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Missouri’s oldest and largest African American religious group advocates for criminal justice reform, voter protection legislation


Press release

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – The Missionary State Baptist Convention of Missouri (MSBCM) will conduct its inaugural Annual Advocacy Day at the Missouri State Capitol on Tuesday, March 26th, 2019.

Clergy and Lay leaders from throughout the state, representing over 500 churches and 250,000 members, will conduct a one-day lobby effort to encourage their local legislators to support specific bills relating to criminal justice reform and voter rights, today in Jefferson City.

“This has never been done in the history of our Convention,” said Rev. Linden Bowie, State President. “Our churches will no longer stand on the political sidelines and wait until politicians decide to visit our churches around election time. It’s way past time that we become more proactive, and work more aggressively, to influence legislation that would directly impact the welfare and wellbeing of our members.”

Missouri Legislative Black Caucus Chairperson, State Representative Steven Roberts, Jr. (District 77) is serving as the host for the MSBCM Advocacy Day. He (Roberts) and his staff have worked jointly with the religious leaders in identifying legislation, contacting political party leaders, and setting up meetings with key government officials.

The group will focus their lobby efforts on the following bills: HB284 (Absentee Ballots) sponsored by Representative Bruce Franks, Jr; HB731 (Automatic Voter Registration) sponsored by Representative Ashley Bland Manlove; HB298 (Criminal Justice Reform Tax Credits) and HB666 (Money Bail Reform Act of 2019) both sponsored by Representative Roberts.

The MSBCM Advocacy Day will also consist of a Prayer Service (1:00 pm), place to be determine; and a Press Conference (1:30 pm), which will be held in the House Lounge.

This historic effort is spearheaded by the organization’s Social Justice Commission, which is tasked will the responsibility – to engage Missouri’s African American Baptist churches to address relevant social and political issues; analysis and make recommendations related to public policy; coordinate voter registration, education, and mobilization; and provide support for community outreach initiatives.

For additional information, contact Reverend Darryl Gray, Chairperson, Social Justice Commission, MSBCM (770) 842-5210; or Ly Syin Lobster, Legislative Assistant, MO State Rep. Steven Roberts, District 77 (573) 751-1400.