Each speaker was asked to speak to two questions: What are the three most important issues facing the United States now and why do you think so? And, What are three actions we can take in the short term to address these issues?
Miller-Hoffman spoke candidly about the racial inequities in the St. Louis region and how important it is to understand and support the Black Lives Matter movement. She expressed urgent needs for better training for Police Officers in de-escalation tactics, bias recognition and management, and community training. She also spoke emphatically about the economic damage that the city/county divide creates and how much it actually costs to maintain 90 municipalities and 60 police departments.
Maxwell focused on the high cost of education. He pointed out that the United Sates in the mid-20th century created the model of low cost high quality higher education that became the envy of the world. Now, since higher education has become a “for profit commodity,” quality has become questionable and costs exorbitant forcing students to incur unconscionable debt.
See expounded eloquently on the foundational social justice issues that that have created the social problems and conflicts we face today as a community and country. See emphasized that first steps to solving these problems include the Power of Encounter — meeting and knowing people who aren’t like ourselves and who live different realities; changing the rhetoric of conversation from a politics-based one to one of solving common problems together, and, finally, teaching one another how to change someone else’s life for the better.
All three speakers emphasized the need for each one of us in the room to consider running for political office, work to register people to vote, and to stay informed and active through support of candidates, participating in political clubs and issues groups, and supporting the state Democratic Party.
The content of the meeting was exceptional. The three young speakers were passionate, eloquent and poised. The audience was engaged and appreciative.
Submitted by Mark Kumming, WCD Member
For an update on Naomi See, who received the Congressional Silver Medal for volunteer and community service: Click here