No one is free when others are oppressed.
PO Box 28931
St. Louis, MO 63132
2019 Missouri CURE Conference in Kansas City, MO
This is Cornell Jackson El, jubilant after receiving our Courageous Prisoner award at Missouri CURE’s annual conference 9/28/19. Cornell spent 47 years in prison, 44 of them for a crime he did not commit. He spent 17 years in continuous lockdown (administrative segregation). He was released from prison November 1, 2018.
Some of the more than 100 attendees at Missouri CURE’s 16th Annual Conference held at Bellefontaine Recreation Center in North St. Louis County September 28. Our keynote speaker was Boston’s Andrea James. An attorney for many years, Andrea spent 2 years in federal prison for wire fraud. Since then she has dedicated herself to fighting for justice for women. She is the founder and CEO of the National Council for Incarcerated and Formerly Incarcerated Women and Girls.
Keith Brown El, Malik Sellassie and Ronnie Amiyn, who spent 36, 30 and 25 years, respectively, in Missouri prisons. The men are all active contributing members of Missouri CURE.
This is Hedy with Michelle Smith, who received our Courageous Citizen award 9/28/19. Michelle spent 3 years in Missouri prison and was released in 2015. She and her son Jared were homeless at first. Eventually she found a job and a place for them to live. Jared works two jobs. Once they were settled, she began as a dedicated activist working with CURE and other organizations. Michelle has been a great asset to our work. She was emcee at our conference, led a workshop, and helped in numerous other ways. Sadly, 19 days later on October 17 she began serving a ten-month term in Pekin Federal Prison in central Illinois. Social Security had overpaid her and she failed to report it.
Ronnie called Andrea his “home girl.” Also from Boston, he introduced her and presented her with our 4th Annual Jon Marc Taylor Award.
Missouri CURE board members Shirley Sutton and Shirley Miner worked the reception table at our all-day conference. More than 100 people attended. Admission was free with lunch provided. The conference fea-tured four workshops, nine awards and entertainment. It ended with election of officers for the coming year
Keith Brown El, Vice-Chairman of Missouri CURE, upon receiving our Lifetime Achievement Award 9/28/19. Keith spent 36 years in Missouri prisons as a respected activist and earned a paralegal degree. Since his re-lease in 2008 Keith has continued his fight for justice. He is a devoted community leader who never hesitates to help others in need and courageously speaks truth to power at every opportunity.
One week after the St. Louis conference, Keith, Hedy and Malik drove to Detroit for a conference on challenging life sentences. The Washington-based Sentencing Project had obtained a $25K grant from Open Society and presented it to National CURE to cover transportation and lodging at the Marriott for approximately 50 people to attend the conference from around the country.