#FlipTheBoard (of Aldermen)
If you’re like me you have probably been pretty frustrated watching the Board of Aldermen lately. Instead of Closing the Workhouse, we’re dragging our feet. Instead of planning for the impending reduction of wards, we’re fighting every effort to come up with an equitable plan. Instead of implementing proven strategies to address our very real issues with crime, we’re chasing unproven spy planes and doubling down on the same failed arrest and incarcerate models of the last 40 years. The list goes on and on, but it doesn’t have to be this way.
Over the last few years, progressives have been making gains on the Board of Aldermen, and it is possible for progressives to #FlipTheBoard and hold the majority of votes on the Board of Aldermen after the April Election. This election cycle in particular we have some stellar candidates running for the Board of Aldermen who I am proud to support, candidates who I know will vote to close the workhouse and redirect funding into addressing the root causes of crime, who will reign in the overuse of tax incentives that deprive our public schools of needed resources, and who will fight to keep our public assets public.
If we can collectively raise $10,000 to support these candidates before the April 6th election, they have a great shot at winning!
Electing these candidates, along with a progressive Mayor, can mean a fundamentally different vision and direction for our city.
The #FlipTheBoard Candidates
Shedrick “Nato Caliph” Kelley is running in the 7th ward. He is a Business Analyst at Wells Fargo and a member of the leadership council with the Organization for Black Struggle (OBS). He also volunteers with the Coalition Against Police Crimes and Repression (CAPCR) and is an active participant with the Civilian Oversight Board.
Shedrick is a family man, artist, and a St. Louis naitive that has deep roots in the community with a far-reaching dedication to serving it. A father of six children, five of whom currently attend St. Louis Public Schools, Shedrick will work to ensure our community is positively impacted by his service. His mission as 7th ward Alderman is to fight for the health, prosperity, and safety of the people and the families of the 7th ward community.
Bill Stephens is running in the 12th ward. Born in St. Louis, Missouri, Bill was raised in both the Southeastern village of Marquand, Missouri and the North County streets of Hazelwood, Missouri. As the only openly gay student at his conservative Lutheran high school, Bill persevered and was the first in his immediate family to graduate. Bill didn’t stop there — he went on to a four-year university not once, but twice: Webster University and Saint Louis University, where he studied French Language and Literature and currently studies Greek & Latin Language and Literature. Go Gorloks and Billikens!
Throughout his educational pursuits, Bill held active and prominent roles in the St. Louis LGBTQIA+ community, from being a member of Growing American Youth and eventually its youngest-ever board member, to becoming the Archivist and Library Coordinator for Pride St. Louis. As a public library professional, Bill saw daily the effects of unjust legal and social barriers on the lives of everyday citizens, which inspired him to run for a legislative role in St. Louis, Missouri.
Bill leads both his campaign and his life with two simple tenets: Fierce Compassion, Radical Empathy. He’s excited for the opportunity to bring both to the St. Louis Board of Alderman.
Anne Schweitzer is running in the 13th ward. Anne was born and raised in South St. Louis City, where she is running for office. She received a Politics and Environmental Studies degree from Brandeis University in Massachusetts. When she was 20, she rode her bike across the country in support of affordable housing. After college, Anne worked as a community organizer at a community development corporation, mostly around tenants’ rights. In 2012, she moved back to St. Louis and began working as a publicist, writing words for candidates, companies, and nonprofits. As a candidate, her priorities are boosting St. Louis and holistically addressing safety, education, and development.
Anne volunteers as a clinic escort with NARAL. She co-founded the Young Friends of Forest ReLeaf and has planted dozens of trees in the St. Louis region. She is a member of the Friends of Carondelet Park Board, an urban homesteader (talk to her if you have thought about backyard chickens!), a foster parent and foster coordinator with Stray Haven Feline Rescue, and a member of the First Neighbor Program with St. Joseph Housing Initiative.
Tina “Sweet-T” Pihl is running in 17th ward for the seat that is being vacated by the retirement of longtime Alderman Joe Roddy. Tina Pihl, who goes by Sweet-T, is an urban planner, activist, community leader, and social entrepreneur. She has an indomitable spirit and an unparalleled drive that has allowed her to be an extraordinary achiever — from working on the largest urban in-fill redevelopment projects in the U.S. to being a pioneer co-founding the Habitat Bicycle Challenge that raised roughly $2.4 million for Habitat for Humanity–New Haven to competing in the 2004 U.S. Olympic Team Trials in women’s freestyle wrestling. Tina Sweet-T graduated from Yale University, B.A. Architecture and M.I.T, M.A. City Planning.
Tina Sweet-T works in the community and with the community. For over 15 years she has worked in housing, community and economic development; served as Executive Director of two non-profits in underserved neighborhoods; has organized on issues such as, gun safety, equitable development, and voter registration; and is past President of the Forest Park Southeast Neighborhood Association.
As an adoptee with white parents, she has lived a unique constellation of experiences that have made her a trailblazer, connector and community builder. She is rooted in collective action and passionate about providing equal access to resources for everyone, in order for us to all have an opportunity to thrive equitably. She is currently writing a book about the intersection between belonging, identity and race from her experience growing up and her work as a planner in St. Louis, Boston, Denver, Washington, D.C. and Appalachia.
If you’d like to meet the candidates, I’ll be hosting a virtual meet n’ greet from 6:00pm — 8:00pm. Each candidate will have 30 minutes to make their pitch and answer questions. The line-up is as follows:
6:00pm — 6:30pm: Tina “Sweet-T” Pihl” (17th Ward)
6:30pm — 7:00pm: Shedrick “Nato Caliph” Kelley (7th Ward)
7:00pm — 7:30pm: Bill Stephens (12th Ward)
7:30pm — 8:00pm: Anne Schweitzer (13th Ward)
Please REGISTER HERE and you will be sent a zoom link (and invite your friends!).
Being a first time candidate is hard. Being a first time, grassroots, progressive candidate is especially hard. If you can’t come, please make a donation and help us #FlipTheBoard to a more progressive Board of Aldermen on April 6th.