For this month’s Building Power Across Missouri, we are highlighting the campaign at the center of Columbia’s voter engagement wins, the Neighborhood Pledge!
The Neighborhood Pledge is a policy framework years in the making. A diverse set of leaders in Columbia’s first ward, the city’s most racially diverse ward and also the city’s poorest ward, developed the Neighborhood Pledge to bring our community’s needs directly to the candidates looking to lead our city. These leaders identified three primary issues facing the first ward: a lack of affordable housing, crumbling public infrastructure, and vast racial inequality. Every year since, leaders have updated the pledge and asked candidates and voters alike to sign onto our vision and pledge.
Pledge in hand, we went door-knocking. We knocked on hundreds of doors, had hundreds of conversations with our friends and neighbors, and in the end, more than 200 of our neighbors signed the Neighborhood Pledge.
As a tenant in Columbia’s First Ward, the Neighborhood Pledge is a direct reflection of the needs I see in my community every day. It’s powerful to see Jobs With Justice hold our local elected officials accountable to working people. I love where I live and know that my neighbors deserve the support and investment that our local leaders too often reserves only for wealthy residents. Jobs With Justice is working to make our community better for all of us, and I am proud to stand with them in this fight. – Zia Kelly, Mid-Missouri JWJ member
This year was a real high point for the Neighborhood Pledge campaign. We hosted a standing-room-only town hall attended by all the candidates for the city council. Residents brought their concerns and questions directly to the candidates. We not only pushed the candidates to listen to our community, we also reminded them that they were pledging to be accountable to the voters – not special interests.
“I signed the Neighborhood Pledge because it articulates so well the issues that led me to run for office, concerns that essentially seek the best for everyone in our community,” says Nick Foster, 4th Ward council member & Neighborhood Pledge signer. “I will continue to refer to the Pledge as a touchstone and guide as I make decisions that impact the lives of real people every single day, seeking equitable solutions to the challenges that face Columbia.”
At the end of the election, all three city council races were won by candidates who signed the Neighborhood pledge! With the wins this year, and previous wins in 2021 and 2020, we now have a council in which five of the seven council members have signed the Neighborhood Pledge!
We are now transitioning to hold the council members accountable and ensure they fulfill the pledge they signed. We continue to deep canvass in our neighborhoods and bring our issues directly to our elected leaders.
Join a deep canvass in your area to build the power your community needs!
Missouri Jobs with Justice