approach to food production.

• Introducing a teaching kitchen to facilitate interactive classes for participants in various programs, including Food is Medicine, Community Nutrition, and Workplace Wellness.

OFS supports approximately 200,000 individuals monthly with essential food and services.

“The renovated space will enable our team to meet an immediate need for increased food distribution while also doing education and advocacy work, which leads to long-term progress throughout our neighborhoods.” said Kristen Wild, president and CEO of OFS

The renovation project is scheduled for completion by late summer 2024. Project partners include Arcturis (architecture) and Paric (construction), the St. Louis Economic Development Partnership, and U.S. Bancorp Impact Finance.

Youth of Earth could be its savior

Earth Day and the month of April were commemorated across the world as a time to celebrate our planet and focus on action to protect it.

During April, I often remember the poem “Keeping Quiet” by Nobel laureate Pablo Neruda, which urged the world “to count to 12 and all keep still, for once on the face of the earth.”

“It would be an exotic moment without rush, without engines …

Another stanza declares:

“Perhaps a huge silence might interrupt this sadness of never understanding ourselves and of threatening ourselves with death. Perhaps the earth could teach us …”

We are reminded that Earth’s silence is being broken by the felling of 1,000-old trees and other sounds of industry and environmental destruction leading to the tinker of coins in corporate coffers.

Earth’s quiet is also broken by the sounds of children gasping for breath as asthma and other respiratory diseases from the pollution of the air and land around them ravage their bodies and staunch their learning.

There are many other kinds of dangers making the Earth a treacherous playground rather than a safe one. Children are now threatened by toxic pollution from the airwaves and internet along with the air and water. We hear the bickering and horse-trading between politicians and special interest groups who are often debating how big a tax break to give to the non-needy instead of investing in a cleaner, safer environment for the future.

And Earth’s stillness is shattered by the sounds of guns and war across our nation and world, killing more civilians than soldiers, including children.

As we conclude this month, I hope it can spur us to build an even more powerful moral movement to protect all children and young people against interrelated poverty and violence and environmental degradation and to preserve the Earth we hold in trust for them. As they have done so many times before, young people are already leading the way forward.

When Time magazine named then-16-year-old climate change activist

Greta Thunberg their 2019 Person of the Year, the youngest person so far to receive that honor, it noted her representation of an entire new wave of young people who refuse to accept the world adults have created for them.

“She is a reminder that the people in charge now will not be in charge forever, and that the young people who are inheriting dysfunctional governments, broken economies and an increasingly unlivable planet know just how much the adults have failed them.”

Children’s Defense Fund Freedom School Scholars are part of that wave. They’ve engaged in civil action proclaiming that climate justice is racial justice.

They’ve partnered with Youth vs. Apocalypse, a diverse group of young climate justice activists working together to lift the voices of young people, especially youth of color and youth from low-income and working-class families, to fight for a livable climate and an equitable, sustainable, and just world.

They join millions of other young leaders emerging around the world as the global youth climate movement boldly advocates for climate justice amidst this crisis and reframes the need for urgent action. All of them are breaking the stillness too, but by using their voices to speak out for change.

Marian Wright Edelman is founder and president emerita of the Children’s Defense Fund.

ST. LOUIS AMERICAN • MAY 9 – 15, 2024 A5
St. Louis American Cedrick Hill, 62, left, gives a box of donated food to Tony Eiland, 67, both volunteers with City Hope Bible Church in Walnut Park East, as they load items onto a pickup truck on March 11 at Operation Food Search in Overland. OFS is renovating its headquarters and warehouse to accommodate more storage at its facilities. Photo by Eric Lee / St. Louis Public radio Marian Wright Edelman

Avenue in front of the Vashon Community Center and travel east on Market alongside the rear of the Dr. Henry Givens, Jr. Administration Building, formerly Vashon High School. The project is funded through regional sales tax dollars from Great Rivers Greenway, local donors, and funding from the State of Missouri.

“The Brickline Greenway coming to Harris-Stowe State University is a powerful symbol of connection and progress, both celebrating the history and looking forward,” Dr. LaTonia Collins-Smith, president of HSSU, said during a May 1, 2024, celebration.

“We’re a proud partner on this greenway project to both enhance our campus and surrounding community and underscore the enduring legacy of our school, which has played a vital role in educating and empowering generations of leaders.”

Susan Trautman, CEO of Great Rivers Greenway, called the mile of Greenway “special because it will transform


Continued from A1 NAACP and organizing boycotts and protests to combat segregation and discrimination. His efforts caught the attention of the NAACP national leadership, leading to his appointment as Mississippi’s first field secretary for the organization.

Evers also organized boycotts and advocated for the admission of African

your experience into one that feels more comfortable but also more dynamic, connecting you to the stories of St. Louis.

“Brickline Greenway has a lot of momentum right now; the community members, partners, and funders are coming together to make this bold vision a reality. We also feel that HSSU is in many ways hallowed ground, and the ability to honor and celebrate the Mill Creek Valley residents who lived on the land before it was demolished is critically important to the community. We have enjoyed the collaboration with everyone on the campus, this is a partnership that truly demonstrates what can be accomplished when we work together.”

The Brickline Greenway is a 10-mile network of greenways connecting 14 St. Louis neighborhoods, from Forest Park to the Gateway Arch National Park, and hundreds of destinations in between. This transformative project aims to connect people to destinations and community stories, enhance the environment, and drive growth by sparking economic development and creating equitable opportunities for shared

American students to the University of Mississippi. Despite facing constant threats and violence, Evers remained steadfast in his commitment to the cause of equality. A white supremacist assassinated Evers on June 12, 1963, outside his home, sparking outrage and galvanizing the civil rights movement.

South Carolina Democratic Rep. James Clyburn will also receive a Medal of Freedom Representing South Carolina’s 6th Congressional District

prosperity for all St. Louis residents. The 135-mile Greenway is accessible by walkers, runners, and rollers.

With two segments completed, the Market Street breaking ground this summer, and several more in construction in 2025 and 2026, Brickline Greenway is on track to finish in 2030.

The plan also calls for extensions of artist Damon Davis’ “Pillars of the Valley” – a permanent art installation commemorating the historic Mill Creek Valley neighborhood.

She hopes the project will spur economic development, new businesses, and job opportunities in the neighborhood.

Davis’ art along the Greenway is near several HarrisStowe attractions.

These include refurbished Stars Park, home field for the legendary St. Louis Stars of Negro Leagues Baseball fame, and the Vashon Center, a facility from the Mill Creek Valley community, which is now home to the Don and Heide Wolff Jazz Institute and the Black Radio Hall of Fame.

“The greenway is important to the HSSU community because it will enhance the campus environment and quality of life for students and staff. It will also better integrate the university into the surrounding urban fabric while raising HarrisStowe’s profile as an engaged urban university,” said Collins Smith.

in the U.S. House of Representatives, Clyburn has served since 1993, making history as the first African American to hold multiple terms as Majority Whip. A South Carolina State University graduate, he began his career as a public school teacher in Charleston before assuming roles as an employment counselor and director of youth and community development programs.

Among the recipients joining Evers and Clyburn are:

from HSSU is inherent in the design of the project on their campus. Their involvement has shaped how people will move through the greenway and stop to explore the Mill Creek neighborhood and Stars Field stories.

Discovering the past, present, and future of HSSU. The new trail will provide a unique experience and at the same time a new transportation option that helps to promote healthy lifestyles.

Greenway Listening Tour in North County

benefits. Shaughnessy Daniels, Director of Civic Engagement for GRG said, “Listening tours, like the one we are doing in North County, allow Great Rivers Greenway to understand the current needs, future priorities, and desires for greenway projects.”

The director says that the organization hasn’t had as much participation from this portion of the region in its strategic planning process as some others.

“Imagine a community space that transcends boundaries – a vibrant, open, and welcoming network of paths and places that invite discovery and exploration while creating equitable opportunities for everyone to thrive,” said Trautman.

The visionary project is shaped by the voices of the people who will use it every day. She said input

Clarence B. Jones, a civil rights activist and confidant of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., played a pivotal role in shaping the civil rights movement and preserving Dr. King’s legacy.

St. Louis’ regional greenway agency is exploring possible greenway connections in the North County areas of Black Jack, Bridgeton, Florissant, Hazelwood, Old Jamestown, Spanish Lake, and unincorporated St. Louis County! Public engagement is an important part of this process, as such GRG is hosting the first in a series of educational listening tour open houses.

The first was held Tuesday, May 7 at Hazelwood’s Civic Center East at 8969 Dunn Road from 5-7. The tour is to provide more information on the greenways and their

In 1962, Martin Luther King Jr. wrote a letter recommending his lawyer and advisor, Clarence B. Jones, to the New York State Bar, stating: “Ever since I have known Mr. Jones, I have always seen him as a man of sound judgment, deep insights, and great dedication. I am also convinced that he is a man of great integrity.”

In summing up his sentiments on King’s life, Jones remarked in a 2007 interview:

“Except for Abraham Lincoln and the Emancipation Proclamation of 1863, Martin Luther King Jr., in 12 years and 4 months from 1956 to 1968, did more to achieve justice in America than any other event or person in the previous 400 years.»

To ensure community thoughts and concerns are included, they are trying to hear directly from the neighbors they are serving.

“The input is critical to our process,” she added. Upcoming Listening Sessions:

Thursday, May 9

JFK Community Center located at 315 Howdershell Rd.

Tuesday, May 14 North County Rec. Center located at 2577 Redman Rd.

Ashley Winters is a Report for America reporter for the St. Louis American.

Opal Lee, known as the “grandmother of Juneteenth,” is an educator and activist who has played a crucial role in making Juneteenth a federally recognized holiday. In 2016, at 89 years old, she marched from Fort Worth to Washington, D.C., to rally for the designation. The 1,400-mile trek was a series of 2.5-mile marches that represented the twoand-a-half years it took for the news of emancipation to reach the last remaining enslaved people in Galveston, Texas.

Dr. Ellen Ochoa, the first Hispanic woman in space, who continues to inspire future generations as a leading figure in science and exploration.

Greenway Continued from A1 ST. LOUIS AMERICAN • MAY 9 – 15, 2024 A6


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Family Services program manager. “With many soon to transition into adulthood and out of the system, we want to be sure we equip them with what they need to be self-sufficient and independent – mentorship being a key component in these efforts.”

The new partnership will support teens ages 14-15, teaching them basic skills such as financial literacy, how to do laundry, how to clean a home, etc.

Teens who have a trusted adult in their lives during adolescence tend to develop stronger emotional and social skills, Hopton said.

Over the 10 years Hopton has been with Epworth she has witnessed teens feeling unheard, misunderstood, and not seen. Some of the teens have no one or nowhere to turn to.

“Epworth wants to break that cycle,” she said. “We need more mentors that match the population we are serving.” Partnering with Oasis will help with bringing in more diverse mentors. Unfortunately, many foster care teens


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excellence.” She added that she could feel the presence of her late grandmother as she received her degree.

“The most rewarding part about attending HSSU is being a part of a diverse population that comes from many backgrounds,” said magna cum laude graduate Christian Blue.

As someone with a disability, Blue noted the importance of setting a positive example and advocating for inclusivity.

Valedictorian Justin Johnson reflected on the transformative journey of each graduate.

“We have shown that even when we are faced with obstacles, we can maintain our energy, enthusiasm, and passion for what we set out to achieve. Our graduation ceremony is not just a formality, but a celebration of our academic accomplishments and a testament to our determination, resilience, and perseverance.”

Collins Smith highlighted the outstanding achievements of graduates including student athlete Christian Blue, an information systems and computer technology major and Hornets baseball player.

[He] stands as a shining example of academic excellence and commitment to service,” she said. “His extensive involvement in STEM research and various campus organizations is a testament to his dedication to personal and professional growth.”

She also acknowledged Taryn Gray and Lee Chan, respective criminal justice and psychology majors, who “graduated with honors in just three years.”

“Their remarkable academic achievements underscore the caliber of scholars produced by HSSU.”

Cierra Isaac, the 18th Miss Harris-Stowe State University and former Student Government Association president, was also acknowledged for her leadership and dedication to the university community.

“Kiara’s exemplary service and advocacy have left an indelible mark on the HSSU community,” Collins Smith said. The university’s global reach and commitment to diversity was also on display at commencement.

“Ina’s journey from Brazil to graduation with honors exemplifies the

don’t have extended support. The program will bridge that gap.

Mentors must be at least 50 years old.

McCreary and Hopton say they believe older adults can offer more time and a more consistent schedule. The program requires weekly one-hour meet-ups for at least one year. Many older adults can connect with the teen through former hobbies such as cars, IT work, and other commonalities.

McCreary said, “Older adults are an untapped resource.” The new partnership is right on time, with more and more youth community centers closing and young people needing something to do to help keep them from making risky choices. The program will launch this July.

“The Chafee Program is helping fill in some of those gaps. That extra mentorship helps the young people be successful,” said Hopton.

The foster teen organization supports children and teens largely located in North St. Louis County - while also serving other areas of the County and St. Louis City. The importance of representation and cultural understanding for

diverse tapestry of talent and ambition that defines HSSU,” Collins Smith said.

Keynote speaker Dawnn Lewis, an acclaimed actress, singer

the teens they serve is the focal point for recruiting mentors of diverse backgrounds, especially people of color, to make a lasting impact on the lives of these young individuals.

The mentors will have the opportunity to visit the foster teens in their homes to provide guidance and support. For those willing and able, additional time can be allocated by taking on siblings and additional teens, ensuring a comprehensive and consistent support system for these vulnerable youth.

The tutoring program director said, “By becoming a mentor, individuals can make a significant difference in the lives of foster teens, equipping them with the necessary skills and knowledge to navigate the challenges of adulthood. The mentorship program aims to empower these young individuals, fostering resilience, self-confidence, and a sense of belonging.”

The Oasis Institute is a national nonprofit organization that promotes healthy aging through lifelong learning, wellness programs, and volunteer engagement. Epworth Children and Family Services is a leading pro-

told graduates their journey is just beginning, and to “recognize your worth and embrace opportunities with courage and determination.”

“Don’t let anybody tell

vider of residential and community-based services for children and families in need. With a mission to serve children, youth, and families through a caring, accepting, and safe community, Epworth offers a range of programs and support services to

you what your path is, could, or should be,” she declared.

“Your success, your challenges, your goals, your fears, your joys, all of it starts with being

help individuals overcome adversity and achieve their full potential. These mentors will play a crucial role in assisting the teens with essential life skills as they prepare to transition from the foster care system.

“It is beyond anything

managed from within yourself. There’s a big difference between confidence and arrogance.

“You are prepared to earn the right to be where you are.”

we could imagine,” said McCreary. To mentor and learn more email Stephanie McCreary at

Ashley Winters is a Report for America reporter for the St. Louis American.

