A Red Circle and its Executive Director Erica Williams are a force to be reckoned with in north St. Louis County (“North County”). Located in Wellston and founded almost 3 years ago, A Red Circle’s mission statement is, “The holistic betterment of our community; reversing the effects of racism one person and cause at a time.” Its vision is to ensure that North County remains diverse and becomes a viable, healthy community. In order to achieve this mission and vision, A Red Circle focuses on employment, education, holistic living, policy, and the arts.
How does your organization work to improve child well-being in your community or in the state?
The killing of Michael Brown, Jr. in 2014 revealed vast levels of racial disparities within North County – from job opportunities to health disparities – and Ms. Williams’ research showed that these disparities stemmed from a lack of healthy food. Ms. Williams founded A Red Circle in March, 2017 in order to highlight and address racial equity within North County’s food system and the other areas touched by unhealthy food, including education.
What policy change would you most like to see to support child well-being in our state?
Policy changes around school discipline – suspensions, detentions, ISS, etc. – for younger grades and policy around budgetary support for high school students to participate in apprentices and other workforce development opportunities.
Why do you think it’s important for our state to invest in children?
Children grow up to become adults and a low investment in their early lives will yield a poor ROI in these same children as adults. We can lessen and even eliminate the need for social services if children are provided the tools to become productive citizens early on.
What do you like about being a member of Kids Win Missouri?
Policy information, networking, learning about what other groups are doing, being connected to a large group that cares about Missouri’s children.