Highlights from the 24:1 Virtual Community Conference
Watch the Featured Speakers, Panels, and Awards
A roadmap for the future: the 24:1 Community Vision Report
- Asking what matters most
- Aligning the priorities
- Framing action
The 24:1 Virtual Community Conference on Sept. 25 was packed with progress toward residents’ priorities.
Often the day-to-day work happens quietly, in the background, until a major event like the grand opening of Carter Commons in Pagedale. That’s why the Beyond Housing staff puts together this conference as an annual review of action and ideas.
Here are some highlights from the panels and speakers. You can also read a quick summary of ongoing projects in these five priority areas: community unity, economic opportunity, neighborhood safety, community vibrancy, and youth achievement.
U.S. Congresswoman Cori Bush calling for a comprehensive approach
“I encourage everyone to see how interconnected these issues are,” said U.S. Congresswoman Cori Bush, who represents Missouri’s 1st Congressional District. “If our businesses cannot thrive and in turn provide the community with living wages, most people can’t afford to become homeowners. If the rates of homeownership go down and property values decline, it’s our neighborhoods that will be abandoned and our schools that will be systematically defunded.”
Missouri State Sen. Brian Williams on public safety and voting rights
Missouri Senate Bill 60—signed into law by the governor in late August—increases the accountability of public safety agencies. It prohibits chokeholds, establishes a program for officers coping with stress and psychological trauma, helps those who have been wrongfully convicted, and prevents officers from moving from department to department to escape accountability for wrongdoing on the job.
Its sponsor, State Sen. Brian Williams, represents parts of North St. Louis County, including the 24:1 Community. He’s pushing for support of a related measure, Senate Bill 53. “It would provide more reforms that would make a real difference statewide,” Williams said. “In a perfect world, we would have a majority party that would be wiling to go further. But I won’t let a long journey stop me from taking the first step.”
24:1 Community Vision update on projects and priorities
“Our job is to keep moving forward successfully on each of the five priority areas,” said Beyond Housing President and CEO Chris Krehmeyer. “To do that, we constantly monitor our active initiatives and programs and our additional proposed solutions to make sure they align with what you’ve told us.”
Trailblazer Awards to changemakers in our community
These new awards honor people whose actions are making a difference in the 24:1 Community. Each of the recipients this year has an inspiring message for 24:1 residents. They include:
- Farrakhan Shegog in the category of Economic Opportunity as a community activist, mentor, creative innovator, and coalition builder in Wellston.
- Councilwoman Rita Heard Days in the category of Community Unity as a groundbreaking public servant, advocate for voting rights, and dedicated supporter of local communities within St. Louis County.
- Chief John Buchannan of the North County Police Cooperative in the category of Neighborhood Safety for demonstrating that the community and law enforcement both play a critical role in preventing and reducing crime.
- Duane Foster in the category of Youth Achievement as an exemplary performing artist, teacher, educational leader, and creator of pathways for artistic and academic excellence in Normandy schools.
- Sheila Williams in the category of Exemplary Community Commitment in honor of her career as an educator and for being a dynamic pillar of support for young people.
Addressing vacant properties with a new strategy: a land bank
In the past, redevelopment often removed property and removed power from the properties who needed it the most. “We need a system that gets these properties back into productive use,” said attorney Rachel Waterman from the Neighborhood Vacancy Initiative at Legal Services of Eastern Missouri.
“Land banking is meant to return control to the community over the problem of vacant properties,” she continued. “It is more transparent and more accountable.” Here’s an explanation of how a land bank would benefit St. Louis County.