ST. LOUIS AMERICAN • MAY 9 – 15, 2024 A7
Photo by Wiley Price / St. Louis American Epworth’s Latrina Hopton (left) and and Oasis’ Stepanie Hopton at Epworth Children and Family Services in Webster Groves, Mo. Monday, May 6, 2024. Keith Williamson, president, Centene Charitable Foundation at Centene Corporation, received an honorary doctorate from HSSU during the commencement.
ST. LOUIS AMERICAN • MAY 9 – 15, 2024 A8
ST. LOUIS AMERICAN • MAY 9 – 15, 2024 A9

Beyond Housing receives a $20,000 grant to help plant trees in north St. Louis County

Beyond Housing will work to replant trees, clean up trash and remove invasive species of honeysuckle plants from parts of north St. Louis County through a six-month grant from the American Water Charitable Foundation.

The $20,000 grant specifically aims to help environmentally restore neighborhoods within the 24:1 Community in north county that Beyond Housing serves. The organization aims to help clean the air, reduce respiratory issues and beautify the area through the grant. Residents will also be able to engage in tree planting and pruning workshops, as well as removing invasive bush honeysuckle plants from their areas.

North St. Louis County residents deserve to have the same level of urban forest management as west county residents, said Joseph Oelke, director of forestry and community conservation at Beyond Housing.

“We want to build back their community and help them reclaim and make it a desirable place to live for future generations,” he said.

The organization’s environmental efforts will help those living

in municipalities that are within the Normandy School District’s footprint. And many of the areas have high rates of poverty, air pollution and asthma-related hospitalizations.

“The problem is, we are lacking trees — trees clean the air of particulate matter and reduce the amount of carbon,” Oelke said. “They take in all the pollutants, clean it up and then give clean air for residents to breathe.”

He said that from assessments, his division has noticed that many streets in the 24:1 communities are not lined with trees or have decaying trees, and the grant money will help with tree canopy in declining neighborhoods.

The money also will allow residents to learn more about tree planting and pruning through seminars.

Beyond Housing plans to partner with the Missouri Department of Conservation and Forest ReLeaf of Missouri and other forestry and conservation organizations to teach residents about the use of native plants in a landscaping environment that will help pollinators, as well as stormwater mitigation.

Planting trees and creating more green spaces is critical to creating

a healthy community, said Rebecca Hankins, partnership manager for Forest ReLeaf of Missouri.

“The leaves on trees and those surface areas of trunks and bark can capture that harmful particulate matter in the air, which is known to exacerbate asthma problems,” she said. “The more trees we have in our community, the more work they are absorbing that harmful particulate matter, and the less work our lungs have to do filtering that out of the air.”

She said tree removal or planting can be expensive for residents living in low-income or poor neighborhoods, and having grant funds to help remove diseased or aging trees from disinvested communities can help increase property values.

Hankins hopes residents also will become interested in the journey of reforesting, because it can have a collective impact.

“When we involve the community and teach them the values that trees bring to their community, then they want to be a part of that movement to replant trees, because a tree is a gift to a future generation,” Hankins said.


Centene is making a transformative impact on Ferguson’s landscape by generously donating its Ferguson service center to the Urban League of Metropolitan St. Louis. This move, stemming from Centene’s response to the unrest following Michael Brown’s tragic passing, signifies a profound commitment to community upliftment. Scheduled for transfer in June, this property handover from Centene Management Co. to the Urban League marks a significant milestone in the organization’s journey, as articulated by Michael McMillan, President, and CEO of the Urban League, during a recent press conference. This act of philanthropy echoes the enduring legacy of Centene’s former CEO and chairman, Michael Neidorff, whose vision for community empowerment continues under the stewardship of CEO Sarah London. With an initial investment of $30 million in constructing the service center, the donation of 60,000 square feet among three buildings and accompanying eight-acre tract represents a tangible commitment to driving positive change in Ferguson. From housing critical programs like Head Start and workforce initiatives such as Save Our Sons and Save Our Sisters, to serving as a vital hub for food distribution through its food pantries, the building will serve as a cornerstone for community revitalization. Additionally, plans to incorporate facilities such as a conference center and an Enterprise Bank & Trust “mini branch” underscore the multifaceted impact of this donation.

ST. LOUIS AMERICAN • MAY 9 - 15, 2024 A10
Photos by: Marcus Allen, Richard K. Davis and Photo courtesy of Beyond Housing Normandy School District students participated in Beyond Housing’s 24:1 annual Arbor Day Tree
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climb event last month. Beyond Housing has received a grant to replant trees and remove trash from area in north St. Louis County.

Libraries partner to present ‘STL Summer Adventure’

St. Louis American

St. Louis County Library (SLCL) and St. Louis Public Library (SLPL) are teaming to offer a joint summer reading and exploration program called STL Summer Adventure. The program invites youths to go on an adventure with a variety of activities in STEM, Art, Outdoors, St. Louis and Reading.

To celebrate the launch of STL Summer Adventure, the library systems unveiled new library cards sponsored by St. Louis CITY SC. Teens who complete the STL Summer Adventure program will be entered into a raffle to win tickets to watch St Louis CITY2 take on North Texas at 6 p.m. Sunday, August 25 at CITYPARK.

“We are so excited about this joint summer reading program between St. Louis County Library and St. Louis Public Library. STL Summer Adventure gives kids the opportunity to choose their own adventure and explore different and fun pathways to learning,” said Kristen Sorth, St. Louis County Library director and CEO.

“Our amazing partners bring additional opportunities to the program, allowing kids and families to experience all of the unique cultural and educational offerings in our region. The regional collaboration between our two fantastic library districts continues to positively impact the region. Literacy is a community growth engine.”

Waller McGuire, St. Louis Public Library CEO said, “The St. Louis Public Library Summer Reading Club has been a major program for generations of St. Louis children and their families, helping connect kids to the fun and adventure of reading, and always keeping in mind the key role that summer learning plays in the development of young minds.’

“Partnering with St. Louis County Library strengthens the entire region and helps remove barriers and increases possibilities for all St. Louis children. Two

great public libraries working together side-by-side benefits all of us.”

“Just as the power of sports brings people together, so does reading,” said Carolyn Kindle, St. Louis CITY SC’s CEO.

“As the school year comes to a close and summer break begins, we are thrilled to help St. Louis County Library and St. Louis Public Library connect with kids and teens through reading and exploration, and we can’t wait to see everyone using their new CITY SC library cards.”

Registration for STL Summer Adventure begins on June 1. A kick-off event will be held from 9:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m. in Forest Park in conjunction with Play Day in the Park. Everyone who signs up will receive a free book at registration. The program offers 5 paths of learning: STEM, Art, Outdoors, St. Louis, and Reading. Each path contains a variety of activities such as reading a book, putting together a puzzle or making a sidewalk chalk creation or visiting a local attraction like the Science Center or The Magic House.

The program will run from June 1-August 10, 2024. Additional information is available at www.

ST. LOUIS AMERICAN • MAY 9 - 15, 2024 A11

Care of You’

Affinia, partners open Little Free Libraries

Affinia Healthcare recently joined Change and Action for Racial Equity (C.A.R.E.), Ready Readers, National Council of Black Women, and the Links Incorporated to hold a launch ceremony for four new Little Free Libraries.

The ceremony was held at the health center’s N. Florissant location. The other LFLs are at Affinia Healthcare’s Ferguson, Lemp Avenue and Biddle Street locations.

“At Affinia Healthcare, we focus on the body and the mind,” said Dr. Kendra Holmes, Affinia Healthcare President & CEO.

“For a young girl growing up in

n The concept behind the Little Free Library is to encourage reading and literacy in communities where books may be scarce or not readily accessible.

North (St. Louis) City, books were the initial engagement and empowerment. Libraries are so much more than just a collection of books. They are a pathway to knowledge, health and upward mobility.”

The concept behind the Little Free Library is to encourage reading and

literacy in communities where books may be scarce or not readily accessible. The libraries are stocked with donated books and anyone who wants a book can take one to read.

They are encouraged to return the book(s) once they are read, but it is not required. The long-term goal is for residents to have libraries in their own homes and nurture a love of reading in their families.

Literacy also plays a role in health care outcomes, according to a U.S. Department of Health and Human Services study.

It found that people with limited English proficiency in the United States face a barrier to accessing health


Learning how to deal with – and avoid –medical debt

Always request itemized bill

Medical debt is a looming crisis for millions of families. While Congress has passed the No Surprises Act to protect Americans from certain unexpected medical bills, including unexpected bills for emergency services from out of network providers, there are steps consumers can take to manage and perhaps reduce or eliminate medical debt.

Medical debt is the leading cause of bankruptcy in the United States. According to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, nearly 20 percent of U.S households have some form of past due medical invoice.

“It’s often the $300 medical bill that drives

people into bankruptcy, not necessarily bills from a catastrophic accident or health event, “said Mark Fuller, strategic business consultant and managing member of Manager of Wealth LLC. Berneta Haynes focuses on medical debt and leads the medical debt team as a staff attorney at the National Consumer Law Center (NCLC) She recently authored NCLC’s “The Racial Health and Wealth Gap: Impact of Medical Debt on Black Families.” She previously served as director at Georgia Watch, a state-based consumer advocacy organization in Atlanta, where she was instrumental in the passage of crucial medical See DEBT, A13

Black maternal health a victim of racism

Mother’s Day is Sunday, May 12, and a perfect time to focus on the fact that the critical health care an expectant mother needs remains unavailable for many.

That’s especially true for Black mothers and their unborn babies.

The detrimental and deadly impact of systemic racism in the access and delivery of needed health care services for Blacks, generally, is not a new phenomenon or rare occurrence.

Blacks have experienced and continue to experience sub-standard healthcare, if and when they are able to access needed treatment at all.

The negative experiences can range from not being able to access preventive and basic primary care that would detect and manage potentially debilitating diseases and health conditions at an early stage, to not receiving necessary and critical information from the health care providers during an encounter, typical exam, or office visit.

n “How can we on the one hand be so pro-life, railing about protecting the unborn, when we are not willing to make sure that both mom and baby come through the pregnancy safe and healthy?”

The data around this prevalent practice is both alarming and conclusive.

The situation is even more dire for Black pregnant women, who are three times more likely to die than white women from pregnancy-related causes. When an expectant mother cannot access or receives poor quality health care services, the potential dangers are too often catastrophic for both mother

See ELLIS, A13

ST. LOUIS AMERICAN • MAY 9 – 15, 2024 A12 Missouri Foundation for Health is building a more equitable future through collaboration, convening, knowledge sharing, and strategic investment. Working in partnership with communities and nonprofits, MFH is transforming systems to eliminate inequities within all aspects of health and addressing the social and economic factors that shape health outcomes. Your Health Matters is provided in partnership with
Berneta Haynes, a staff attorney at the National Consumer Law Center, reminds consumers that any medical bill can be challenged, and settlements can be reached. Photo courtesy of NCLC Affinia Healthcare President & CEO Dr. Kendra Holmes (right), and LFL stewards and Affinia Healthcare employees Darlenna Cannon (center) and Latasha Kent deposit the first books into the Little Free Library at the location at 4414 N. Florissant. Affinia Healthcare also has libraries at the Ferguson, Lemp Avenue, and Biddle Street locations. Photo courtesy of Affinia Healthcare


Continued from A12

care services and understanding health information.

For example, those who identify as having limited English proficiency are less likely to have a usual place to go to when sick or have a preventive care visit in the past year.

In addition, children with poor reading skills are more likely to struggle in school and to take part in risky behaviors as adolescents. There are significant disparities in reading skills among 4th-graders by race/ ethnicity, school type, and eligibility for the National School Lunch Program. Early interventions to develop reading skills can improve school performance, which is linked to healthy behaviors.

Affinia is joining a regionwide effort to increase literacy, which includes St. Louis Public Schools recent launch of its “Literacy For The Lou” campaign.

The city NAACP chapter has also recently launched a literacy initiative called “Right to Read.”

SLPS students have a reading proficiency score of 19% compared to a 45% statewide average, according to the National Center for Education Statistics annual report card.

However, school districts throughout the region and state share the same plight.


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billing legislation and authored the Georgia Consumer Guide for Medical Bills and Debt.

Haynes said she worked with a woman who received over $30,000 in medical bills after she suffered a stroke. After paying approximately $2000 toward the debt she went to the financial assistance checklist in the guide and was able to get the remaining $29,000 of the debt canceled.

“As soon as you receive a medical bill, request an itemized bill from the provider and review it with careful attention to detail. Billing errors frequently contribute to the total that is included in the bottom line of what you


Continued from A12

Just 30% of Missouri students demonstrate reading proficiency at a fourth-grade level. That figure only reaches 10% for African American students reach the reading proficiency level. and child.

Complications and deaths among Black mothers and their babies are too commonplace in a health care system that boasts of being among the best in the world. The United States is the only industrialized country where the maternal mortality rate is increasing.


As if systemic racism isn’t enough to undermine the availability of adequate care for pregnant Black women, politics has to have its role — both proactive and passive.

The Biden administration proclaimed April 11—17 as Black Maternal Health Week 2024. The purpose was to convey the urgency to continue efforts to reduce maternal mortality rates and provide better healthcare.

Affinia to hold job fair

Affinia Healthcare is holding a job fair which can help bring minority workers into fields that seek more diversity. Positions are available in the support and clinical areas, as well as administrative roles. On-site interviews will be available.

The job fair is 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, May 18 at Affinia Healthcare, 1717 Biddle in St. Louis.

Affinia Healthcare provides a competitive compensation package which includes paid time-off, retirement plan, and tuition reimbursement, according to Holmes.

Established in 1906 as the Holy Cross Dispensary, Affinia Healthcare today serves over 43,700 people per year, of whom more than 90% have incomes under 100% of the federal poverty level. Approximately 70% of patients served are Black or African American and 11% are Hispanic/Latinx. In addition, over 4,000 of Affinia clients are unhoused.

Much of the work in serving the community includes the Affinia Healthcare Foundation helps meet the unmet health needs of those in the community with funds donated from a wide array of sources and individual donor contributions.

Affinia, a nationally accredited community health center, provides affordable primary and preventive health care for St. Louis area residents.

To donate to the Affinia Healthcare Foundation, visitwww.

For more information about Affinia, call (314) 814-8700, or visit

are being invoiced,” said Haynes.

The explanation of benefits, or EOB, provided to you by your insurance company is also a valuable piece of information.

“Always hold onto your EOB from your insurance company and compare it to your bill. Make sure you actually received all the services for which you’ve been charged,” continued Haynes.

There are steps you can take to ensure you are being fairly charged for medical services, and/or your bill is not correct.

Experts say that consumers should request an itemized bill.

“The benefit of an itemized bill is being able to note and challenge discrepancies,” said Rahwa Yehdego, policy research associate at Georgia Watch.

There are also steps

The proclamation vividly describes what happens too frequently when Black pregnant women seek assistance when they are experiencing a complication: They are dismissed or ignored by the very health care providers who should be caring for them.

Many organizations, small businesses, grassroots organizations and funding institutions came together during that week to increase public awareness and momentum about the need to address Black maternal health. But periodic attention in the form of a designated week or month, a special appropriation or limited funding grant here and there, sadly is only a periodic and partial salvo — not a long-term solution.

