Racism in Police Department in Plain View
It was bad enough that the St. Louis Police Department was exposed in the investigative work of the Plain View Project (PVP). The probe looked at
Facebook posts of eight police jurisdictions of varying sizes and geographic areas. Recently, the SLPD doubled down when the police union asked
its mainly white members to use the image of the comic book character to their social media accounts. The chosen character? The Punisher.

The Punisher is a violent, vigilante character. Many in the African American community believe the character doesn’t just live in a comic book. They
believe those traits are real in the cops that confront them on the streets in St. Louis.

The Plain View Project used an algorithm to search through thousands of social media rants by past and current police officers. The hatred and
bigotry against Black folks, women, Muslims and the LGBTQ community were unapologetic.

Before and since the murder of Mike Brown and the Ferguson Uprising, the St. Louis Police Department has been exposed from the inside and out.
The exposes have affirmed for some citizens, and bolstered beliefs in others, that the department is racist, incompetent, corrupt and undeserving of
public trust.

The Naked
by Jamala Rogers
In my home state of Missouri, we cannot rely on the good graces of the
Republican governor nor the stacked state and federal courts to look out for
us. That’s why a progressive coalition took matters into its own hands and
presented a ballot initiative to voters last November to address redistricting,
campaign finance and political lobbying. Amendment 1, also known as
Clean Missouri, was overwhelmingly passed by voters across the state. I’m
proud of my leadership in this endeavor to clean up political corruption that
blocks participation in this democracy.

Before the passage of Amendment 1, Missouri was one of a handful of
states whose redistricting map was done by a commission of equally-
appointed Republican and Democrats. The map had to be approved by 70
percent of the commission members.

Under the new scenario, the redistricting map is in the hands of a state
demographer whose selection process and qualifications were carefully
crafted to minimize any political shenanigans.  The district maps must follow
a list of strict criteria spelled out in the constitutional amendment designed
to create districts based on “partisan fairness and competitiveness.”

Any changes would still have to be approved by 70 percent of the
commissioners, but it must also adhere to the Amendment 1’s criteria for
fair redistricting — rooted in the language and spirit of the national Voting
Rights Act.

Our intent was to take district mapping out of the hands of politicians and put
the responsibility on an independent cartographer. Our fight will be making
sure the law is followed as the primary way to guarantee fairer voting
districts and reduce gerrymandering.

States like Wisconsin and Missouri will be test grounds for how we
approach the census and redistricting. Given the political terrain in both
states, defenders of democracy have a big fight on our hands. It’s a fight we
must organize to win.