“Hold fast to dreams, for if dreams die, life is a broken winged bird that cannot fly.”
Adolphus M. Pruitt, II
A Message From The President
Welcome to the web site of the St. Louis NAACP A few years ago, the St. Louis City NAACP celebrated its Centennial Anniversary. In the mist of all the glory and splendor, the room had a signiicant void - most of our membership could not afford to attend. We have not done a similar event since. It speaks volume to what we may have become, if the average person of color can’t afford to attend a celebration of the mission and accomplishments of the National Association for the Advancement for Colored People.
As a Branch, we saw it to redirect such expenditures to “Raising the Bar” through collaborative-partnerships that are strategically effective and measurable. “Raising the Bar,” is a common expression for “raising the level, quality, expectation, or standards.” Within that context, our focus for the past couple of years has primarily consisted of creating “Pathways” that level the playing field by providing access to resources, training, job opportunities and capacity building, our intellectual property and relationships.
As pressures on underserved populations and community organizations increase and the issues we face become more complex, the idea of collaborative partnerships can hold much promise. Through collaborative partnerships we have contributed our small part and the underserved populations are reaping the benefits of everyone’s effort; we have accelerated learning and distribute skills and knowledge; and, we have added depth and breadth to our community impact.
It is truly an exciting time for education in this region. Our partnership with the St. Louis Public Schools has positivity impacted everything from Early Childhood Education to Technology Improvements to Teacher Mentoring and Training. And our Digital Pathway Initiative will help transform our current Industrial Age learning systems to Information Age learning systems that are much more customized to the unique needs of individual children,providing all students greater access to content, resources and support. The Digital Pathway Initiative will also provide for transformation to take place not only at the classroom level, but also in recreational centers and homes. Working with our partners SLATE, Blue 1647, and AireFiber, we are on the verge of providing free central access to the information highway to meet the needs of underserved students and their households.
As the region continues to march forward towards transformation to an Innovation Hub, in order to achieve this needed transformation and provide equity for all, our partnerships with SLATE, BIOSTL, Cortex, St. Louis Community College, and LaunchCode are moving technology from the sidelines of the Working in Partnership: Raising the Bar African-American community to center stage, not only as the focus of teaching and learning but also as an essential tool for creating the environments of success we earnestly need for African-American Entrepreneurship.
Developing performance-based policies, metrics and the systems to collect data that work in concert with one another are still very new with respect to minority participation in both private and publicly incentivized projects. These systems have improved through our partnerships with SLATE, BJC, Cortex, and Great Rivers Greenway, especially as our partners have become comfortable with transparency and the use of technology. Participation results have increased and permanent job obtainment has skyrocketed with respect for incentivized projects such as Ballpark Village and IKEA. Our policy advocacy at the State level with the Missouri Housing Development Agency and the Missouri Finance Development Board has also produced millions of dollars for minority businesses in the form of greater participation and with minority entrepreneurship creation via a mentor protégée relationship.
Maintaining momentum strategically is crucial to securing prosperity through both public and private sector growth and positioning minority workers and minority businesses for long-term success in the global economy. To deliver this change going forward, business and government must focus on implementation to ensure words are translated into practical action. A prime example would be our partnership with Stifel which has resulted in a new wave of innovation to capitalize minority businesses in contracting via a $10-million loan fund. With respect to consumers, our work with Stifel and St. Louis Community Credit Union will have an enormous potential for providing underserved communities affordable products and services at the new Gateway Branch and the Credit Union’s creation of a Wealth Accumulation Center.
From protecting voting rights, to exposing police abuse and political corruption, our partnerships with the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), the
NAACP Legal Defense Fund (LDF), the Ethical Society of Police, and the St. Louis Circuit Attorney’s Ofice has worked to address systematic racial discrimination, change and enhance the criminal justice system, and increase African-American representation in local government. Simply put, governments, especially the justice system sector, need to be better, fairer, and more diverse, which will require innovation that breaks the mold of most components of governments today in the St. Louis Region.
ST. LOUIS CITY BRANCH NAACP
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