Archive for October, 2012

Where Will You Vote?

Picture: I voted

Not sure where to vote on Election Day? Look up your polling place:

Missouri Residents:

Kansas Residents:

Remember your voter identification! Missouri and Kansas have different laws about what is required to vote. Learn about Missouri and Kansas Voter ID Laws here.


9 Ways to Promote the Vote on Social Media


To have a powerful voice in the political process and the future of our communities, we must vote and encourage all of our family members, friends, and fellow congregants to also cast their ballots.

Studies show that online social pressure can actually boost turnout, so we are taking our message viral. We need your help to spread the word on about the importance of voting.

Here are 9 things you can do to Get Out the Vote (GOTV):

  1. Use the hashtag #VoteKC to Promote the Vote on Twitter and Instagram
  2. Promote the Vote in your personal Facebook status
  3. Join the Facebook event “I am voting in the 2012 Election” and invite your friends to the event.
  4. Tweet or post: “I am voting in the 2012 Election.”
  5. Share pictures of your “I voted” sticker and other voting moments on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram
  6. Follow @KansasCityCCO on Twitter and retweet GOTV posts
  7. “Like” Communities Creating Opportunity (CCO) on Facebook and share GOTV posts with your friends and on your Congregational Pages and Groups
  8. Share the Communities Creating Opportunity (CCO) Facebook Page to your Friends’ timelines with a note asking them to like the page
  9. Read, comment on, and share GOTV posts on the Communities Creating Opportunity Blog

Picture: Farrah UdellFarrah Udell is the Social Media Coordinator at Communities Creating Opportunity. Farrah is a Rosh Hodesh: It’s a Girl Thing! group facilitator at the Jewish Federation of Greater Kansas City and volunteers with Jackson County CASA. Farrah graduated from Washington University in St. Louis with a Masters in Social Work. Follow Farrah on Twitter @farrahudell

What Happened to This Place?

Last week, I joined a partner to get out the vote by going door-to-door. We knocked on over 120 doors and talked with about 30 people in the Wendell Phillips and Key Coalition neighborhoods of Kansas City, MO. We dropped door knockers on every home, reminded folks about the election date, told them their voice matters even if their neighborhoods sometimes get treated like the gum on the bottom of someone’s shoe.

Our route was bound by the historic 27th street boundary on the north (a line of demarcation African Americans once couldn’t cross after 6:00 p.m.) and Bruce R. Watkins Drive on the west (a highway that swiftly cut the east side down its belly while decimating its central shopping corridors). Passed busted out windows, lots strewn with garbage. Dead cats in the gutters, roofs and porches caving like a natural disaster hit and FEMA never showed up.

I’ve gutted homes in New Orleans’ Lower Ninth. Rebuilt walls in Greensboro. And I still find myself gobsmacked, on a regular and recurring basis, by the devastation in my own hometown. We’ve got more homes uninhabitable than inhabited on some of our blocks. Kids playing the rubble of half torn down houses with eyes aged like old people. Porch lights nobody ever turns on.

We grew up close enough to that route to know the answer ourselves, but still couldn’t help but ask, “What happened to this place?” Sometimes asking the questions we know the answers to is the only way to really and truly take responsibility for them. What happened to this place? Redlining. Blockbusting. Riots. A desegregation order with impacts so reeling, it made us all realize just how much we have run from living with each other. Joblessness. Predatory lenders. Foreclosures. Schools built like prisons and children six grade levels behind. A whole city heaving a sigh and slowly turning its back.

This is our home. These are the kinds of neighborhoods we were created to empower. The kinds of neighborhoods that made me so angry I first turned from this city and then turned to this work. And if we don’t even know these neighborhoods — don’t walk their streets and knock their doors — we aren’t deep enough in the roots of our home to do anything about fixing them.

