28 Days Left of Session

A month and a half is left of the 2018 session but there’s plenty left on the calendar.  The budget has to get finished in the Senate before heading to the governor and there’s plenty of upcoming floor debate on an assortment of bills.

I had one little blip this past month I was not expecting.

On Friday March 2nd with a busy day of meetings in the district, I managed to do the splits on my kitchen floor while unloading the dishwasher.  I last remember doing the splits on purpose in 6th grade on a balance beam off the ground. That time I think there was applause in a school gymnastic show. Four years ago I did the splits in Jesse Hall at Mizzou enroute to a meeting with the Chancellor.

That time I ended up with a broken right hip.  This time I ended up with a broken left pelvis.

Four days later I made my second ER trip, this time in an ambulance to Barnes-Jewish Hospital where I learned I had also dislocated my left leg.  The next thing I knew I was being prepped for hip replacement surgery after the leg traction idea was scrubbed – the only good way to fix the results of my novice  acrobatics.

Fast forward four weeks. 

My focus now is physical therapy, trying to have patience and not breaking precautions or risk re-injury (I can’t bend at the waist more than 90 degrees for some weeks to come).  Daughter Sophie spent her Kansas City middle school break nursing me back to life at home – a wonderful precious lifesaver!

It is frustrating to pay attention remotely to committee and floor activity but my legislative assistant Adam Speak, MSW has been excellent in keeping me up to speed.  I am not able to vote on bills outside of the Capitol but I am keeping track of legislation.

I am hoping to be back in the saddle mid-April with my new bionics, depending on what my doctors decide.  But until they pry my laptop from my hands on the couch, I’m still in action, sort of.

Let’s hope and pray doing the splits are a thing of my past.  I have run out of hips!

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NATIONAL STUDENT WALKOUT TO END GUN VIOLENCE

I was thrilled to watch the coverage of local students participating in the National Student Walkout Day on March 14th, lasting for 17 minutes to commemorate those who were killed at Stoneman Douglas High School. The walkouts started at 10am local time throughout the country, happening in four different time zones.

I was estatic to see Clayton High School students prominently featured on MSNBC coverage all day —the same students who have been studying gun violence for over a year and held their own press event last month.

See local coverage –  ST LOUIS STUDENTS TAKE PART IN NATIONAL WALKOUT AFTER FLORIDA SCHOOL SHOOTING

I also share my friend Maren Loe’s sentiment (as a Washington University Medical School student):

I could not be prouder of ALL the St. Louis students – from Saul Mirowitz Jewish Community School, Cardinal Ritter Prep, Hazelwood West, Grand Arts Academy, Clayton High School and Washington University  —and so many more who are sick and tired of gun violence and have decided to yell until we hear them.

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YES, WE ADULTS HAVE FAILED OUR KIDS

Like many of you, I feel guilty in my 18 years of gun violence prevention advocacy… that we have failed our kids.

My own daughter, then a 6 year old appearing on national television in 2000  talking about her fear of guns at school, is now a middle school counselor —still in the line of fire and now responsible for keeping her students safe.

My recent St. Louis Post-Dispatch op-ed here:

GROWNUPS HAVE FAILED OUR KIDS ON GUN LEGISLATION

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MARCH FOR OUR LIVES

I wasn’t able to march on March 24th which made me very sad after all of my years in the trenches against gun violence.

Millions of people marched in Washington D. C. and in over 800 sibling marches throughout the world, including thousands in St. Louis and 7 other cities across Missouri.

Even though I wanted badly to participate and tried hard to figure out how, it was enormously gratifying to watch the entire televised program of the student-led rally in D.C.  If you have NOT watched any of the student speeches, I highly recommend it.

The day before, Washington University students held a pre-march rally on the Danforth Campus with Chancellor Wrighton and his wife, Risa Zwerling – I was honored to play a small part in my first real event out of the house.  And absolutely thrilled to meet Dr. Laurie Punch, trauma surgeon at Barnes-Jewish who deals with too much gun violence in her every day job.

SO NOW WHAT DO WE ADULTS DO?

With today an election day in many municipalities in Missouri AND several gun lobby bills ready to hit the state House Calendar ANY DAY NOW, I can’t stop thinking about what needs to happen next.

And many of you keep asking —-what can we do?

I feel like a broken record. 

Most public policy in Missouri is decided actually on Election Day.  Every candidate running as a GOP or already in the legislature in the GOP caucus, votes for gun lobby bills.  You can count on it —or better yet, read for yourself the votes on the bills (www.house.mo.gov).

And don’t forget —we have a governor who will sign ANY gun lobby bill that hits his desk, regardless of who will be in danger.

So I am going to keep after you to remember the kids.

Remember gun violence victims. 

You want to stop these horrendous senseless shootings from happening in your neighborhood or school or workplace or theatre or…?

My latest op-ed in the JEWISH LIGHT last week spells it out: FOUR STEPS TOWARD ENDING GUN VIOLENCE

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LAST WEEK I MISSED THE ANNUAL MIROWITZ KIDS VISIT

Every year I treasure the Capitol visits from Saul Mirowitz Jewish Community School 4th graders.  Not only do I visit their classroom BEFORE their trip to Jefferson City, they are the MOST informed visitors ever.  Each student comes as an activist, lobbying their individual legislators on legislation they care about.

Sadly this year I wasn’t able to be in the Capitol when they came last week.

However, my assistant Adam saved the day with constituents Jenna Wasserman and Jacob Genin!

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ONE MORE EVENT YOU DON’T WANT TO MISS

Recently I was asked to be part of Bullets into Bells, a published collection of writings from poets & citizens responding to gun violence.

With a foreword by Gabby Giffords and her husband, Mark Kelly, the collection includes poems by national best-known poets, each followed by a response from a gun violence prevention activist or survivor.

The collection is edited by my good friend and professor, Brian Clements, whose wife Abbey huddled in a classroom with her 2nd graders at Sandy Hook Elementary School, the next classroom over from those massacred. Brian, Abbey and their college daughter Sarah have each become serious gun violence activists —-so the rest of us shouldn’t have to know the horrors they witnessed in their town.

JOIN ME WHEN BULLETS INTO BELLS COMES TO ST. LOUIS

A poetry reading and panel conversation with local poets – Dana Levin, Aaron Coleman, Mary Jo Bang, Cheeraz Gorman along wtih book editor Brian Clements

Including Dr. Laurie Punch, trauma surgeon at Barnes-Jewish and myself

SATURDAY APRIL 14TH – 7pm

THE STAGE AT KDHX, 3524 Washington Avenue, St. Louis

FREE – NO TICKETS REQUIRED

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