Community for Understanding and Hope
Ron Hodges (Chair)
In the quest to transform the Kirkwood Area into a prejudice-free community of highly respectful individuals, CFUH will initiate ongoing dialogue and social interaction to create an environment of understanding and healing.
Co-sponsored by CFUH and the Kirkwood Public Library. Our goal is to build friendships, increase our awareness and enjoy each other.
The next meeting of the CFUH Book Club will be on Thursday evening, October 24, 2013 at 7 PM. Meeting place is Kirkwood Public Library.
The book for discussion is Before the Mayflower: A History of Black America (Chapters 8-15) by Lerone Bennett, Jr. Joy Weese Moll is the discussion leader.Click here for a list of the books we have scheduled to read during the coming year.
The City Council of the City of Kirkwood has passed a proposal, initiated by the Human Rights Commission, to end discrimination against gays and lesbians. 2012 Annual Report of the Human RIghts Commission
DOJ Mediation Agreement
In the wake of the tragic events of February 7th, 2008, a team-oriented mediation process was begun to address concerns expressed by Meacham Park residents. The mediation and resulting agreement was moderated by William Whitcomb of the U.S. Department of Justice, Community Relations Service. Members of the City and Community teams established a partnership with affected residents of Meacham Park and engaged in a series of focus groups to identify the current cultural composition and what issues need to be addressed.
The agreement covers three specific areas. It calls for:
The agreement is available on the City of Kirkwood website.
A story in the St. Louis Beacon reviews relevant history and events in Kirkwood that led to the development of this agreement https://www.stlbeacon.org/#!/content/17317/kirkwoods_journey_three_years_later.
Annual ICE CREAM SOCIAL at The Magic House
We had a great evening last August 14:
Music by The Scott Laytham and Karl "Trickee" Holmes Duo
Ice Cream by Cold Stone Creamery & The Custard Station
There were massages by Sara Niebruegge from New Bridge Massage Therapy
Thanks to The Magic House
Our Trip to Memphis
Forty of us traveled to Memphis on a chartered bus.
We saw the National Civil Rights Museum and the Burkle Estate Museum (Slavehaven.)
We had a great time with fellow Kirkwoodians enjoying an evening on Beale Street and learning more about our history as a nation.
Read about our trip in the Webster-Kirkwood Times. See our photos on FaceBook.
A Documentary about Kirkwood
"Trying to Understand It All: The Kirkwood City Council Shooting."
Chris Jeske is a graduate of Kirkwood High School and of Marquette University student who has produced this documentary you can find on his website at http://www.kirkwood-documentary.com/.
On Saturday March 7, 2009 the CFUH Steering Committee held a retreat to discuss the future direction of our group The strongest commitment that came out of the retreat is the Steering Committee’s wishes to continue its work PROMOTING A RESPECTFUL PREJUDICE-FREE community. Another decision was to change of our name to Community for Understanding and Hope. We continue to believe that broadening the level of understanding in our community is of paramount importance. Now we want to focus our organization on building a greater future for all of our citizens. For the time being, we will retain the mission statement we have although we may want to make some modification to that as we adjust our direction in this, our second year.
The Steering Committee has decided on three areas of focus and is establishing committees to work on each of these areas.
Our intent with this summary is to honor our commitment to you to keep you up to date with our activities and our future direction. All of you remain very much a part of CFUH. We thoroughly appreciate your input and your concern for our future. We cannot do this work without your participation and your well wishes for this group’s success. We honestly believe that if CFUH can succeed, ALL of Kirkwood succeeds on so many levels. Thank you for your continued interest and we will make every effort to keep you up to date on our progress. If you are interested in participating on one of our committees, please send an email to
February 7, 2009 Session
The program, held at Kirkwood Baptist Church, was based on a presentation of the winning essays from the CFUH Essay Contest. The winners read their essays to the group where the ideas from the essays were discussed. A specially commissioned piece of music, "Canticle of Peace" was sung in it's debut performance.
