Monday, April 11, 2011

Birthday Wish: Raising Money for JwJ and ForwardSTL

Last year for my birthday, I raised $942 from 34 people for the amazing organization Missouri Jobs with Justice. My fundraising was in part a response to the intense media coverage provided to the tea party's anti-transit campaign despite the fact that the campaign only ever had 25 people at a rally and could only raise $750 for their cause .

This year, I'm doing something a little different, but related. First, I am again raising money for Missouri JwJ, because I still believe them to be the most effective group at strategically working for change that protects and improves the lives of working families. Here's what I wrote about them last year:
First of all, Missouri Jobs with Justice is an amazing group. They do not just fight against symptoms, but work to address the structural problems that lead to economic injustice in our society. They led the effort to raise the Missouri minimum wage back in 2006 and have defended it from right-wing attack in the state legislature every year since. They stopped Ward Connerly from even being able to get enough signatures to get an anti-Affirmative Action initiative on the ballot. They helped coordinate the Missouri push for health care reform. And they've trained thousands of people to organize for social change. Any money that goes to Missouri JwJ will be used strategically and thoughtfully to fight for a more just society.
This past year, JwJ played a crucial role in educating voters in St. Louis and Kansas City about the importance of the Earnings Tax and the disastrous consequences of eliminating it. They have also been working hard to protect the minimum wage, to protect workers' right to organize, and to fight against plans to put in place tax structures that primarily punish the poor and middle class while lowering taxes on the wealthy.

However, in addition to raising money for JwJ, I am also raising money this year to pay for facebook advertising costs for a new venture, ForwardSTL was created by local bloggers based on the idea that our local media does not give enough of a voice to progressives, activists, and people who are interested in using new approaches to move the region forward. The site serves as a vehicle for highlighting interesting news and analysis not only from mainstream media sources, but also from citizens who write about their own experiences with activism, who share their analyses of politics, or who take video and photos of local events. In short, it's a way of building up our own citizen's media that will help to give a voice to perspectives that are not adequately covered in the traditional media. It is not competition against the local media, but rather a way of filling the holes in the coverage (such as, for example, the fact that many in the local media ignored a 4,300 person pro-union rally several weeks ago). And, I think you will find, it is something that is available to benefit any local social justice organization or any activist, as the site is specifically designed to share the content that you create!

Anyway, I hope my friends and fellow fighters of the good fight can help pitch in to two endeavors that I believe can fundamentally change the St. Louis region for the better by clicking the donate button. The ability to effectively organize and the ability to effectively communicate are two necessary components of any movement designed to facilitate positive change. We have all of the talent, energy, and experience we need to make St. Louis better: we just need to do it.

Thank you for your consideration,


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