What will be done to bring about meaningful and lasting changes when it comes to Black pregnant women being

you can take if you notice inaccuracies on paperwork related to a debt. Yehdego says an appeal should be made to address inaccuracies.

“Patients frequently receive upcharges for medical services, and you can begin with an internal appeal with the provider,”

Yehdego said.

If you are sued over an outstanding medical debt, you can make an argument that the bill is not reasonable and try to fight it.

“If you raise the argument in a lawsuit that

able to access and receive the critical prenatal and postnatal care they need?

There is a group of lawmakers from several Midwestern states — Missouri, Kansas, Illinois, Iowa and Nebraska among them — who are working to get substantial policies and appropriations passed. Both Missouri and Kansas have substantially higher pregnancy-related mortality rates among Black women than white.

The package of bills, the Black Maternal Momnibus Act (Momnibus Act) that is comprised of 13 measures to address the problem holistically — seek to improve outcomes by looking at the various aspects of what constitute a quality of life for an expectant mother.

Day-to-day issues such as adequate nutrition, transportation, concomitant health care issues like substance use disorders, mental health and other wellness

the amount billed is not reasonable, the hospital or health care provider may opt to settle with you for less rather than try and prove the charges are reasonable,” said Haynes.

“It’s important to try and fight a medical bill if you’re sued because the type of judgements these bill collectors can receive can wreak havoc in the patient’s life. We’re talking about things like liens on homes, wage garnishment, property seizure, etc.”

Fuller wants patients to

challenges are being addressed.

First introduced in 2020, currently the caucus of lawmakers supporting the Momnibus Act is comprised only of Democrats.

How can promoting healthy pregnancies and reducing the risk of health complications that could result in the death of the mother and her unborn baby be a partisan issue?

One would think that those who are anti-abortion and pro-life supporters would be leading the fight for the availability and access to quality maternal healthcare.

If not leading the charge, certainly being supportive of the effort.

But the data shows something entirely different. The states with the strictest abortion bans have the poorest and weakest outcomes for maternal and child health.

Where does the disconnect lie?

More importantly, what

understand the consumer law and make sure it works toward their advantage. He agrees asking for an itemized bill is a crucial first step and most medical bills are negotiable.

“The United States is the only industrialized nation with no universal health care…that provides services up front and tells patients later how much they will be charged,” said Fuller.

Even when a medical debt is sent to collections, Fuller says there are steps you can take to resolve the financial problems at hand.

She advises consumers to remember the following tips and options, if contacted by a collection agency:

• Do not strike a deal with a collection agency.

• If a collection agency attempts to collect a debt, the response should be to request– in writing– the original contract between

is its cause?

It is a question worth serious consideration since it continues to pervade and influence all other aspects of America life.

Unfortunately, the delivery of healthcare services is no exception.

Not even for Black unborn babies and the mothers who have chosen and are trying to give them life.

For those organizations, community and parent groups, funders who have been working in the trenches for decades to reduce the mortality rates among expectant Black mothers and there babies, they are to be appreciated and commended.

But they, alone, cannot solve this prevalent and increasing health problem that some are characterizing as reaching a crisis level.

Like so many issues, it gets our attention when someone with some notoriety and celebrity suffers or dies. But the

the consumer and collection agency with an original signature. If they are unable to provide that information, request they stop contacting you and not report to any agency that they are owed money by you.

• Collection agencies are playing the law of percentages knowing that a small percentage of people will not pay because they are savvy about consumer law and that some people will not pay because they simply are unable.

• The final percentage of people will fall into the trap where they enter into agreement with the collection agency, at which point the consumer has now entered into contract with that collection agency and now owes them a debt.

The post Learning to navigate and manage medical debt appeared first on AFRO American Newspapers.

shock and awe only last until another headline of a different nature supersedes it.

How can we on the one hand be so pro-life, railing about protecting the unborn, when we are not willing to make sure that both mom and baby come through the pregnancy safe and healthy?

Is the disconnect — the blind spot, the hypocrisy — due to the age-old scourge and nemesis of systemic racism? Is it due to entrenched and irrational partisan politics?

Or, have they come together to form a destructive and deadly cocktail whose numbing effect continues to keep many negative aspects of Black life in America in its clutches?

Missouri Independent columnist Janice Ellis analyzes educational, political, social and economic issues across race, ethnicity, age and socio-economic status

You’ ST. LOUIS AMERICAN • MAY 9 – 15, 2024 A13
‘Taking Care of
Missouri Foundation for Health is building a more equitable future through collaboration, convening, knowledge sharing, and strategic investment. Working in partnership with communities and nonprofits, MFH is transforming systems to eliminate inequities within all aspects of health and addressing the social and economic factors that shape health outcomes. Your Health Matters is provided in partnership with

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Questions or comments? Contact Cathy Sewell or 618-910-9551

Students Patricia Lomax, Andre English, and Jade Lee, in Ms. Stovall’s fifth-grade class at Gateway MST Elementary School, are exploring preserved specimens to understand fossils.

Layers of the Atmosphere

The atmosphere is a thick layer of air that protects us from the sun’s radiation, falling meteors, and toxic gas. The atmosphere consists of five layers: troposphere, stratosphere, mesosphere, ionosphere and exosphere. The layer closest to the earth is the troposphere. It is 11 miles thick and it controls our weather. The next layer is the stratosphere, which is 30 miles high and contains the ozone layer, which protects us from the sun. Next, is the mesosphere (about 50 miles from Earth), which is -180 degrees Fahrenheit. 430


Background Information:

miles above the earth is the ionosphere, which is considered outer space.

Ions in the ionosphere create an electrical layer used to transmit radio waves. Extending more than 6,000 miles is the final layer, the exosphere. The atmosphere is approximately 75% nitrogen and 25% oxygen. For more information,

visit: http://www.kidsgeo. com/geographyfor-kids/0040introduction-to-ouratmosphere.php.

Learning Standards: I can read nonfiction text for main idea and supporting details.

Build a Barometer!

In this activity, you will build a device to measure the air pressure.

Materials Needed:

• Large Jar (such as a jar for spaghetti sauce or jelly)

• 2 Straws • Balloon • Tape • Small Triangle (cut out of poster board or construction paper) • Rubber Bands • Ruler • Paper


q Cut the neck off of the balloon, stretch the balloon over the opening of the jar, and secure it with a rubber band.

w Tape the two straws together.

e Tape one end of the straws to the top of the balloon stretched over the opening of the jar. (The straws should stick out about 8 inches perpendicularly from the jar.)

r Tape the small triangle to the end of the straws to make a pointer for your barometer.

t To make a scale, cut a piece of paper so it measures 30 by 6 centimeters.

y Starting at the bottom of the paper, mark 21 lines that are

one centimeter apart all the way up the paper and label the lines from 1 to 21, starting with 1 at the bottom.

u Hang the scale on the wall. Put the barometer next to it, with the pointer lined up with the 11 line on the scale.

i To record your data, make a chart that has columns labeled Date, Barometric Reading, Weather Today. Each day, look at where the pointer of the barometer is pointing to. Then, on your chart, write down the number along with the date and the weather. Soon you’ll see a pattern.

Analyze/Draw Conclusions: What do you notice about the weather when the air pressure is high? What do you notice about the weather when the air pressure is low?

Learning Standards: I can follow sequential directions for an experiment. I can analyze and draw conclusions. I can make text-to-world connections.

Weather Word Problems

Solve these weather word problems. Remember to look for clue words and check your answer.

z A hurricane has wind speeds as low as 75 miles per hour (mph). If the wind is blowing 87 mph, how many fewer mph until it is no longer considered a hurricane? ________

x Sixteen inches of rainfall fell last year. Twelve inches fell this year. What is the total number of inches


of rainfall over the past two years? ________ What is the average of the two numbers? ________

c The temperature in New York City is 43 degrees. In San Francisco it is 70 degrees. What is the difference in temperature between New York and San Francisco? ________

v If a cloud is 18 feet long, how many inches long is it? ________ If snow is falling at a rate of ¾ inch per hour, how much snow would you have in 5 hours?

Learning Standards: I can read word problems to determine clue words. I can add, subtract multiply, and divide to solve a problem.

African-American Civil Engineer

Derrick Pitts

Derrick Pitts was born in Philadelphia on January 22, 1955. As a young child, he was fascinated with outer space, stars, and rockets. That interest would serve him well in his future career. After graduating from Germantown Academy,

he earned a geology degree from St. Lawrence University. In 2011, he received an honorary Doctor of Science degree from LaSalle University.

In 1978, Pitts began working at Franklin Institute as the chief astronomer. In this career, he was in charge of educational programs and exhibits. He wanted to make his love of space come alive in his astronomy exhibits. Pitts was often labeled as an excellent teacher and soon became the planetarium director for the Franklin Institute. In 2002, he was in charge of the renovation and he has made improvements and updates to the observatory. Pitts is also the president of the Philadelphia chapter of the Tuskegee Airmen, Inc.

He has made numerous television appearances, including shows such as The Colbert Report, The Today Show, Good Morning America, CBS Morning News, The Late Late Show, Countdown with Keith Olbermann, The Last Word with Lawrence O’Donnell, and The Ed Show. Pitts co-hosts a weekly radio program called Skytalk on WHYY-FM. In 2009, he served as the United States spokesperson for the International Year of Astronomy. Two years later, he was named a National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) Solar System Ambassador. Pitts has been named as one of the 50 most important African Americans in research science and has received many awards and honors, including the Liberty Bell Award, the George Washington Carver Scientist of the Year Award, the David Rittenhouse Award, and he is a 2004 inductee into the Germantown Historical Society’s Hall of Fame.

Discuss: Pitts loved space as a child. His childhood interests became his career. What are your interests? How can you use these interests in your future career? Pitts was known as an excellent teacher. When you think of excellent teachers, what qualities or traits come to mind? Why is it important to have excellent teachers?

Learning Standards: I can read a biography about a person who has made a contribution in the fields of science, technology, engineering, and math.


Enjoy these activities that help you get to know your St. Louis American newspaper.

Activity One — and Present Tense: a newspaper article written in the present tense and clip it out of the paper. Underline all the verbs and then rewrite the article in the past tense.

Activity Two —

Apartment for Rent: Select three apartments listed in the classified ads for rent. Calculate the total rent for a year for the apartments you have chosen and determine the average monthly rent based on the three apartments you have chosen. Which of the three apartments is the best choice? Why?

Learning Standards: I can use the newspaper to locate information. I can identify verb tense. I can add, subtract, multiply, and divide to solve a problem. I can make text-to-world connections.

ST. LOUIS AMERICAN • MAY 9 - 15, 2024 A15
Teachers, if you are using the St. Louis American’s NIE program and would like to nominate your class for a Classroom Spotlight, please email: nie@stlamerican. com. CLASSROOM SPOTLIGHT SCIENCE STARS MATH CONNECTION
Photo by Ms. Stovall
If the earth was the size of an onion, the entire atmosphere would only be as thick as one layer of skin. Earth’s atmosphere is 500 km thick and extends out 10,000 km. Earth doesn’t take 24 hours to rotate on its axis; it actually takes 23 hours, 56 minutes and 4 seconds.
ST. LOUIS AMERICAN • MAY 9 – 15, 2024 A16

Biden administration addressing affordable housing crisis

$5.5 billion to be distributed throughout nation

A 60% spike in housing prices since 2014 has left many Black families with no choice other than to rent a home or apartment. Vice President Kamala Harris and the Department of Housing and Urban Development announced on Tuesday that $5.5 billion will be allocated to cities and states through various HUD programs.

A housing crisis is gripping St. Louis area families and millions more nationwide.

In July 2023, Mayor Tishaura O. Jones signed Board Bill 59, which helps provide access to legal representation for tenants facing eviction. The bill created a Right to Counsel program, which protects renters “while preventing families from ending up out on the street,” said Jones.

In St. Louis, 60% of its residents are renters.

The issue has cut across political lines and sparked bipartisan action in several state legislatures – not Missouri’s.

The root cause of the crisis is a chronic housing shortage, which has driven home prices up by approximately 60% after adjusting for inflation over the past decade.

n The root cause of the crisis is a chronic housing shortage, which has driven home prices up by approximately 60% after adjusting for inflation over the past decade.

The staggering increase has left many families struggling to afford rent or homeownership, and, according to recent data, around a quarter of renters, equivalent to roughly 12 million households, are spending more than half of their income on housing costs, far exceeding the recommended one-third threshold for financial health.

On Tuesday, May 7, Vice President Kamala Harris unveiled a significant funding boost to address the pressing issues of affordable housing and homelessness across the United States.

She announced that $5.5 billion in grants would be distributed to 1,200 communities through more than 2,400 grants to states, cities, Washington, D.C., Puerto Rico, and local organizations nationwide.

“Homeownership is an essential part of the American Dream that represents so much more than a roof over our heads,” Harris stated.

“That is why President Biden and I are expanding on our historic investments in housing by announcing $5.5 billion that will increase access to affordable housing, invest in economic growth, and address homelessness in communities throughout America.”

The funding, part of the White House Housing Supply Action Plan and the Blueprint for a Renter’s Bill of Rights, aims to boost the housing supply, lower housing costs, expand rental assistance, enhance renter protections, and invest in more robust, more resilient communities.


Teacher retention is a supply and demand issue

Key initiatives can attract teachers

Being an educator is a calling, the opportunity to inspire life-long learners is rewarding. Something magical happens when you see a student understand a problem or idea. It’s the light in their eye, the smile on their face, the enthusiasm for tackling a challenge and learning something new. Educators have the privilege of building strong relationships with students and families, creating a supportive community. Yet, even with all these benefits, a career in education is not for the faint of heart.


Five staff members recently received the Trailblazer Award during the Confluence Academies Recognition Day celebration. The awardees are Alyssa Copeland, Confluence Preparatory Academy; Rhonda Muhammad, Old North Academy; Tim Mulhall, Grand Center Arts Academy; Sheila Miller, Aspire Academy and Summer Turner, South City Academy.

Ari Starks, a senior majoring in psychology with a minor in communication studies, served as student speaker during the Lincoln University Honors Convocation on Thursday, April 25, 2024.

Starks maintained a perfect 4.0 grade point average, has served as a peer mentor for the Honors Program and has been a tutor at the Academic Success Center for the past three years. This fall, Starks will pursue a Ph.D. in counseling psychology at Howard University. Ari Starks serves as student speaker

Miracle Bird has been selected in the fourth cohort of the MarshallMotley Scholars Program (MMSP), a scholarship launched from a $40 million donation. The program is named in honor of legendary civil rights attorney, Supreme Court Justice and LDF founder Thurgood Marshall, and iconic civil rights litigator Constance Baker Motley. MMSP is creating the next generation of civil rights lawyers in the South, who are trained to provide legal advocacy. Bird, a graduate of Southeast Missouri State University, says she plans to “build a future where discriminatory actions that keep Black Americans out of positions, roles, and institutions that they deserve to be in are no more.”

