Integration – Not Disintegration

After the integration of schools, things got worse—not better—for African Americans in St. Louis. A 1971 state statute implemented the seizure of homes with delinquent property taxes, primarily in Black neighborhoods. It’s still in effect. Fully-paid-off homes are taken away, leaving fixed-income seniors/veterans nothing to pass on to their children; each generation must start from scratch. The “bootstraps” argument does not apply when our government keeps confiscating our boots.

Neighborhood schools are essential to our district.  When kids get up at 5:00 in the morning to catch the bus to a school across town and don’t get home until 6pm or later…  When do they eat?  When do they spend time with their families and play with their friends?  When do they do their homework?  How much sleep do they get?  How can they be expected to achieve the learning necessary to achieve acceptable MAP test scores?  We give obscene amounts of money to the transportation industry to bus our kids all over the city, yet there is usually a boarded-up school within walking distance of every student’s house, not to mention several boarded-up houses along the way.

We need schools near where families live—especially here on the northside, where fewer of us have vehicles.  As your St. Louis City School Board member, I will stop using our children as checkbooks to bankroll corporations.  Since 2014, I’ve prevented over 60 homes from going to auction and becoming vacant.  I will keep fighting our broken system on all fronts, until every child in our city has access to a quality education in their neighborhood—with ZERO systemic barriers to their potential for success.

#VoteVowell on April 4th!

“It never made sense to take revenue from our schools, give it to the very people discriminating, and force our children to stand at dark, cold bus stops in the early morning and dark night hours in order to receive an equal education. It didn’t make sense, but it made a lot of dollars for those who should have been the last to be economically rewarded.”
— Dr. Christi Griffin – Former Chair, St. Louis Civil Rights Enforcement Agency

Read more about how U.S. schools are re-segregating here:


Taking It To The Streets!

Natalie and her team have been out in the streets since December, knocking doors all over St. Louis City.  Our campaign is powered by people.  Our donors are activists.  Our phone bank is our friends list.  Every yard sign that goes up is for someone like you who personally knows Natalie and her work in the community.  Our supporters aren’t just voters; they’re friends.

This election is in your hands!  Join us by signing up here.

Thanks for joining us in this revolution!



Vote Vowell Buttons Via #PoliticalRevolution

This weekend, I was in Springfield, MO visiting my parents.  Our Bernie family (and my actual family) have provided some of the greatest support and love I’ve experienced.  I’m fortunate to have made new friends and allies across the country through the Bernie Sanders movement.  We grassroots folks get things done — no matter how little we have to work with.

Without much of a real workspace… Here we are, making #VoteVowell buttons with my father, “Dad The Rad”, and my fellow DNC Delegate Amy Powell from Show Me Our Revolution of Greene County, MO…in the break room of my Dad’s car dealership. The #PoliticalRevolution is everywhere!

Stability & Sustainability

“A parent arrives home one day to find the family’s possessions sitting on the curb. Those eviction threats were all too real.  A basement fills with water and the landlord won’t come around to deal with the problem. The family has no choice but to move.  An ex-boyfriend is making threats. A nearby apartment complex has a rent special going on. A family moves to be closer to a parent’s new job.  For many reasons, families move over the course of the school year. For children and their schools, the consequences can be profound.”

The article below highlights one reason I’m running for St. Louis City School Board.  My work with Project Raise The Roof keeps families in their homes.  We make sure those properties remain on the tax rolls, funding our schools—and that our students have a stable learning environment.  St. Louis City must address the root of our problems. We need stability before we can achieve sustainability.

For 4th grade teacher Angelica Saddler and her colleagues at Ingels Elementary School, a high student churn rate means extra work and challenges. BARBARA SHELLY / KCUR 89.3

Housing, Racial Equity, & Innovation

I believe in using any available resource to help others and change perceptions.  Last June, I opened the first and only 3 Airbnb’s north of Delmar, and they have been booked solid since they were listed.  For the past several months, I have offered modest, flexibly-priced spaces in North St. Louis to people both in the City and from numerous cities and countries via Airbnb.  By pairing otherwise vacant properties with people who have limited options for living situations, I hope to help those in transition find their way to stable housing.   Our guests have included foreign exchange students, business travelers, and City residents escaping slum lords or domestic violence.