We have 12 days until the election, and a lot of people have been left behind — a lot of doors to knock. A lot of voters whose voices are so often ignored, they’ve given up on practicing their democracy. I’m hitting the doors every chance I can, every hour I’m not in a one-to-one and every night I’m not on the phones. I’m hitting the doors before the election to get out the vote so that I can hit the doors after the election and say, “Let’s use that power to do something about this rubble all around you.”

Picture: Molly Fleming-PierreMolly Fleming-Pierre is the Communities Creating Opportunity Policy Director, leading the Economic Dignity Campaign to Cap the Rate on predatory payday loans and Raise the Wage for Missouri’s lowest-paid workers. Through the coordination of 150 congregations from Joplin to St. Joseph to Columbia, Molly is supporting Missouri Faith Voices’ campaign to engage over 30,000 Faith Voices voters for Economic Dignity. Follow Molly on Twitter @CCOmolly

Remember Your Voter ID!

Missouri and Kansas have different laws about what type of voter identification is required to vote. Prepare to vote now so you’ll be ready on November 6th.


No photo ID required. You can use any of the following that shows you reside at your current voting address:

  • ID issued by the Federal Government, state of Missouri, or a local election authority
  • ID issued by a Missouri institution (public or private) of higher education, including a university, college, vocational and technical school
  • A copy of a current utility bill, bank statement, paycheck, government check or other government document that contains the name and address of the voter
  • Driver’s license or state identification card issued by another state

For more information, visit:


Kansas voters must show photographic identification when casting a vote in person. If the photo ID has an expiration date on it, the ID must not have expired at the time of voting. An acceptable photo ID does not have to have an expiration date on the document in order to be valid. Persons age 65 or older may use expired photo ID documents.

Acceptable forms of photo ID are:

  • A driver’s license or nondriver’s identification card issued by Kansas or by another state or district of the United States
  • A concealed carry of handgun license issued by Kansas or a concealed carry of handgun or weapon license issued by another state or district of the United States
  • A United States passport
  • An employee badge or identification document issued by a municipal, county, state, or federal government office
  • A military identification document issued by the United States
  • A student identification card issued by an accredited postsecondary institution of education in the state of Kansas
  • A public assistance identification card issued by a municipal, county, state or federal government office
  • An identification card issued by an Indian tribe

For more information, visit

Farrah Udell is the Social Media Coordinator at Communities Creating Opportunity. Farrah is a Rosh Hodesh: It’s a Girl Thing! group facilitator at the Jewish Federation of Greater Kansas City and volunteers with Jackson County CASA. Farrah graduated from Washington University in St. Louis with a Masters in Social Work. Follow Farrah on Twitter @farrahudell

Let My People Vote

In an effort to make sure our people are informed, voices are heard, and our vote is protected, CCO churches are coming together to host a candidate forum, followed by a march to the polls.

St. Peter CME Church will host two events. The first is between 4th District Senate incumbent David Haley and his challenger Joe Ward. Senator Haley is in his 18th year in the Kansas Legislature; having served six years in the Kansas House of Representatives and twelve years in the Kansas Senate. Joe Ward has recently retired from the Kansas City Kansas Police Department after 31 years of dedicated service to the community. Both candidates will face off on Monday, October 22nd, at 6:00 p.m.

The second event is a “Let My People Vote Rally and March”. More Latinos and African Americans voted in 2008 than ever before. During the past four years, in 34 states, policies have been passed or have been attempted to be passed that make it difficult for Black and Brown voters, young voters and senior voters to vote. This includes Kansas, which for the first time in the state’s history will require a birth certificate for new registrants in 2013. The Let My People Vote Rally is an effort to take advantage of the opportunity to vote early in Kansas and to insure that the vote is not suppressed.

Advance voting begins on October 17th via mail, and starting on October 23rd, registered voters can walk into any Board of Election office between 8:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. and vote. We will meet on Thursday, October 25th, at 12:00 p.m. at St. Peter CME Church and march together to the KCKS Board of Election office.

These efforts are apart of the CCOKS Lifelines to Healing Campaign.