Affinia Healthcare honors standout employee


Arlena Wortham has been selected as Affinia Healthcare Employee of the 2nd Quarter. Arlena is an LPN Coordinator who has worked with Affinia Healthcare for more than 10 years. She is currently working at the Ferguson health center.

Donna Hodge heads Burrell media services

Donna Hodge, a native St. Louisan, is among a group of senior-level executives who were hired or appointed by Chicagobased Burrell Communications Group to complete its restructuring. Hodge is serving as head of media services.

Burrell Communications Group is the largest U.S. Black-owned agency, and its clients include McDonald’s, Toyota, Comcast, Fidelity, Coca-Cola, and the American Red Cross.

The group will work together to seamlessly create centers of brilliance around core disciplines and improve agency operations, while strategically guiding Burrell’s evolution.

B1 Business MAY 9 – 15, 2024
PeoPle on the Move
Promotion, board appointment, new hire, award... please submit your People on the Move item (including photo) to
Ari Starks Donna Hodge Miracle Bird named Marshall-Motley cohort Miracle Bird Photo courtesy of Confluence Academies Facebook Arlena Photo courtesy of NNPA See
Candice CarterOliver


Continued from B1

“A coordinated whole-of-community approach is crucial to build strong and resilient communities, invest in decent housing, create healthy environments, expand economic opportunities accessible to low-income households, and support aspiring homebuyers and those experiencing homelessness,” Acting HUD Secretary Adrianne Todman said in a statement.

The White House said the allocation of the $5.5 billion in grants would go through various HUD programs, including:

• $1.3 billion to 668 grantees to build affordable housing through the HOME Investment Partnerships Program (HOME).

• $214 million to every state to increase affordable housing supply via the Housing Trust Fund (HTF).

• $3.3 billion to 1,254 grantees to build stronger communities through the Community Development Block Grants (CDBG).

• $455 million to 130 grantees to connect people with HIV/ AIDS to housing and support


Continued from B1

Teacher retention and recruitment present significant challenges for school districts nationwide. The complexities of turnover and burnout, which has been exacerbated by the pandemic, demand thoughtful, real-world solutions.

Teacher pay is always challenged to keep up with the demands of the job. Coupled with the oftenhigh stress and workload, schools across the country are facing critical shortages of educators.

Put simply, it’s a supply

through the Housing Opportunities for Persons With HIV/AIDS (HOPWA) program.

• $290 million to 357 grantees to address homelessness through Emergency Solutions Grants (ESG).

• $30 million to 23 States and the District of Columbia to support recovery from substance use disorder via the Recovery Housing Program (RHP).

The announcement follows Harris’s recent stops on her nationwide Economic Opportunity Tour, where she has been highlighting the BidenHarris Administration’s efforts to support communities and improve access to housing while making it more affordable.

The White House said the latest funding underscores the administration’s commitment to addressing the housing crisis and creating opportunities for all Americans to access affordable housing.

“The funding made available today serves as building blocks to empower communities to take ownership of community development investments and put the needs of residents first,” Todman said.

Alvin A. Reid of the St. Louis American contributed to this report.

and demand issue – too many teachers are leaving and not enough are entering the profession. As a result, districts are seeing shortages across most content areas. Missouri colleges and universities are seeing the issue as well – with a 25% drop in teachers entering the field. And, while teacher pay is an issue, it’s not the only issue nor is increasing salaries the only solution.

Cultivating a positive school climate and culture is key to teacher retention and recruitment. Educators seek environments where their contributions are valued; and they feel supported. Part of this is fair, competitive pay, but not itself alone.

Other successful initiatives include promoting health and well-being, providing ongoing professional development opportunities, meaningful engagement with other educators, and creating opportunities for growth. Taken together, these efforts are designed to create a workplace where educators know they are respected and are motivated to stay. Furthermore, replacing a teacher, especially a high performing educator, is not as simple as hiring their replacement. It’s estimated that it takes 6 hires to replace a high performing teacher in a good school.

Additionally, diversity among faculty is also a crucial consideration.

Studies have shown that a diverse teaching staff benefits all students, providing them with valuable role models and perspectives. A commitment to increasing diversity through targeted recruitment efforts and by fostering an inclusive environment where all educators feel supported and valued is also key to a positive school culture.

At Confluence Academies, a notable initiative is the Grow Your Own Teacher program, which partners with local educational institutions to create a pipeline for future educators. By

engaging high school students, current staff, and community members in the certification process, the program not only addresses the teacher shortage but also creates opportunities for career advancement within the school system. It’s also important for school leaders to think regionally. This problem crosses all district boundaries. A regional, collaborative approach aiming to position the St. Louis region as an attractive destination for educators seeking meaningful and supportive work environments is the call to action. A rising tide lifts all boats. A serious commitment to regional collaboration,

competitive pay, supportive cultures, and targeted recruitment and retention programs are all components of the investment we must make as a region in our educators, and through them, our kids. These investments will help create school environments across St. Louis where educators thrive and our students, schools, and communities are poised for success. An essential, collective effort will continue building a more vibrant educational landscape and stronger, more resilient communities for generations to come.

Dr. Candice CarterOliver is CEO of Confluence Academies

ST. LOUIS AMERICAN • MAY 9 – 15, 2024 B2

n If [not] for that Dream Team, a lot of [foreign] guys in the league would have been playing soccer.

– Patick Ewing on the 1996 USA Olympic team’s international influence

InSIdE SportS

A dash of district track meets sprinkle calendar

The road to the Missouri state track and field championships got underway last weekend with district competition around the state at the Class 1,2 and 3 levels.

St. Louis area small schools participated at the Class 3, District 2 meet at Lutheran North last Saturday. The top four finishers in each event qualified for this weekend’s sectionals, which will be held at Park Hills Central.

On the boys side, host Lutheran North had a big district meet as it produced eight district champions and qualified athletes in 10 different events for the upcoming sectionals. Sophomore sprinter Michael Clark was a district champion in the 200and 400-meter dashes. Clark turned in winning times of 22.18 in the 200 and 50.2 in the 400.

athletes who moved on to sectionals are senior Jordan Carter, who finished third in the 400 and second in the long jump. Joshua Hastins finished third in the triple jump and Lonnie Johnson was fourth in the discus.

Senior Jaydon Marley of Metro had a very productive district meet as he finished first in the 100, second in the 200 and third in the 400. Jacobi Green of Vashon was a double-winner in the shot put and discus. Green won with winning throws of 161-6 ½ in the discus and 45-11 ¼ in the shot put.

Sophomore Jaquiveon Whitfield finished first in the 800-meter run while sophomore Joshua Hastings finished first in the 300-meter intermediate hurdles. In the field events, Karvon Jefferson finished first in the long jump with a leap of 21 feet 4 inches.

The Crusaders also took home district titles in the 4x200- and 4x400-meter relays. The 4x200 posted a winning time of 1 minute 28.66 seconds and the 4x400 posted a time of 3:31.21. The Crusaders also finished second in the 4x800 to qualify.

Other Lutheran North

Senior Nassir Binion of Vashon won the high jump with a clearance of 6’2 ¾. The 6’5” Binion was an allstate basketball player on the Wolverines’ Class 4 state championship team. Other district champions include senior Marnell Gregory of STEAM Academy at McCluer South-Berkeley in the 110-meter high hurdles, senior Keteyian Cole of Metro in the 3,200-meter run, senior Ben Long of Lutheran South in the triple jump

On the girls side, Incarnate Word Academy had a very productive day with district championships in eight different events. The Red Knights will be taking a strong group of athletes to Saturday’s sectional meet.

Sophomore Chloe Hutchinson, freshman


SportS EyE

Brown swept both the throwing events as she won the shot put with a heave of 40-9 ¼ and the discus with a throw of 120-10 ½. Hensgens won the high jump with a clearance of 5-5 and the long jump with a leap of 16-6. The Red Knights also won a district title in the 4x200. Sophomore Ava Tobias finished first in the 200, second in the 100 and third in the 400.

Other district champions include Leah MaconFord from Metro, who finished first in the 100. Senior Chantrel “Tutu” Clayton of Vashon finished first in the 400. Clayton came out for track this season after a stellar basketball career for the Wolverines. Sophomore Lucy Luetkemeyer of Metro was a double winner in the 1,600 and 3,200.

Big school district meets upcoming

The big schools will take center stage in district competition this weekend with Class 4 and 5 meets around the state. St. Louis area schools will be competing at four different locations on Saturday. Festus will host the Class 4 and 5 District 1 meets. Class Class 4 and 5 District 2 meets will be held at Ladue. The Class 4 and 5 District 3 meets will be held at Wentzville North Point while the Class 4 and 5 District 5 meets will be held at Northwest Cedar Hill.

Battlehawks, Birmingham brace for big game

Fan frenzy for the St. Louis Battlehawks is the talk of the United Football League. Unfortunately, that seems to be all anyone is talking about when it comes to the first-year league - a merger of the XFL and USFL.

The Battlehawks draw more fans to the Dome at America’s Center for a game than the combined attendance of the other three UFL games. TV ratings have also not taken off –even in St. Louis. Through the first three home games, the Battlehawks were averaging more than 36,000 fans. The Washington Defenders were second in UFL attendance at just over 15,500. While that might not bode well for the longterm success of the UFL, Battlehawks fans aren’t deterred. The games are loud and team support for 5-1 St. Louis is never-ending during the 60 minutes of a home game. St. Louis has a high-powered offense which features the UFL’s top receiver Hakeem Butler. His 478 receiving yards and five touchdown receptions lead the league. Quarterback A.J.

McCarron has 13 passing touchdowns and 98 points, which are also tops in the league.

The Battlehawks rule the XFL Division, but the Birmingham Stallions of the USFL Division are the UFL’s top team with a 6-0 record. The teams meet at 3 p.m. Saturday in Birmingham, where an average of about 9,700 fans bother to go to games. By moving to 6-0, the Stallions have already clinched a playoff berth.

An interesting twist to the contest is that McCarron was an AllAmerican quarterback for Nick Saban at Alabama. He was also an All-State football and baseball player at St. Paul’s Episcopal in Mobile.

“It’ll be fun to be back home in the state of Alabama playing versus a good team,” said McCarron.

“It’s going to be interesting to see how many Alabama fans root for St. Louis or how many of them root against me, so it’ll be a fun atmosphere either way. I’m excited about it.”

The Battlehawks and Stallions cannot meet again until the champion-

ship game – which regardless of the teams – will be in St. Louis on June 16. Each division’s two top seeds will play in respective playoff games, and the winners advance to the title game.

The Reid Roundup

If the St. Louis Battlehawks reach the

UFL Championship game in St. Louis, attendance could top 50,000. If the Battlehawks don’t reach the title game attendance could be about 5,000… Lebron James just completed his 20th season, and after the L.A. Lakers fired Darvin Ham, James will be on his 11th head coach…New York Knicks guard Jalen Brunson’s

NBA Playoff run has put him in elite company. His 43 points in Monday night’s win over Indiana was his fourth 40-plus point performance in a row. Michael Jordan, Bernard King, and Jerry West are the only players to accomplish the feat… Minnesota Timberwolves guard Anthony Edwards reminds me of Jordan. His

27-point performance in Monday’s blowout win over the suddenly hapless Denver Nuggets has the T-Wolves up 2-0 in that series… Miami Heat president Pat Riley was correct in telling Jimmy Butler to shut his trap on other teams in the playoffs when he and his team are out…An interesting note: Combined as a player, coach and executive, Riley has participated in more than 20% of all NBA Finals ever played…Minnesota Twins pitcher Simeon Woods Richardson is 1-0 with a 1.74 ERA. He could be the next Black ace in Major League Baseball… Since his return to Triple A Memphis, Jordan Walker is hitting .240 in 25 at-bats, with six RBIs and no home runs. Victor Scott II, who was also demoted shortly after the season began, is hitting just .186…Here’s what the Dallas Cowboys think of the retuning Ezekiel Elliott; He will receive a $1.25 million base salary and a $375,000 signing bonus. Elliott could earn up to $1 million more in incentives, which include the unlikely chance of him reaching 1,000 rushing yards. Also, all incentives depend on the team reaching the playoffs. Good luck with that.

MAY 9 – 15, 2024 B3
With Alvin A. Reid Earl Austin Jr. Alvin A. Reid Houston Roughriders’ Mark Thompson (8) puts his hand in the face of St. Louis Battlehawks’ Travis Feeney (56) during first-quarter action Saturday, May 4, at the Dome at the America’s Center. Cardinal Ritter’s Cameron Clayborn puts forth his best shot put effort Saturday, April 22. Clayborn will be back for his final year as a senior. Photo by Wiley Price / St. Louis American Hensgens and senior Kamari Brown were all double winners for the Red Knights. Hutchinson won both the 100-meter high hurdles and 300- meter low hurdles while also finishing second in the triple jump. Photo by Wiley Price / St. Louis American

A Red Circle to host Health Community Market on May 25

A Red Circle will host its first Healthy Community Market of the season from 8 a.m. to noon Saturday May 25 from 8 a.m. to noon. The monthly pay-what-you-can farmers market – open May through Oct. on the last Sat. of each month – is held at A Red Circle’s Healthy Flavor Community Garden located at 351 Chambers Rd. in Riverview.

Founded in 2019, the Healthy Flavor Community Garden was created to provide North St. Louis County residents with access to fresh vegetables and fruits from local farmers and growers. Residents are welcome to shop for fresh produce regardless of their ability to pay, and donations are accepted. The market also offers an opportunity for local artisans and entrepreneurs to showcase and sell their products to the public.

“Our Market allows

everyone access to fresh produce regardless of their ability to pay,” said A Red Circle’s Founder and Executive Director Erica Williams. “This initiative encourages health and wellbeing for our entire community through improved fresh food access and resources.”

A Red Circle is a nonprofit dedicated to the advancement of racial equity in North St. Louis County, Mo. The organization creates economic and community betterment solutions through education, employment, and empowerment. A Red Circle has four Missouri locations – Healthy Flavor Community Garden in Riverview, North County Agricultural Education Center in Pine Lawn, The Creative Spot in Ferguson, and North County Community Nexus in Bellefontaine Neighbors.

Ameren energy projects a boon for Ferg-Flor School District

The FergusonFlorissant School District is on track to save more than $190,000 per year after recently completing 44 energy efficiency projects through Ameren Missouri’s BizSavers program. In addition to the annual savings in electric and operating costs, these upgrades project to save the school district 1.94 million kilowatt hours (kWh) of electricity annually.

Metro Transit will host its monthly hiring event from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, May 11, at the BarnesCare facility at 5000 Manchester Road, located south of Forest Park in St. Louis.