I intend to show out-of-towners and fellow St. Louisans that, while North City has its ups and downs, the vast majority of the residents here are decent, hard working citizens, a few of whom are navigating the margin between oppression and destitution.  There are wonderful people here on the northside.  While it’s critical for us to confront our shortcomings as a city, we must also get to know our neighbors and focus on the positive aspects of our neighborhoods.  It’s refreshing to see the media reporting some good news from this side of town, and I’m fortunate to be a part of some of the great things happening here.

Click the links below for the written article from the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, and the video news segments from KSDK and Fox 2.


In Solidarity,



Bruce and Rasheen Endorse Natalie!

I’m proud to be endorsed by Representative Bruce Franks, Jr. and 5th Ward Democratic Committeeman Rasheen Aldridge!  It has been an honor to stand with these superheroes over the past couple years.  I’m excited to continue our work together in taking a hands-on, holistic approach to empowering ALL St. Louis students and families.
Click here to add your own endorsement for Natalie!


Thank you all for your nonstop hard work and support.


With love and solidarity,



#BlackHistoryMonth – We Owe Our Kids More

#BlackHistoryMonth has been around, in some form, for nearly 100 years.  It’s 2017, and I believe we can do better.  Civil rights leaders’ accomplishments are taught in a way designed to makes us feel safe and comfortable.  The message has basically been reduced to “a long time ago, the status quo was really bad, but then some good people came along and made it better, and today’s status quo is pretty much acceptable”.  But let’s be real.  If society had already learned every lesson we needed to know from Harriet Tubman, Frederick Douglass, Robert Smalls, Dr. King, and Rosa Parks…there would have been no hashtags for #MichaelBrown, #PhilandoCastile, #EricGarner, #TrayvonMartin, #SandraBland, and the ever-growing list of victims…

We must do more than just spend one month per year studying the achievements of long-dead Black innovators and civil rights heroes.  Our students deserve real-life interactions with living, local community activists and allies who are working toward a better society.  Our Black students should grow up knowing that their futures matter.  We must teach our children to identify the source of systemic oppression, to always analyze the status quo, and how to dismantle the systems that hold them back.


In solidarity,


MDP Progressive Caucus

Many of us Progressives have felt adrift since we lost “our only hope”, Bernie Sanders.  The hardest blow came when Donald Trump took the presidency from Hillary Clinton.  But today in Jefferson City, with the formation of the Missouri Democratic Party’s Progressive Caucus, we were formally given a voice within the Democratic Party.  We are truly and officially empowered to begin shaping good policies for ALL Missourians.  This was a heart-warming and much-needed reunion.  My mind and spirit are re-ignited, and I’m honored to continue the revolution alongside so many passionate, hard-working, inspiring people!

MDPBernieReunionPhoto by Anne-Sophie Liberman, courtesy of Rae English

Get On The Bus Campaign Kick-Off

Come out and support Natalie Vowell for STL City School Board!  If you don’t already know Natalie, this is your chance to meet and learn more about the local activist who will turn our city’s schools around.  Together, we WILL change the future!

Thursday, January 26th
7pm – 10pm
Yaquis on Cherokee (click for map)
2728 Cherokee Street, 63118
FREE to attend – Donations appreciated!
RSVP on Facebook (optional)

Enjoy pizza, cocktails, and community conversations with us at Yaquis on Cherokee.   The Social Justice Bus will be on site.  Register to vote or update your voter information, and support a Black-owned northside business.  Ma’De Life will have locally made t-shirts on hand for sale.

Time to party with a purpose!   #VoteVowell