Joan Suarez is a Missouri socialist.
Democratic Socialists of America member
- "DSA has formed a Political Action Committee—Democratic Socialists of America PAC (DSA PAC), which will raise funds to enable activity that supports or opposes candidates for federal office. By law, DSA is not permitted to expend its resources in support of or against candidates in partisan elections; however, DSA is permitted to form a PAC for this purpose...
- ...Only DSA members in good standing may contribute to the PAC. Because the law is so specific, all contributions are carefully screened to make sure that they are from members."
Supported student hunger strike
In April 2005, Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri, commited at least $1 million over the next two years toward higher salaries and better benefits for low-paid contract employees as a result of a 19-day sit-in by students demanding a living wage for service workers. Wash U’s Student Worker Alliance reached a groundbreaking agreement with campus officials April 22. “We won more in the last 19 days than we won in the last 18 months put together,” said SWA member Ojiugo Uzoma.
- The new agreement is a significant step towards a living wage for campus service workers, who were making an average of $7.50 an hour. The university agreed to continue working towards a living wage and to form a joint student-university committee, with SWA representation, to improve university policy of freedom of association for all workers directly or indirectly employed by the university. Also, the university will join the Workers’ Rights Consortium, which ensures that factories producing university clothing and other goods respect workers’ rights.
At the April 22 victory rally, Rep. William Lacy Clay (D-Mo.) told SWA members, “You students risked a lot. But it was a worthwhile victory.”
Missouri state Rep. Maria Chappelle-Nadal told the Communist Party USA's Peoples World, “These courageous students fought their butts off. Never, for one moment, did they think about giving up.” During the last weekend of the sit-in, Chappelle-Nadal joined the students on the hunger strike and slept in the admissions office with the students.
Throughout the sit-in, community and labor support was strong. On April 7, Missouri AFL-CIO President Hugh McVey led a rally at Washington U in support of the students. John Sweeney, president of the AFL-CIO, sent a letter of support. Every day during the sit-in, labor and community groups, including the Missouri-Kansas Communist Party, brought the students lunch and dinner, and helped organize noon and 5 p.m. rallies. Throughout the hunger strike, religious leaders kept a 24-hour vigil outside of the admissions office.
“Nineteen days is a long time,” said Joan Suarez, a member of Democratic Socialists of America, the Workers Rights Board and Jobs with Justice “Everyone talks about the courage of these students.” Suarez said that as the students were leaving the admissions office, workers walked up to them and told them, “Thank you.” Many had tears in their eyes, she said.
The Washington U victory came just weeks after students at Georgetown University in Washington, D.C., went on a hunger strike and won living wages for campus employees there. “SWA learned from like-minded groups across the country,” said Danielle Christmas, an SWA member. “We saw other students take power into their own hands. We knew that if things were going to change here, we had to take power into our hands,”
Communist Party award
The Missouri/Kansas Friends of the People’s Weekly World held their 14th annual Hershel Walker Peace and Justice Awards Breakfast in St. Louis Missouri April 29 2006, "educating listeners about Venezuela and raising $3,000 for the PWW fund drive in the process."
Shelby Richardson, a leader of the Illinois district of the Communist Party, was the keynote speaker at the event, which drew over 100 union members, community activists and students. Richardson, who had recently attended the World Social Forum in Caracas, Venezuela, spoke about his experiences there.
Awardees included Joan Suarez, a leader in the St. Louis area Jobs with Justice and chair of their Workers’ Rights Board and Immigrants Rights Action Task Force; PROMO, a Missouri-based lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender rights organization; and Quincy Boyd, president of AFSCME Local 2730.
Ward 4 Committeeperson James Clayborne spoke to the attendees about efforts to honor Walker in his ward, where Walker lived until his death. Clayborne said he was working with ward residents to list Hershel Walker and other well-known African American leaders from the city’s north side on a memorial plaque and to rename a street after him.
State Rep. Jeanette Mott Oxford, 22nd Ward Committeepersons Jay Ozier and Fay Davis, Ward 3 Alderwoman Shirley Davis, newly elected school board member Peter Downs and Ward 19 Committeeperson Jesse Todd also attended. .
With Missouri comrades
Tony Pecinovsky November 26, 2008:
Communist Party Herschel Walker award event
The Missouri Communist Party USA's Friends of the People’s World hosted their 18th annual ‘Hershel Walker Peace and Justice Awards Breakfast’ Saturday, May 8, 2010, at the CWA Local 6300 Union Hall, 2258 Grissom Drive (in the Westport area), St. Louis.
Newspaper Guild International President Bernie Lunzer was the main speaker for the event.