On-site interviews

will be offered for Metro Mechanics, Metro CallA-Ride Van Operators, MetroLink Operators and MetroBus Operators. Applicants are encouraged to learn more about these positions and apply online in advance of Saturday’s

“Ameren Missouri worked closely with us to identify smart investments that will ultimately lower our energy expenses for many years to come,” said Terry O’Neil, assistant superintendent of

operations, maintenance, and transportation at Ferguson-Florissant School District. “The upgrades we made through BizSavers are also significant for the Ferguson-Florissant students, faculty and staff

Metro Transit Job Fair May 11

hiring event by visiting WorkAtMetroSTL. com. Qualified candidates will receive on-the-spot job offers at the hiring event following on-site interviews. At last month’s hiring event, job offers were provided for 50 Metro

Call-A-Ride Operator positions, 50 MetroBus Operator positions, and four mechanics.

The $5,000 signing bonus has been extended for Metro Mechanic and Metro Call-A-Ride Operator positions

as our savings can now be redirected towards education.”

BizSavers provides cash incentives for energy efficiency upgrades such as LED lighting, high efficiency HVAC and

only. Applicants who receive job offers for Mechanic or Call-A-Ride Van Operator positions at the hiring event will be eligible for the $5,000 Signing Bonus, which is distributed over the first year of employment. The

A Red Circle will host its first Healthy Community Market of the season from 8 a.m. to noon Saturday May 25. Along with offering farmers’ fresh produce, the market also offers an opportunity for local artisans and entrepreneurs to showcase and sell their products to the public.

refrigeration systems, commercial-grade cooking equipment, motor controls/ variable frequency drives and much more. Projects for the Ferguson-Florissant School District are included.

$5,000 hiring bonus for other transit positions expired last month.

Bi-State Development operates the Metro Transit system in the City of St. Louis and in St. Louis County and in St. Clair County in Illinois.

ST. LOUIS AMERICAN • MAY 9 – 15, 2024 B4 Business Briefs
Photo courtesy of Red Circle

Living It

Cherise Louis-Mason slays Chaka tribute

Twilight Thursdays kicks off with a soulful grand slam

Some moments are better experienced than explained. As I meandered through the crowd that went in every direction – including across the street – surrounding The Missouri History Museum’s Lindell entrance, I realized that Twilight Thursdays is one of those moments.

The seasonal concert series presented by the museum and Washington University that gives St. Louis musical artists a taste of how it feels to perform before a legion of fans in an outdoor arena kicked off its latest installment last week with a tribute to funk and soul icon Chaka Khan. By evening’s end, not even a hovering storm cloud that appeared ready to burst at any given moment could disturb the groove. As Chaka sang in “Through the Fire,” Cherise Louis Mason and the talented team of musicians and vocalists led by Jeremiah Allen had the audience willing to risk it all – particularly hairstyles and outfits. They seemed unbothered by the sudden cool breeze and ominous sky, and determined to get every drop of the performance that closed with the R&B classic “Ain’t Nobody.”

Who could blame them? The show was spectacular and set the bar high for the rest of the Twilight Thursdays to come – a bar that the featured artists are likely to rise to meet based on the caliber of talent on the schedule of shows that continue through May 23. Up next is Anita Jackson on May 9 with a mix of R&B throwbacks.

It will be the second Twilight Thursday in a row for Jackson, who – along with Cheryl Brown and Adrianne Felton-King – provided background vocals for LouisMason during the Chaka Khan tribute. Plenty of the crowd will be back for more based on the time they had last week with the understanding that St. Louis has stars that can hold their own in any musical arena – indoors or outside. As contestants

on shows like “American Idol,” “The Voice” and “X Factor” have found out the hard way, singing one Chaka Khan song can be sticky work that can instantly go left thanks to a missed key change, high note or vocal run. Khan – who is famously unimpressed, especially when it comes to covers of her songs – would have been pleased with Louis-Mason had she stopped on by to see the two sets of her biggest hits and beloved B-side tracks.

To simply say Louis-Mason has the range to sing Chaka is an injustice to the tone and phrasings she also applied to make the songs feel as if they were her own. It would also be unfair to not give flowers to the on-stage support system that helped her shine in the best way possible.

Twilight Thursdays stage manager Maurice Falls applied the same skills,

St. Louis singer Cherise Louis-Mason showcased her impeccable vocal chops while paying tribute to Chaka Khan for this season’s inaugural Twilight Thursdays presented by The Missouri History Museum and Washington University.

“It is popcorn, but it’s definitely got some special sauce on it.”

- Will Smith on rejoining Martin Lawrence for the fourth installment of “Bad Boys,” entitled “Ride or Die.”

care and intention he uses when he performs the same duties for some of the biggest national acts in urban music that play at a host of venues throughout the region. Jeremiah Allen was in top form as musical director – and led a band of impeccable musicians who understood that the music of Chaka Khan’s classics can be as challenging as the vocal elements. And her background vocalists – all brilliant lead singers in their own right –provided seamless harmony that blended meticulously with Louis-Mason and the band. And while watching the crowd simultaneously engage with the performance and each other, it also became clear that Twilight Thursdays is more than just a concert. It is a concert, family reunion,

Twilight, C8

Mother’s Day is special for noted singer Denise Thimes. She will perform in her 28th Annual Special Mother’s Day Concert in support of the Mildred Thimes Foundation for Pancreatic Cancer Research on Sunday May 12 at The Sheldon. The 2024 theme is “Honoring Our Mothers - “The Givers of Life” Named for her mother, Mildred Thimes, Denise Thimes’ is a co-founder and serves as executive director of the foundation. Assisted by Johnny Furr, then at Anheuser-Busch, the foundation was founded in 2012, and continues to appeal for more education and awareness of the

disease that took her mother in 1997.

“This organization is committed to making a profound difference in the fight against this disease,” according to Thimes on the foundation website.

“Through tireless efforts and strategic initiatives, the foundation has made an impact on various fronts, bringing hope and support to patients, families and the scientific community.”

Of course, Thimes remains committed to a career that has spanned almost three decades and a voice that has taken her to

the four corners of the world.

The daughter of radio icon, the late Lou “Fatha” Thimes, Thimes has performed with jazz greats including Wynton

and the Jazz at Lincoln Center


Last year marked the 50th anniversary of hip-hop, and fundamental elements of the genre were celebrated: music, art, dance, fashion. So far, 2024 is showcasing the fifth element of hip-hop: rap beef. Compton-born Pulitzer Prize-winner Kendrick Lamar and international superstar Drake — two of the biggest and most celebrated rappers alive — are at the center of what’s arguably the biggest rap beef in the past decade. What’s most exciting for hip-hop fans in St. Louis is how much the city’s sound and homegrown talent are involved in the feud.



Earl May, Benny

and James Moody. She has also graced the stage with Houston Person, Jimmy & Tootie Heath, Bobby McFerrin, and Bucky Pizzarelli.

n What’s most exciting for hip-hop fans in St. Louis is how much the city’s sound and homegrown talent are involved in the feud.

St. Louis-born music producer Metro Boomin is one of the most prolific beat makers of today. His productions top Billboard charts, win Grammys and make stars out of his collaborators. He recently released an album with one of his frequent collaborators, Future, called “We Don’t Trust You,” which is essentially a diss album to Drake. It’s on that album that Kendrick Lamar first expressed his disdain for Drake on the track “Like That.” Here’s where the beef comes in: J. Cole posited that he, Kendrick Lamar and Drake are the “Big Three” (i.e. the best rappers alive) in the hip-hop duet “First Person Shooter.” Kendrick Lamar disagreed, saying he is No. 1 with no competition from either rapper. Drake responded in kind with his own diss against Kendrick — and was sure to include a shot at Metro — in “Push Ups.”

Then, on Tuesday morning, Kendrick released a 6½-minute diss track called “euphoria” in which he namedropped Sexyy Red, a rising star in hiphop who’s proudly from north St. Louis, and left the internet buzzing a week later with diss track after diss track over the weekend.

BET reports that “after all of the mudslinging and troubling accusations that Kendrick and Drake have levied at each other, it’s almost hard to believe now that they were once colleagues more than a decade ago.”

In 2011, Drake was well on his way to pop superstardom with the release of his sophomore album Take Care. He enlisted Kendrick, who was building his reputation as a future legend from California with the project “Buried Alive Interlude” produced by 40 and Supa Dups. The following year, Drake invited Kendrick

C1 • ST. LOUIS AMERICAN • MAY 9 - 15, 2024
Marsalis Orchestra, late Terry, Dr. Taylor, Powell,
A great Thimes for a worthy cause
annual concert Sunday May 12 How STL is in middle of Drake, Kendrick Lamar’s rap beef See Beef, C8 See Thimes, C8
Denise Thimes
Photos by Wiley Price/ St. Louis American See Photo courtesy of Denise Thimes Drake and Kendrick Lamar — two of the biggest and most celebrated rappers alive — are at the center of what’s arguably the biggest rap beef in the past decade.

Jeffrey Osborne

5/10/14, 7:30 p.m. Stifel Theatre 1400 Market St. St. Louis, MO

$42.00 to $146.50 Patti LaBelle



STL Sites & Sounds

Jeffrey Osborne will perform some of his R&B and Soul classics at The Stifel Theater on Friday, May 10, at 7:30 p.m.

artwork from up to 150 artists gathered from St. Louis Laumeier Sculpture Park 12580 Rott Road St. Louis, MO


Tower Grove Park Beer and Cocktail Garden

5/10/2024 4:00 p.m.

Powered by St. Louis Barkeep and Schlafly, come join us on Fridays from April - October in Pond Loop near the Ruins for drinks and entertainment. 0

Likes Share Tower Grove Park 4257 Northeast Drive St. Louis, MO


Senior Lunch & LearnAging Ahead

5/10/2024 11:00 a.m.

A monthly series that will feature local experts discussing programs and services that are available for seniors in the St. Louis area.

University City Public Library 6701 Delmar Blvd.

University City, MO

Day, Lani Rose and DJ Mahf

5/11/2024 4:00 p.m.

Before the St. Louis CITY SC match kickoff, get the party started early with live music, food and drinks on Lou Fusz Plaza CITYPARK

2100 Market St. St. Louis, MO Free

City Council Meeting 5/13/2024 6:30 p.m.

Univeristy City Hall 6801 Delmar Blvd

State of the City 5/14/2024 6:30 p.m.

Description Sun Theater 3625 Grandel Square St. Louis, MO

Plant It Forward

5/14/2024 9:00 a.m.

5/14/2024 8:00 p.m.

7:30 - 9:30 p.m.

Gary Clark Jr. Blues guitarist and singer 5/16/2024 7:30 p.m. The Factory 17105 North Outer 40 Road St. Louis, MO $49.50 - $99.50


37th Annual Art Fair / May 10-12, 2024 5/10/2024 6:00 p.m.

The Laumeier Annual Art Fair is a three-day, outdoor event held over Mother’s Day weekend. Shop one-of-a-kind, handmade

Brownpreneurs Entrepreneurship Academy (BEA) 5/11/2024 11:00 a.m.

Networking, and learning Interactive workshops, hear from successful entrepreneurs, and hands-on activities

St. Louis Community CollegeForest Park 5600 Oakland Ave St. Louis, MO Free

CITY Block Party ft. Thomas

REGISTER FOR THIS VOLUNTEER OPPORTUNITY: Due to the complexity of the volunteer project organization, Tower Grove Park cannot allow passersby to participate or take with them plants that have been dug up by volunteers. Tower Grove Park will work to distribute any extra plants as time and capacity allows. For more information, please contact volunteer@

Tower Grove Park 57 Northeast Drive St. Louis, MO

University City, MO City Council Meeting

5/14/2024 7:00 p.m. Ferguson City Hall 110 Church Street Ferguson, MO

ST. LOUIS AMERICAN • MAY 9 - 15, 2024 C2 St. Louis American Calendar
7:00 p.m. The Factory 17105 North Outer 40 Road
St. Louis, MO
- $124.50 Bugs Bunny At the Symphony 5/11/2024 7:00 p.m. Warner Bros. Discover presents Bugs Bunny At The Symphony
Market Street
Louis, MO
$35.00 - $80.00 A Mother’s Day Dinner & Show
5/12/2024 5:00 p.m. A Mother’s Day Dinner & Show Featuring: Andrea Taylor ! The Blue Strawberry Showroom & Lounge
North Boyle Avenue St. Louis, MO $65.00
Mariah the Scientist - To Be Eaten Alive Tour
Pageant 6161 Delmar Blvd
Louis, MO $37.50 More Than Words An evening of poetic expression at ‘More Than Words,’ a new monthly series nestled within the Billiards room at 21c St. Louis.
Locust Street St. St. Louis,
21c Museum Hotel St. Louis 1528

If you missed the first Twilight Thursdays concert on May 2, there’s still plenty of time to catch a show on the Missouri History Museum’s newly renovated North Lawn. On May 9, Anita Jackson will sing the greatest hits of classic R&B, with music director Phil Graves. Scheduled food trucks include Bougie Bites, the Crooked Boot, Enoch’s Funnel Cake Express, I’m Thirsty, Salt + Smoke, and Soul Burgers.

The sound of War is immediately familiar, from the melodic vocals of “The World Is a Ghetto” to the rhythm of percussion- and bass-driven “The Cisco Kid” and “Why Can’t We Be Friends?” On May 16, don’t miss this performance featuring Jim McClaren on harmonica. Terry Coleman is the music director for this concert. Farmtruk, Jaaise Grubb, Pure Catering STL, St. Louis Kettle Corn & Funnel Cakes, and Zacchi food trucks will be on hand.

The Twilight Thursdays series concludes on May 23 with “Teena Marie Catalog.” From the catchy dance beats of “Square Biz” and “Lovergirl” to the ballads “Casanova Brown” and the unforgettable “Fire and Desire,” this performance with lead vocals by Saman Swanson and music direction by Ken Black will be an evening to remember. Scheduled food trucks include Bougie Bites, the Crooked Boot, Duchess Rose Royal Street Food, I’m Thirsty, Street Dogz, and Wing and a Prayer.

All concerts begin at 6pm. Plan to arrive early to explore the Museum’s exhibits, which will be open until 8pm, and to save a spot on the North

Lawn. Blankets, lawn chairs, tables smaller than 3 by 3 feet, and well-behaved dogs on leashes are permitted. Tents, large umbrellas, and barbecue grills are prohibited. Pack a picnic basket or small cooler with snacks, soft drinks, water bottles, and alcoholic beverages (no glass bottles, please), or save time and support a local small business by visiting one of the many food trucks that will be available each week. (Food truck schedules are subject to change.)

Parking is available within Forest Park and on Lindell Boulevard. The Museum’s west lot is available on a firstcome, first-served basis and is partially reserved for accessible parking. In addition, there are 400 parking spots in the twin lots across from the Dennis & Judith Jones Visitor and Education Center and alongside the Dwight Davis Tennis Center. Nearby public transit stops provide additional options. In the event of inclement weather, call the Twilight Thursdays Information Hotline at (314) 454-3199 after 2pm or listen to iHeartMedia radio stations.