Damon Daniel came to Communities Creating Opportunity with over 12 years of experience in community outreach.  His expertise ranges from community capacity building to youth advocacy. He joined CCO staff in 2007 and has been the lead organizer on CCO’s housing and neighborhood stabilization efforts. Damon is CCO’s regional organizer, working in both Missouri and Kansas. Follow Damon on Twitter @CCOdamon

Celebrating Our Time

Tomorrow’s my birthday.  I was not looking forward to this day until family, friends, colleagues, and CCO volunteers started to bring me flowers and chocolate, take me out to lunch, and most of all, people I admire and love wished me a good day.   I am deeply honored to have my life celebrated by those I love and respect.

It has been a hard year for me and so many.  There have been few organizing campaigns that CCO has lost in its 35 years of history making.   As we approach the election, we mourn that voters were robbed the opportunity to vote on Capping the Rate on payday loans and Raising the Minimum Wage.  We were robbed the opportunity to honor the lives of people who work hard for meager wages and to celebrate Missouri putting an end to triple digit interest.

And yet, we continue!  Daily, dozens of CCO volunteers are in the office and on the streets engaging 35,000 people to be Faith Voices Voters.  Hard working volunteers, organizers, and clergy have shown what faith really means.  We are in this Communities Creating Opportunity work for the long haul and our history proves it.  Rev. Wallace Hartsfield, pastor emeritus, reminded me recently that the civil rights movement wasn’t won with its first action.  He is proud of the statewide faith movement he founded three years ago, Missouri Faith Voices, and knows Economic Dignity will soon prevail over predatory lenders.

Fr. Norman Rotert said to me yesterday, “I am proud of what we have built.”  He should be, because 35 years ago he was the first of thousands to proclaim through deed that the people of St. Therese Little Flower church and the larger faith community of Kansas City metro would not stand by and watch racial redlining tear apart a community of God’s people.

Presiding Elder Joseph Forbes, founder of our Kansas work is leading our board of directors in active citizenry.  Each week they are on the phones and walking the streets reaching out to new people who have yet to hear CCO’s mission to ‘bring people of all faiths together to build relationships, develop strong leaders and improve the quality of life in our communities.’  Under his leadership this past seven years, CCO has leveraged over ten million dollars for home repair, led a Cover All Children campaign that resulted in tens of thousands of children having health care, and impacted over twenty housing, lending, health care, safety, and immigration policies and ordinances that create opportunity for Kansas City families.

We will honor each of these leaders on December 1st with Lifetime Achievement awards as we celebrate our 35 years of Communities Creating Opportunity.   It is our time to celebrate.  The relationships CCO has built in 35 years have been transformative to our people and our communities.  Let’s take time to celebrate and remind ourselves what we have accomplished and what we are building for in the next 35 years.  Make sure to tell a CCO leader happy 35th!  Let us celebrate our time and one another.

See you at the exciting new Bean Hanger event space at The Roasterie, 1204 West 27th Street, Kansas City, MO 64108, Saturday, December 1st at 6:00 p.m. for our celebration of Communities Creating Opportunity.

Picture: Eva Creydt SchulteFor over 12 years, Eva Creydt Schulte has served as a professional organizer within the PICO National Network.  She serves as Executive Director for Communities Creating Opportunity in Kansas City and Missouri Faith Voices.   Executive Director since 2004.  Eva is a Diaconal Minister in the ELCA. Follow Eva on Twitter @CCOeva

Can we count on you to be a Faith Voices Voter?

Faith Voices Voter Commitment

Too many people in Missouri and Kansas are struggling through no fault of their own, and that’s not right. Issues like stopping predatory lending, raising the minimum wage, and ensuring affordable healthcare for our families are not just economic issues, they are moral issues for people of faith.

We believe that these moral issues should be at the forefront of our state and national decisions.

That’s why we are contacting over 35,000 people throughout the state, asking them to join us, and pledge to become Faith Voices Voters. Faith Voices Voters commit to vote their values this year, and we will follow-up with them on these important issues after the election.

Can we count on you to be a Faith Voices Voter?


October 2012
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