The honorees were:
- Tony Harris, President American Postal Workers Union (labor)
- Martin Rafanan, Ex. Director Gateway Homeless Services (community)
- State Senator Rita Heard Days, D-14 (public service)
- Clem Smith, Coalition of Black Trade Unionists (civil rights)
The awards honor the memory of late Communist Party USA member Hershel Walker, a Missouri labor and civil rights activist, who died in 1990 at the age of 81. Walker’s life – which spanned 60 years of activism – ended tragically when hit by a car on his way to deliver petitions to save 4,000 jobs at the Chrysler Plant.
Known attendees included Communist Party USA affiliates, Tony Pecinovsky, Jim Wilkerson, Zenobia Thompson, Lew Moye, Glenn Burleigh, Julie Terbrock, John Bowman, Joe Thomas, Jeanette Mott Oxford, Democratic Socialists of America member Joan Suarez, plus Mahrya Monson, Don Giljum, Jessica Pace, Jason Kennedy, Jennifer Rafanan, Solveig Paulson, Dr. Greg Miday, Roosevelt Stewart, Michael Vossler, Maria Chappelle-Nadal, Richard Von Glahn, Shannon Duffy and State Rep. James Morris. 
On June 2, 2010— Harriett’s List, the Missouri political action committee created to recruit and support progressive women running for elective office, announced its first slate of endorsements for non-incumbent candidates running for the Missouri state legislature on the birthday of Harriett Woods, which also serves as the first anniversary of the organization.
As a young organization completing its first year in existence, Harriett’s List is focusing its efforts and resources on support of non-incumbent progressive women candidates who are expected to be competitive in state senate and state representative races in Missouri. In 2010, only 23 out of 197 legislative seats and two of the six statewide offices in Missouri were held by progressive women.
The following nine candidates earned Harriett’s List endorsements:
In Missouri Senate races: Harriett’s List endorsed St. Louis County Councilwoman Barbara Fraser for the 24th Senate District, currently held by Senator Joan Bray, who is stepping down due to term limits. Fraser previously served as State Representative for the 83rd District (1999 to 2006) and she is currently the Chair of the St. Louis County Council.
In Missouri House of Representatives races: Harriett’s List endorsements were awarded to Susan Carlson (64th District), Genise Montecillo (66th District), Mary Nichols (79th District) and Deb Lavender (94th District) – in the Saint Louis Metropolitan area; to Alexia Norris (30th District) and Jean Peters-Baker (39th District) – in the Kansas City area; to Kelly Schulz (21st District) – in the Columbia area; and to Judy Wright (5th District) – in Northwest Missouri.
Harriett’s List received a total of 24 applications for endorsement, which were reviewed by a Candidate Review Committee composed of the board of directors and advisory board members of Harriett’s List.
“We are really fortunate to have so many progressive women who are committed to running for office in this election cycle,” said Joan Suarez, Harriett’s List board member and chair of the candidate review committee. “We plan to be an effective partner for the candidates we endorse and look forward to helping them win election this fall to the Missouri legislature.”
2015 JwJ leadership
Missouri Statewide Executive Board
- Nancy Cross, Labor Co-Chair SEIU 1 – Missouri Division
- Bradley Harmon, Labor Co-Chair CWA Local 6355/Missouri State Workers’ Union
- Tony Harris, Treasurer APWU Gateway DAL
- Jake Hummel, Labor Co-Chair Missouri AFL-CIO
- The Rev. Jim Hill, Faith Co-Chair Missouri Faith Voices
- Earline Jones, Community Co-Chair Alliance for Retired Americans
- Dr. Bob Minor, Kansas City JwJ Rep. The Fairness Project
- Jeb Morris, Recording Secretary Southeast Missouri Central Trades and Labor Council
- Jeanette Mott Oxford, Community Co-Chair Missouri Association for Social Welfare
- Rhonda Perry, Community Co-Chair Missouri Rural Crisis Center
- Joan Suarez, Community Co-Chair Missouri Immigrant and Refugee Advocates
- Julie Terbrock, St. Louis JwJ Rep Community Activist
St Louis comrades
Martin Rafanan August 9, 2011 ·
- CampaignMoney.com 2006 Cycle
- Democratic Left, Spring 2006
- [http://www.peoplesworld.org/victory-for-wash-u-students-in-living-wage/ Peoples World.,Victory for Wash U students in living wage, by: Tony Pecinovsky April 29 2005]
- PWW St. Louis raises $3,000 at awards breakfast Tony Pecinovsky & Julia Weaver May 12 2006
- [ http://www.stlouisguild.org/headlines/?p=880St. Louis Newspaper Guild, Guild I.P. Bernie Lunzer to speak Saturday morning at CWA Local 6300, May 5th, 2010]
- [Martin Rafanan Flickr photostream, accessed Jan. 8, 2010]
- Harriett’s List Announces First Slate of Candidate Endorsements, Press release, June 2, 2010