The last History Exploration Days of the 2023–2024 school year will take place on Friday, May 10, and Saturday, May 11, from 10:00am to 2:00pm. The theme is “Cool Summer: Recreation in St. Louis.” Drop-in activities for both days include a craft room, a scavenger hunt through the Museum’s galleries, sensory play and a touch table, a time travel room where students will use recycled materials to create their own World’s Fair, and classic yard games on the North Lawn.

On Friday, local author Arika Parr and her daughter Ava Johnson

May events at the Missouri History Museum and Soldiers Memorial

will read their new book, But What Can You Do?, at 10:30am. American Sign Language interpretation will be provided by DEAF Inc. Saturday’s story time (10:30am) will be presented in Spanish and English. The theme is “Vacaciones de Verano.”

Two workshops will be held on Friday. From 10:30am to 11:15am, middle and high school students can explore the ways race, class, gender, and ability allowed some people to have more fun than others at popular recreational events like baseball games and the 1904 World’s Fair. From 11:30am to 11:45am, middle and high school students, parents, and educators can practice using imaginative storytelling to explore historic images in a short, interactive presentation.

History Exploration Days will resume in September.

On Saturday, May 18, from 1pm to 3pm, the St. Louis African American History and Genealogy Society (STLAAHGS) will host a workshop, “Myth or Reality? Ancient Links Between Egypt and African American Genealogy.” STLAAHGS workshops are held at the Missouri History Museum and are open to the public. No genealogical experience is necessary. There are only a few weeks left to experience Vietnam: At War and At Home at Soldiers Memorial Military Museum in downtown St. Louis. This free exhibit will close on Memorial Day, May 27. The traditional Memorial Day Observance will also be held that day at 10am, and Soldiers Memorial will be open until 5pm. Visit for more details about these and other programs. ST. LOUIS AMERICAN • MAY 9 - 15, 2024 SAT 10AM-8PM SUN 11AM-8PM MON 10AM-6PM For More Information, call (314) 325.2291 or Visit Celebrating the Past Embracing the Present, and EmpoweringOurFuture The Spirit of Africa: MAY | 25 | 26 | 27 | 2024 FREE EVENT! A CULTURAL & FAMILY AFFAIR! MOVIE NIGHT AT THE MUNY West Pavilion SUNDAY, MAY 27, 2024 8PM Pre-Showing Discussion 8:30PM Screening GET SCHEDULE World’s Fair Pavilion Forest Park 2024 Performing Arts Stage African Marketplace Cultural Demonstrations Jewelry, Clothing, Oils Original Fine Art African Films Authentic Foods Children’s Activities African Arts and Crafts Expanded Health Village Daily Fitness Opportunities


‘A Call to the Polls’ march on June 29 in Washington D.C.

Special to The American

Bishop William J. Barber II, president and senior lecturer of Repairers of the Breach, and co-chair of the Poor People’s Campaign: A National Call for Moral Revival and the Rev. Dr. Liz Theoharis, announced the “Mass Poor People’s and Low-Wage Workers’ Assembly and Moral March on Washington, D.C.: A Call to the Polls and to Vote.”

Scheduled for June 29, the assembly aims to commence four months of outreach efforts targeting 15 million poor and low-wage infrequent voters nationwide. According to the study “Waking the Sleeping Giant: Poor and Low-Income Voters in the 2020 Elections,” approximately 85 million eligible voters in the United States are classified as poor or low wage, constituting at least 30 percent of the electorate. In battleground states, the percentage climbs to over 40%.

“This is movement time,” declared Bishop Barber.

“We are here this morning to mobilize the power of over 33 million infrequent voters, poor and low wage, to demand attention to their concerns in the political arena.”

Rev. Theoharis said, “Our goal is to center the desires and political agenda of those who are often left out of the conversation.

The coalition, comprising representatives from over 30 state coordinating committees, religious organizations, labor unions and advocacy groups, seeks to

mobilize the substantial voting bloc to demand political candidates’ endorsement of a moral agenda addressing the poverty and low-wealth crisis, which claims 295,000 lives annually.

“Poor and low-wage voters are saying in this season that if you want these votes, talk to poor and low-wage folks,” said Barber.

The Rev. Mark Thompson, who also works for the National Newspaper Publishers Association, was among the many coalition members who addressed the issues during the news conference, which aired live on C-Span and at

“Wherever there is a lack of health care and voting rights, LGBT rights and immigrant rights, there is an abundance of poverty,” he said.

“Wherever there is a lack of jobs and labor unions, sensible gun laws and women’s bodily autonomy, there is an abundance of poverty.

“Wherever there is a lack of racial justice and legal rights, criminal justice reform, access to adequate legal representation, an alternative to incarceration and police reform, wherever those things are in lack, there is an abundance of poverty.

“Wherever there is a lack of what is now under attack–diversity, equity, and inclusion, affirmative action; investment in education a lack of educational opportunities, there is an abundance of poverty. Wherever there is lack of religious tolerance, racial harmony, and beloved community, there is an abun-

dance of poverty.”

The event’s organizers emphasized their commitment to empowering impoverished and low-wage individuals, aiming to amplify their voices in the political discourse.

“I contend we do not need to ask permission to finish Dr King’s work. He did not retire. It is our duty to pick up his baton and move forward. They always

talk about the people who don’t want to vote. They never talk about the impoverished and lowwage individuals. We want to lift them and bring them forth. If we address these issues, we will address all these others,” said Thompson.

As the nation gears up for the 2024 elections, Bishop Barber, the Poor People’s Campaign, and its allies assert that they are

poised to make their presence felt, advocating for policies that address the systemic issues perpetuating poverty and economic inequality across the country.

For additional information and to register for the “Mass Poor People’s and Low-Wage Workers’ Assembly and Moral March on Washington, D.C. visit

ST. LOUIS AMERICAN • MAY 9 - 15, 2024 C4
Photo courtesy of NNPA
*Restrictions apply and access is subject to YMCA policies & guidelines. Please visit the branch for details. Classes & amenities vary per branch. Valid May 1-31, 2024. Not eligible with other discounts/promotions. GWRYMCA.ORG/ JOIN PAY THE DAY ALL OF MAY MAY 1 1 MAY 2 JOIN FEE $2 MAY 3 JOIN FEE $3 The sooner you join*, the more you save! • No Contracts • No Annual Fees • 24 Locations in MO & IL • Financial Assistance Available ‘This is movement time’
The Rev. William Barber II, co-chair of the Poor People’s Campaign, seeks to “mobilize the power of over 33 million infrequent voters, poor and low wage, to demand attention to their concerns in the political arena.”


Aggio LLC, St Louis, MO. Product Manager. Req BS in CS or rel. 2 yrs as PM, Softw Developer or Data Engr, w/ Python, Javascript, HTML, XML, & CSS. 2 yrs w/ SQL & Tableau. 6 mos managing prod lifecycle, designing UI & solution architect w/ Balsamiq, Miro & Lucidchart. 5% travel. Apply at


Great Rivers Greenway is hiring a Grants Administrator and Compliance Manager. Go to www. greatriversgreenway. org/jobs-bids for more information and submit by June 07, 2024.


Haleon US Holdings LLC (f/k/a GlaxoSmithKline Consumer Healthcare Holdings (US) LLC) in St. Louis, MO seeks Manager of Production Engineering to apply knowledge of industrial eng’g, production ops. & maintenance to manage site maintenance plan to support capital, facilities, utility, & production prgms at manuf. site in St. Louis, MO. Req: Bachelor’s (or foreign equiv) in Industrial Engineering or rel. & 5 yrs of progressive exp. in Conducting & managing engineering & maintenance projects & operations activities in a pharmaceutical or consumer healthcare environment; & Ensuring engineering activities meet FDA, OSHA & NFPA regulatory requirements. 10% domestic travel in the U.S. Resumes to Job code: PPM

Washington University in St. Louis offers rewarding opportunities in various fields at all levels, with positions in engineering, nursing and health care, research, administration, technology, security and more.

JR81346 - LPN Opportunities

WashU is seeking LPNS with current or recent hospital or clinic experience to work at one of our many clinic locations. Preferences: Experience with Epic documentation and current/recent hospital or clinic experience.

Our openings include Orthopedic Surgery, Otolaryngology, Pediatrics, Urological Surgery and Gastroenterology.

JR81166 Purchasing/Receiving Assistant - McDonnell Genome Institute (MGI)

This position is responsible for receiving and/or purchasing storeroom supplies, including upkeep of inventory tracking system for assigned department. Asset tracking, review, and acceptance for assigned department. Assisting as needed for Preventative Maintenance visits to orchestrate between lab and vendor.

The ideal candidate will meet the following required qualifications: High school diploma or equivalent high school certificate. One year of prior work experience. University required EH&S certificate of training specific to department (to be completed on the job). Depending upon department, possess or obtain prior to employment Missouri Class E driver’s license or equivalent.

JR81346 - LPN Opportunities

WashU is seeking LPNS with current or recent hospital or clinic experience to work at one of our many clinic locations.

Preferences: Experience with Epic documentation and current/recent hospital or clinic experience.

Our openings include Orthopedic Surgery, Otolaryngology, Pediatrics, Urological Surgery and Gastroenterology.

For a full description of these positions and other career opportunities, please visit to apply. Click search jobs and enter the job ID number. We seek people from diverse backgrounds to join us in a supportive environment that encourages boldness, inclusion and creativity. EO/AA/VET/Disability Employer


The St. Louis Housing Authority Board of Commissioners is seeking a qualified person to fill the position of Executive Director. The ideal candidate will have at least ten (10) years of progressively responsible experience in HUD programs and demonstrated success in public housing, Housing Choice Voucher, and Rental Assistance Demonstration programs. A Bachelor’s Degree in Management, Business, or Public Administration, Urban Studies, or a related field is required. A Master’s or Law degree is preferred. Minimum of ten (10) years of housing development experience, with at least five (5) years at an executive level. Additional valuable qualifications include experience in affordable housing finance and development, knowledge of public sector regulations and practices, and a background in the real estate industry. Interested candidates must email their cover letter and resume to no later than Friday, April 5, 2024. For detailed information and application steps, please view the position brochure at


The St. Louis Development Corporation (SLDC) is eagerly seeking candidates to join our team as we endeavor to bring economic justice to St. Louis City residents and communities that were disproportionately impacted by the coronavirus pandemic.

There are multiple 2-4-year limited term positions available, term of employment will vary for each position.

These positions will assist in the administration and implementation of various Coronavirus State and Local Fiscal Recovery Fund (SLFRF) Programs targeted for households, small businesses and communities adversely impacted by the pandemic.

All positions will be funded in whole or in part through an allocation of Coronavirus State and Local Fiscal Recovery Funds (SLFRF) from the US Department of the Treasury and the City of St. Louis’ Community Development Administration.

To see the full job description of positions available and to apply online go to: and click on “Careers at SLDC.” SLDC is an equal opportunity employer and values diversity.


Agragene seeks Research Scientist support to insect rearing needs. Requires BS in biology, or related + demonstrated knowledge in Tephritids, insect rearing and gender-sorting. Apply to


Love Church is hiring a part-time Sound Engineer. To apply or for more information, please DM us or contact us at

Love Church Sound Engineer Description


• Provide proper soundchecks to include Front-of-House mix, monitor mixes, gain settings, proper volume settings and EQ/mixing process for all church services, livestream, live performances, designated events, Praise and Worship sessions, band sessions and choir sessions

• Diagnose, troubleshoot, and resolve all sound equipment issues

• Train all Sound Ministry sound board volunteers

• Coordinate with Minister of Music and Worship Leader for song structure to enhance mix for Sunday services, designated events, Praise & Worship, and choir

• Provide stage and audio set-up for all church services and designated events to include audio needs for guest speakers, musicians, and singers

• Provide proper volume levels and sound quality during recording using Pro Tools and console

• Receive audio requirements for timely execution of all upcoming church services and designated events

• Manage all audio engineers within the Sound Ministry

• Communicates with Premiere Event Center’s audio engineer/tech person regarding all sound equipment issues/ updates

• Responsible for over 250 pieces of audio equipment and accessories

ST. LOUIS AMERICAN • MAY 9 - 15, 2024 THE THE St. LouiS american Career Center St. LouiS american THE THE C5


The City of St. Louis Department of Human Services is soliciting proposals for the FY2025

All Aging Services categories (including Catering). Beginning April 29, 2024, RFP packets will be available to be downloaded at or available for pick-up at 1520 Market St., Room 4086, St. Louis, 63103.

Informational Bidder’s Conference Webinar will be held via Zoom on May 9, 2024 at 10:00am. Email

Anneliese Stoever at to obtain Zoom webinar link, by May 8, 2024. Questions may be referred by email only and must be submitted on or before May 17, 2024 to

The RFPs closing date is 9:00 a.m., May 24, 2024.


The St. Louis Economic Development Partnership solicits proposals from qualified firms to host and maintain its website, including 24/7 technical assistance, and to perform various website development projects as directed. The requested services shall be for a oneyear period with two successive options for the Partnership to renew for terms of one year each. A copy of the complete RFP is available at https:// To be considered, proposals must be received no later than 3:00 PM CST on Friday, May 31, 2024.

St. Louis Economic Development Partnership Equal Opportunity Employer


The America’s Center is seeking bids from qualified companies to install new 6” refrigerant vent line, new inline fan, new concrete block wall opening with grill, limited control system work and limited ductwork revisions in the cooling plant of the Dome. Interested bidders must attend pre-bid on-site walk-thru of project May 14, 2024, at 10:00 AM and starting at the Broadway Central entrance to the Dome. Contact btowell@cxegroup. com for scope documents. Bid proposals due, May 23, 2024. The facility reserves the right to reject any and all proposals. EOE.


Bids for Replace Standby Generator, Troop F Headquarters, Jefferson City, Project No. R2311-01 will be received by FMDC, State of MO, UNTIL 1:30 PM, June 4, 2024. For specific project information and ordering plans, go to: gov/facilities


Bids for Replace HVAC System, Third Floor, MoDOT Millbottom Building, Project No. O2330-01 will be received by FMDC, State of MO, UNTIL 1:30 PM, May 23, 2024. For specific project information and ordering plans, go to: gov/facilities


Bids for Splash Pad & Associated Infrastructure Improvements, Bennett Spring State Park, Project No. X2228-01, will be received by FMDC, State of MO, UNTIL 1:30 PM, 6/6/2024. For specific project information and ordering plans, go to: gov/facilities


Notice is hereby given that the Metropolitan St. Louis Sewer District Requests for Quotes, Bids and Proposals are posted online for public download. Please navigate to > Doing Business With Us > View Bid Opportunities

Metropolitan St. Louis Sewer District is an Equal Opportunity Employer.



Section 3 / MBE /WBE Encouraged 42 Units Multi Family – FARMINGTON, MO For Bid Information: 573-204-3097 or or Double Diamond Construction 2201 Walton Road, Ste. B Jackson, MO 63755


Great Rivers Greenway is requesting bids for water harvesting system repair. Go to www. greatriversgreenway. org/jobs-bids for more information and submit by June 06, 2024.


REQUEST FOR QUALIFICATIONS for PROFESSIONAL SERVICES PROJECT: CONTRIBUTED CAPITAL PROJECT VALUATIONS FOR THE CITY OF ST. LOUIS WATER DIVISION, ST. LOUIS, MISSOURI. Statements of Qualifications are due by 5:00 PM CT, June 3, 2024, through the Bid Express online portal at https://www.bidexpress. com/businesses/20618/ home?agency=true. RFQ may be obtained from the BPS website https://www. departments/public-service/, under BPS RFQ and RFP Announcement, or email Board of Public Service at 25% MBE & 5% WBE participation goals.




Electronic bids submitted through the Bid Express Online Portal will be received by the Board of Public Service until 1:45 PM, CT, on June 4, 2024, then publicly opened and read. Proposals must be submitted electronically using the “Bid Express Online Portal” at https:// Plans, Specifications, and the Agreement may be examined and downloaded online through Bid Express.

A mandatory pre-bid conference for all contractors bidding on this project will be held on May 14, 2024, at 10:00 A.M., via Zoom (refer to Bid Express for meeting link)

Bidders shall comply with all applicable City, State, and Federal laws (including MBE/WBE policies).

All bidders must regard Federal Executive Order 11246, “Notice of Requirement for Affirmative Action to Ensure Equal Employment Opportunity”, the “Equal Opportunity Clause” and the “Standard Federal Equal Employment Specifications” set forth within and referenced at (Announcements).


Phuc Thien Hua has changed their name to Tina Hua Stephens


Alberici Constructors, Kwame Building Group and the Saint Louis Zoo seek bids from qualified firms to submit proposals for a project at the Saint Louis Zoo WildCare Park. The project consists of subcontractor scopes of work related to the following categories:

1. Miscellaneous Site Work

2. Visitor Entrance Building

3. Vehicle Maintenance, Loading, and Parking

4. Event Center

5. Giraffe Feeding

6. Lodging Cabins

7. Animal Health Center

8. Distribution Center

9. Outdoor Activity Area

To request bid documents, please send an E-mail to


Sealed bids will be received by the Valley Park School District at the VPSD Administrative Office, One Main Street, Valley Park, MO 63088 until FRIDAY, MAY 24, 2024, at 2:00PM CST, for the following projects: Bid Package #1 –Flooring Replacement at ECC & Middle School, Bid Package #3 – Baseball Field Renovations, and Bid Package #5 –Painting at ECC & Middle School. No less than the prevailing hourly wage rates determined by the State of Missouri, Division of Labor Standards, shall be paid to all workers employed on this project. The district reserves the right to waive technicalities, to select any contractor filing a proposal, and to reject any or all bids. Drawings & specifications can be accessed via Custom Blueprint & Supply’s Plan Room: Username: Wachterbidder Password: VPSDbidder then complete the login with your contact information. Bidders may obtain printed copies at their own expense.

McCownGordon Construction is requesting bid proposals for the University of Missouri, Kansas City Healthcare Delivery and Innovation Building (UMKC – HDIB) Project Number KC652901 located at 2451 Charlotte Street, Kansas City, MO 64108 . Proposals for the following scopes of work are due to McCownGordon by 2:00pm, June 12, 2024. The following scopes of work are being solicited for bids: final cleaning, earthwork, utilities, asphalt, site concrete, landscaping, drilled piers, masonry, structural concrete, structural steel, fireproofing, waterproofing, roofing, casework, doors/ frames/hardware, interior glass & glazing, drywall, tile, flooring, painting, specialties, window shades, elevators, fire sprinklers, plumbing, hvac, and electrical. Earth retention/ shoring proposals are due by 2:00pm, May 29, 2024. For Plans, Specifications, Bid Packages, and Pre-bid Meeting information contact Doug Bell at dbell@mccowngordon. com or 816.960.1111. The project consists of a new 5-story, +/- 172,000 SF healthcare facility in Kansas City, MO. 25% MBE, 3% SDVE, and 10% WBE/Veteran/DBE as certified by the State of Missouri diversity goals apply. Prevailing wages are required.



Electronic bids submitted through the Bid Express Online Portal will be received by the Board of Public Service until 1:45 PM, CT, on JUNE 4, 2024, then publicly opened and read. Proposals must be submitted electronically using the “Bid Express Online Portal” at https://www.bidexpress. com/businesses/20618/home. The bidder must pay $40 to submit a bid through the Bid Express service. Monthly subscriptions are available.

Plans, Specifications, and the Agreement may be examined online through Bid Express at businesses/20618/home?agency=true and may be downloaded for free.

A pre-bid conference for all contractors bidding on this project will be held May 7, 2024 at 11:00 a.m. The prebid conference will be held in 1520 Market Street, Suite 2000, Boardroom #278, St. Louis, Missouri 63103. Bidders shall comply with all applicable City, State, and Federal laws (including MBE/WBE policies).

All bidders must regard Federal Executive Order 11246, “Notice of Requirement for Affirmative Action to Ensure Equal Employment Opportunity”, the “Equal Opportunity Clause” and the “Standard Federal Equal Employment Specifications” set forth within and referenced at (Announcements).

ST. LOUIS AMERICAN • MAY 9 - 15, 2024 C6 St. LouiS american Bids & Public Notices St. LouiS american THE THE


Advertised herein is subject to the Federal Fair Housing Act, which makes it illegal to advertise any preference, imitation, or discrimination because of race, color, religion, sex, handicap, familial\status, or national origin, or intention to make any such preference, limitation, or discrimination.

“We will not knowingly accept any advertising for real estate which is in violation of the law. All persons are hereby informed that all dwellings advertised are available on an equal opportunity basis.”

Call Angelita Houston at 314-289-5430 or email to place your ads today!

SERVICE DIRECTORY 314-289-5430 ROOMS FOR RENT Upscale, Very Clean, Good heating and cooling. Cable 314-484-3147 ST. LOUIS AMERICAN • MAY 9 - 15, 2024 TO ADVERTISE REAL ESTATE , RENTALS & FOR SALES CALL ANGELITA HOUSTON AT
& Public Notices St. LouiS american C7 THE THE FOR RENT 1, 3 & 4 Bed Apts & Rooms for Rent $500 - $800/mo Plus $500/Dep Section 8 Accepted 618-781-7968 ROOM FOR RENT Westend of the City, Wi-fi Available, $550/mo Call Steven 314-532-0928 FURNISHED ROOMS FOR RENT NO VISITORS, Cable Ready, W/D, Veterans Disc. $475/mo + Dep. Ms. Shonda 314-761-7991 GORGEOUS ROOM FOR RENT Single Occupancy, $150 / wk + Dep, All Utilities included, Wifi, W&D, Near Bus line. Call 314-518-1629
St. LouiS american Bids


Continued from C1

all-class alumni picnic, church anniversary social and street festival all rolled into one.

As one woman sang the lyrics to “Sweet Thing” word for word while making her way through the crowd in the direction of the food truck station.

“I will love you anyway, even if you cannot stay,” she sang.


Continued from C1

Thimes toured Paris with Kirkwood native David Sanborn and performed for the Queen of Thailand and Queen Elizabeth II (during her 2009 visit to the U.S).

President George W Bush and family were part of the audience at the White House 2007, and she was personally selected by Aretha Franklin to perform for her 72nd birthday celebration in 2015 at the Ritz Carlton in New York.

Thimes is also an accomplished actor with the St Louis Black Repertory. She has been honored with eight Woodie Awards (named after Freedom Theatre


Continued from C1

and another soon-to-be nemesis A$AP Rocky to accompany him on his Club Paradise Tour.

Kendrick’s classic debut, good kid, m.A.A.d city, featured a Drake collaboration, “Poetic Justice,” produced by Scoop DeVille and Sounwave, which was proof positive that the duo were fans of each other’s music.

In January 2013, everything seemed to be

Before she could get into the second line of the verse, she walked right into a family friend.

“Girl, it’s so good to see you,” she said. “How is your sister doing?”

She hadn’t made it ten feet before she ran into someone else she knew –and then another. By the time she was able to pick back up with her singing, “Sweet Thing” was nearly over – but she was committed until the very end of her jam.

“You’re my heat, you are my fire,” she sang

Founder Woody King in New York) for leading and supporting performances.

In 2022, she played the role of Nana in Her role in Metro Theater Company’s musical “Last Stop on Market Street.”

“I communicate with my audience, no matter what. If it’s through theater or if it’s through song, you tell the story — you connect with your audience,” she told St. Louis Public Radio.

“I’m connecting with people, and they feel what I’m giving them.”

She adds that singing in a musical is quite different than a musical performance.

“It’s not like singing some ballads, where you can improvise and take your time and say things and play with the music and the words and all this. This is more by the book,”

going smoothly when Kendrick, Drake, and 2 Chainz appeared on A$AP Rocky’s “F*ckin’ Problems,” one of the era’s coldest cuts. No beef found here.

Things began to change in August 2013 when Kendrick fired the first shot, a major one, to say the least, on Big Sean’s “Control.”

Undoubtedly, Kendrick put everyone on notice that he intended to separate himself from Drake and every other competitor in the rap game.

Kendrick rapped, “I’m usually homeboys with the same ni**as I’m

along to the third refrain. “You’re not mine. I can’t deny you. Don’t you hear me talkin’ baby. Love me now or I’ll go crazy.”

Missouri History Museum and Washington University’s presentation of Twilight Thursdays continues through May 23rd at the Missouri History Museum, 5700 Lindell (at DeBaliviere).

Program takes place from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. For more information, visit www.

she said.

“But I can still do some things, put the Denise Thimes thing on it, you know.”

The 28th Annual Special Mother’s Day Concert presented by The Mildred Thimes Foundation for Pancreatic Cancer

“Honoring Our Mothers - “The Givers of Life” is Sunday May 12, 2024, at the Sheldon Concert Hall, 3648 Washington Blvd.

The pre-concert dinner is from 3-5 p.m. in the Konneker Room, and tickets are $60. This does not cover the ticket for the concert.

Tickets for the 5:30 p.m. concert are available through Metrotix and are $60 for VIP floor seating and $50 for balcony seats.

For additional information call Velma Fulks (314) 783-7700

rhyming with/But this is hip-hop And them ni**as should know what time it is/And that goes for Jermaine Cole, Big K.R.I.T., Wale/Pusha T, Meek Millz, ASAP Rocky, Drake/Big Sean, Jay Electron’, Tyler, Mac Miller/I got love for you all, but I’m tryna murder you ni**as, Tryna make sure your core fans never heard of you ni**as/They don’t wanna hear not one more noun or verb from you ni**as.”

Rather than dying down, this thing seems to be gaining momentum at warp speed.

Whether you’re a budget-conscious arts lover or just looking to try something new, risk-free, we’ve got you! Opera Theatre of Saint Louis now offers 50 free seats at every performance, no strings attached.

So what are you waiting for? Come be a part of the story! May 25 – June 30

ST. LOUIS AMERICAN • MAY 9 - 15, 2024 C8 MAY 12 Special Mother’s Day Performance PRESENTED BY MARY STRAUSS TICKETS ON SALE NOW Mother’s Day Brunch Purchase a special ticket and enjoy brunch prior to seeing the performance of MOTheR. Featuring music by DJ Lamar Harris and catering by Kay’s Kitchen. Ticket price includes brunch and ticket to the performance. SCAN TO LEARN MORE! | (314) 961-0644 50 FREE SEATS EVERY SHOW

Job opportunities Job opportunities

MAY 9 – 15, 2024

Mary Marlen’s life calling benefits Belleville Memorial Hospital

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Mary Marlen has been a nurse for 16 years, but she’s been caring for people since she was a little girl. Putting cool cloths on her siblings’ foreheads when they had a fever and making soup when her mom wasn’t feeling well have evolved into a fulltime career at Belleville Memorial Hospital.

“I’ve always believed that the healthcare field was my calling,” said Marlen, MSN, registered nurse. “As a nurse I’m able to connect with patients and be a part of making a difference during one of the most vulnerable times of their lives, and no matter how big or small that difference is, it just makes me want to work harder and show up for them.”

Even with the years of schooling and clinicals required to become certified as a nurse, Marlen said it’s her patients who continue to teach her day after day.

“Each patient is so different, with very specific needs, and the way you care for them is based on what’s important to them,” she said. “You can always

do more training or have someone mentor you, but I’ve also realized that a lot of learning comes from the patients and their families. To do this job you have

to have a compassionate heart and the ability to individualize how you deliver that care to a patient. Seeing them happy is a validation that I can

make a difference, even if it’s in a small way.” Marlen’s advice for anyone considering the profession is to understand that nursing is more than

just giving medications and assessing patients.

“It’s taking care of the patient as a whole and everyone on the care team, including the nurses, need to have that in their heart,” she said. “The good thing is, there are so many different types of nursing career paths that it’s important for students to really dive into their clinical experience and explore the different departments in a hospital to see what they enjoy the most, because the opportunities are endless.”

She suggests new nurses work a year or two on a medical-surgical or telemetry floor, where they can expect to receive a very well-rounded foundation in patient care, as well as the experience of being part of a highly efficient and collaborative team.

“That experience prepares you for everything,” she said, “especially since today’s nurses are playing a bigger role on the care team. There’s so much more autonomy in nursing

Mary Marlen, MSN, is a registered nurse at Belleville Memorial Hospital.
st. Louis AmericAn t • in-demAnd cAreers • tips for entrepreneurs • business owners optimistic • in-demAnd cAreers • tips for entrepreneurs • business owners optimistic
Photo courtesy of Belleville Memorial Hospital

For our nurses, a letter of gratitude

I am honored to celebrate another National Nurses Month — my second in the area — with the nurses of greater St. Louis. I continue to stand in awe of the ways in which every one of you provides extraordinary care to the patients in our communities. I am grateful to be part of a community where I witness this daily, as you give your all and provide care for so many people in the most vulnerable of populations.

My lifelong career as a nurse was always more than a job. It’s a calling — a ministry, even. A club where only those inside understand the privilege of belonging. As nurses, we have a burning desire to help people — not only

by caring for them when they’re sick, but also by educating them so they stay well and advocating for them when they need our voices. It’s sharing knowledge in a way that offers inclusivity to all people and gives them a chance to live their lives to the fullest.

I also know that nursing is not an individual contributor type of job. We work in teams. We collaborate — with each other, with myriad other health care professionals, with patients and their families. We are also mentors to those who are new to the profession or considering joining the profession.

BJC HealthCare is a leader in this regard. We create pathways for aspir-

ing nurses through our Patient Care Technician (PCT) Academy, an accelerated patient care technician training program that allows students to help people while receiving training to begin their health care careers. This is only one way in which we encourage people to join the fold of what, in my opinion, is the best career path in health care.

But we do not have to rely on formal programs alone. We all can play a role in creating pathways for new nurses. Take a moment and think about how you show up in your community as the face of

nursing outside of hospitals and doctors’ offices. I want to challenge all nurses to reach out to nursing schools in your community and be a mentor. By showing the nurses of tomorrow the face of a real caregiver today, they will be able to better picture themselves in the same nursing shoes. There is much gratification in helping newer nurses find their way in the profession.

It’s also critical that we support each other. I would encourage all the nurses belonging to professional organizations in St. Louis to pursue collaborations

across the region. Providing education at scale takes the burden off any one organization and makes it easier to hold conferences and bring health care education to our community of health care workers.

Finally, I’d like to offer my thanks. To my fellow seasoned, practicing nurses who tirelessly and selflessly share their knowledge. To nurses just starting out, for choosing a career of service. And for everyone in between who allowed this path to choose them. And I would be remiss if I didn’t also express gratitude to our team members who support all nurses in providing extraordinary care to our patients. And I want to remind you to take care of your-

selves as you take care of everyone else. While the joys of nursing are immensely rewarding, we know that the demands can take a lot out of us emotionally. Self-care is one of the most important ways you can continue to bring your best selves to our patients and your families. I am grateful for this opportunity during Nurses Month to appreciate all you do as caregivers, advocates and educators, and to express my deepest thanks for every single one of you and the work you do tirelessly, every day.

Tommye Austin, PhD, MBA, RN, NEA-BC, Senior Vice President, Chief Nurse Executive, Eastern Region BJC Health System

Why financial planning is a great career option for women

(StatePoint) Financial planning was once thought of as a male-dominated industry, but that’s quickly changing. The number of women getting their CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ certification is growing year over year — and for good reason: The benefits of entering this field as a woman are numerous. Below are a few to consider.

• It’s lucrative. Financial planners are in high demand and are well-compensated for their expertise. A financial advisor can pull in a generous salary right out of the gate, and earning the right credentials can boost compensation significantly. The median income for those with CFP® certification and less than 5 years of experience is $100,000 — and that median figure grows to $206,000 with 10

or more years of experience. In general, financial advisors with CFP® certification earn 12% more than those without.

• Being a CFP® professional offers good work-life balance. With the potential to work remotely and create one’s own schedule, financial planning is a career path well-suited to those looking for flexibility and a desirable work-life balance.

• Financial planning can be personally fulfilling. Providing competent, ethical financial advice that helps others achieve their life goals — from sending their children to college to securing a comfortable retirement — can be extremely gratifying.

Research also finds that female CFP® professionals have a unique

dedication to providing holistic financial planning. Working as a financial planner provides opportunities to uplift and empower other women, as well as members of groups

historically given fewer opportunities to accumulate wealth.

• Women who aspire to become CFP® professionals will find support

in many places. CFP Board, for example, has implemented initiatives to recruit women and advance their careers.

Some firms subsidize

the cost of CFP® certification and give employees time away from work to study for the CFP® exam. Additionally, women’s networks and business councils can help build leadership skills and professional confidence, and many firms are even paying their employees’ membership fees.

CFP Board also administers scholarships for individuals underrepresented in the field, along with a mentoring program.

To learn more and get started today on your path to becoming a CFP® professional, visit

With demand for personal financial advisors expected to grow significantly in the coming years, and the industry making way for more women professionals, it’s worth exploring this rewarding career path.

ST. LOUIS AMERICAN • MAY 9 – 15, 2024 D2
Tommye Austin Photo courtesy of Getty Images
ST. LOUIS AMERICAN • MAY 9 – 15, 2024 D3

In-demand careers every new college grad should know about

(StatePoint) So you’ve recently graduated college. The summer ahead is the perfect time to consider a career as a financial planner. At a time when new research reveals that more than half of fouryear college graduates are underemployed a year after they graduate, the financial planning industry is booming.

To give yourself a competitive edge when you’re just starting out, consider earning your CFP® certification. CFP® certification is the standard in financial planning and paves the way for an exceptional career.

Here’s what you need to know about a career as a financial advisor with CFP® certification, also known as a CFP® professional:

• You can gain financial stability: When you’re young, it’s important to pay down any student debt and begin saving for the future as early as possible. That’s difficult to do in industries with low starting wages. While financial planning salaries vary, you can expect to earn $5070K as a starting point. And there’s a lot of room for growth — experienced financial advisors earn $192,000 on average.

• You’ll enjoy job security: Many industries are experiencing widespread layoffs and instability, but financial planning is a career path offering job security and growth. In fact, the Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that the demand for financial advi-

sors will grow quickly, at a rate of 13% through 2032.

• You’ll use a wide range of skills: Financial planning isn’t just numbers and math. The job requires great communication skills and a high level of emotional intelligence to guide clients through the psychology behind their money management.

• You can forge your own path: Financial advising is not a one-size-fitsall career path. You can choose to specialize in a particular area of finance

or take a holistic approach to your clients’ needs. Where you work is also up to you — you might work at a nationally known financial services firm, a small local firm or even a bank or credit union. Because of the commitment to professional

excellence and high ethical standards it demonstrates, gaining your CFP® certification will unlock even more career opportunities. Many CFP® professionals even start their own business early in their careers.

• You’ll be helping oth-

ers: CFP® professionals build trusted relationships with their clients, helping people achieve their life goals, whether that’s buying a home, paying for their children’s college educations or preparing for retirement.

• You can design your own schedule: After four years of scheduling classes to suit your needs, the idea of rigid working hours may not be appealing. Fortunately, financial advising can come with scheduling flexibility and a good work-life balance.

• You’ll find support along the way: As you work toward CFP® certification, you’ll have many opportunities for ongoing support. An online candidate forum offers opportunities to connect with others on their path to certification. Other resources include a progress tracker, exam preparation tools, financial aid and three mentorship cycles a year that align with the exams offered. Additionally, the CFP Board’s Career Center can help you find your footing after you get certified.

For more information about becoming a financial planner, visit

As you spend the summer months looking back on and celebrating all your hard work over the last four years, don’t forget to make an investment in your future. Pursuing CFP® certification can lead to a rewarding, profitable career as a financial planner.

ST. LOUIS AMERICAN • MAY 9 – 15, 2024 D4
Photo courtesy of Getty Images

Three tips to help entrepreneurs stay on track

(StatePoint) May is National Small Business Month, an annual opportunity to support the hard work of small business owners. The backbone of the nation’s economy, small businesses employ 45.9% of the entire U.S. workforce and make up 99.9% of all U.S. businesses, according to the U.S. Small Business Administration. Unfortunately, some small businesses don’t have much in the way of resources, and often struggle to keep their doors open and their cash reserves in the black. Sometimes though, the difference between suc-

cess and failure is capital, marketing and support. A reliable provider of essential small business services for more than 40 years, The UPS Store can help enable entrepreneurs to actualize their big ideas into success. It’s also the nation’s largest franchise system of retail shipping, postal, print and business service centers, meaning that many local store operators are small business owners themselves. In honor of National Small Business Month, the brand is offering entrepreneurs these three tips:

1. Be top of mind: Maintain a dialogue with

your community and customers. Regularly refresh your social media channels with new content, maintain an e-newsletter, and of course, don’t neglect traditional promotion. Save time by visiting a one-stop shop that can help you design, print and mail your marketing materials.

2. Protect yourself: Data theft is more common than ever as new threats emerge all the time. The Federal Trade Commission offers businesses free resources for improving their cybersecurity awareness. And when it’s time to dispose of physical documents,

be sure to use a trusted solution. You can securely shred unneeded business documents at The UPS Store locations nationwide.

3. Get inspired: Need some inspiration? Look no further than the Small Biz Challenge. This three-phase competition from The UPS Store and Inc. Business Media is a search for the country’s most unstoppable small business owners. Among nearly 6,000 entrants, nine semifinalists were chosen, then paired with a mentor to guide them through the competition. Stemming from a wide variety of skill sets and backgrounds,

the mentors include professional life coaches, brilliant business owners, podcast hosts, creative directors, and bestselling authors. During National Small Business Month, three of the semifinalists will be chosen to compete live in Miami, Florida for a share of the grand prize of up to $35,000 and a feature in “Inc.”

“Each year, this competition presents exhilarating and interactive ways to support and showcase small business owners and entrepreneurs from across the nation,” said Michelle Van Slyke, senior vice president of marketing and sales at The UPS Store,

Inc. “This year’s competition returns even bigger and better to help small business owners grow and hone their skill set and therefore find customized solutions to complex challenges.”

To learn more about the Small Biz Challenge competitors and to cast your vote for this year’s semifinalists, visit theupsstore. com/smallbizchallenge. Being a small business owner within an ever-changing landscape can feel intimidating. But with support and local resources, entrepreneurs can turn their vision into a reality.

ST. LOUIS AMERICAN • MAY 9 – 15, 2024 D5
Photo courtesy of Getty Images

Looking for a new career? Become a financial planner

(StatePoint) Becoming a financial planner offers both financial rewards and the chance to help others. Whether you’re a recent graduate exploring your career path or a midcareer professional seeking change, this growing profession may be the right fit for you.

As more Americans recognize the value of partnering with a professional to chart their financial course, the demand for financial advisors is projected to grow by 13% through 2032, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Earning the right credentials, like the Certified Financial Planner certification, can lead to a higher salary, increased job satisfaction and happier clients.

The certification process

The CFP certification program generally takes 18 to 24 months to complete, depending on your time commitment, professional experience and educational background. The process involves completing coursework, passing an exam, accumulating experience and meeting ethics requirements. These rigorous standards make the process challenging. However, during the certification journey, you won’t be alone. CFP Board provides a variety of tools and resources to support your progress, including scholarships, an online forum that allows

you to connect with peers and mentors, and a Career Center, where you can discover internships and jobs.

Benefits of certification

While most financial planners can expect to

pull in a high salary, CFP certification can boost your income by 12%, according to the College for Financial Planning. It can also fast-track your career, enhance your job prospects and help you build a client roster. As a CFP professional, you’ll bring a wealth of education and experience to the table, along with a commitment to CFP Board to act as a fiduciary for your clients. Clients can rest easy knowing you have agreed to put their best interests first.

More than 10,000 firms across the United States employ CFP professionals because they know that the certification inspires trust, confidence and satisfaction with consumers. In fact, 84% of consumers

who work with a CFP professional say they are extremely or very satisfied. Beyond greater job security and income, becoming a CFP professional brings other benefits, including continuing professional development, the flexibility to balance your personal and professional life, and opportunities to give back to the community by providing pro bono services.

For all the reasons above, it’s no surprise that the majority of CFP professionals are happy with the career moves that led them to where they are today. An astounding 93% of CFP professionals say they are very satisfied with their decision to pursue CFP certification,

with most reporting that certification has directly contributed to their success and given them a competitive edge.

Next steps

To get started on your new career today, visit, where you can download a free guide to learn more about your next steps, whether you’re an established advisor seeking a competitive edge, a careerchanger or student still exploring your options.

If helping people create stable financial futures sounds appealing to you, explore a career as a financial planner and find out for yourself about the many benefits the right certification can bring.

ST. LOUIS AMERICAN • MAY 9 – 15, 2024 D6

Business owners are optimistic as economic conditions improve

(StatePoint) What a difference a year makes. New research finds that small- and mid-sized business owners are increasingly optimistic about economic conditions and the prospects for their own businesses.

According to PNC’s Spring 2024 Economic Outlook Survey, nearly 80% of business owners surveyed feel optimistic about conditions for their business over the next six months -- up from 60% a year ago.

This optimism likely stems from an improving outlook for the economy as a whole as inflation pressures and recession fears appear to be easing. A majority of those surveyed (55%) said they are highly optimistic about the national economy -- a dramatic increase from the 26% who felt that way in the spring of 2023. Even more (63%) said they are highly optimistic about their local economy -more than double the reading from a year ago.

The uptick in optimism for the economy mirrors PNC’s revised outlook for 2024, which shifts away from a predicted recession to a forecast of slow growth. PNC chief economist Gus Faucher said he expects the Federal Reserve will begin cutting interest rates later this year as inflation continues to ease.

“Business owners continue to feel confident that good days are ahead,” Faucher said. “This time around though, the economy is seen as a supporting factor to that optimism instead of a limitation.”

Calming inflation

Easing inflation pres-

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today, with physicians and patients having more respect with regard to what we do.”

Marlen welcomes the increased workload and responsibilities, though. She currently manages more than 80 nurses spread between two floors of the hospital, yet still manages to visit patients and their families every day.

“We are a very patient-centric hospital, and the care teams here are

sures are among the biggest factors reported in the survey. Last spring, 55% of respondents reported that they expected to raise prices in the ensuing six months -- that dropped to 47% this round. Similarly, 40% expect prices from suppliers to increase over the next six months, that’s down from 47% last spring.

Inflation overall has been gradually easing since a mid-2022 high of 9% -- its highest level since the 1980s. By January 2024, inflation

extremely loyal and selfless,” she said. “I am energized by them every day. They are my family.”

And speaking of family, Marlen’s gift of caring has had a powerful influence even beyond the workplace. Her daughter Paula became a nurse four years ago and works in the hospital’s intensive care unit. Their paths cross occasionally.

“I think she saw how happy I was in this career and decided that it was for her,” Marlen said.

“Nursing can be stressful at times, but it’s the reward of the profession that makes the difference.

was reported at 3.1%, with continued easing projected in the months ahead. Still, inflation remains above its pre-pandemic pace and Faucher says more progress is needed before the Fed likely cuts rates later in 2024.

“We’ve come a long way from 2022, as supply chain issues driven by the pandemic have largely dissipated,” Faucher said. “But more progress will probably be necessary before we can expect the Fed to start easing rates.”

And I couldn’t have chosen a better path.”

Belleville Memorial, part of BJC HealthCare, is a 222-bed acute care hospital that provides emergency and critical care services, as well as a full complement of diagnostic and treatment services. Also located on the Belleville campus, the Orthopedic and Neurosciences Center offers a comprehensive rehab program that includes physical, occupational, speech and hand therapy. For more information, please visit

Labor challenges easing One such challenge has been the tight labor

market, which has made hiring difficult for business leaders. Consistent with PNC’s Fall 2023 survey, respondents say the lack of

overall applicants remains their primary hiring issue. Respondents cite lack of experience (22%) and high salary/benefit and flexibility requirements (9%) as other barriers.

The nationwide unemployment rate for January 2024 was 3.7% -- below what is considered “full employment” in the U.S. economy. Faucher said he expects the shortage of available labor to ease as consumer demand softens and the effect of slower job growth across the economy becomes more visible.

Despite the trend across the broader U.S. landscape, few survey respondents anticipate workforce reductions over the next six months. Only 4% report anticipating a reduction, while 74% expect no change to their workforce numbers and 21% project an increase in their workforce over the next half of the year.

“Employers have been under pressure despite the improving conditions because the economy has been at or near full employment for an extended period,” Faucher said. “We expect some slack in the labor market in the coming months, which will likely further ease inflation.”

ST. LOUIS AMERICAN • MAY 9 – 15, 2024 D7
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ST. LOUIS AMERICAN • MAY 9 – 15, 2024 D8

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