Winners with Dr. Linda Collins (Lead Judge)
Community Gospel ChoirThe Community Gospel Choir is a group of people from many different churches and many different parts of the St. Louis area. Through their spirited interpretation of the rich tradition of African-American gospel music, the choir is working to break down racial, cultural and economic barriers in our community. For more information, check out the website at www.communitygospelchoir.org.
Bridges Across Racial Polarization
Many of you have told us you would like some action or social opportunities as our dialogue continues. Offered through a regionally-based nonprofit called FOCUS St. Louis, the Bridges Across Racial Polarization® program will give Kirkwood residents an opportunity to create small dialogue groups which would meet regularly, generally while sharing a meal at a restaurant or in each other's homes. The aim would be similar to that of the CFUH dialogue sessions - to discuss relevant racial/social issues and gradually build trust and friendship across racial lines.
The Bridges program has been recognized nationally as a Solution for America by the Pew Partnership for Civic Change. The CFUH hopes Bridges might provide a meaningful ongoing experience for some Kirkwood residents looking to broaden the diversity of their social circle and create a stronger, more peaceful community for all of us. Bridges groups are supported by a FOCUS staff person and a Bridges Steering Committee. Bridges members are provided with other organizational support, some large-group networking opportunities, and electronic reference materials. Read more about the Bridges Across Racial Polarization® program in this brochure and think about signing up to be part of what we hope will be several Kirkwood-based groups. Or, today and let us know of your interest.
Agreements for Great Conversations
HistoryThis effort was initiated by the Meacham Park Neighborhood Improvement Association in order to foster understanding and healing throughout our community following the tragedy of Thursday, 7 February 2008. It is led and peopled by community volunteers who think that any problem in America can be solved if caring Americans respect the dignity of all other human beings in our society and work together in a journey for peace, healing, and reconciliation.
Our first task is to meet and talk with each other across every boundary: race, color, creed, religion, age, gender, economic status, physical challenge, etc. We start with dialogue meetings in which people share personal and cultural experiences -- with two rules: (1) be honest, (2) be courteous.
Four Dialogue Sessions were held earlier in 2008 (February, March, April, and May). An Executive Summary has been prepared outlining the results of those first four dialogues.
We want to thank STLCC-Meramec and Kirkwood Baptist, Kirkwood United Methodist, Grace Episcopal, and St. Peter Catholic churches for their generous support, providing their facilities at no charge in order to help the community in this effort.
In future meetings, as we begin to know and trust each other, we will continue to dialogue in our quest for understanding, and we will explore actions we can take to put us on the path to our preferred future.
Get Involved ...
Opportunities to Serve
Shepherd's Center is an organization in the Kirkwood and Webster community whose goal is to enable older adults to remain vital and independent through programs and services that promote positive aging.
CFUH in the News
St. Louis Beacon, Feb. 5, 2013
St. Louis Post Dispatch, Feb. 8, 2013
KSDK, July 8, 2010
Webster-Kirkwood Times, March 20, 2009
Suburban Journals, Feb. 18, 2009
KWMU, St. Louis on the Air, Feb. 10, 2009
United Methodist Church, Feb. 9, 2009
St. Louis Beacon, Feb. 8, 2009
St. Louis Beacon, Feb. 6, 2009
Meeting Calendar and Meeting Minutes
MP3 recordings of meetings for the City Council, Architectural Review Board, Board Of Adjustment, and Planning & Zoning can be accessed on the same page as the Minutes for those groups.
Review the list of Kirkwood Boards and Commissions here.
Download a Volunteer Profile Form or stop by City Hall and get one from the Clerk.
Contact UsFor more information, or to volunteer:
Resource MaterialsChris Jeske, Kirkwood HS grad and Marquette U business student is studying race relations in Kirkwood. Check out his webiste at http://arentweallequal.com/
White Privilege 101 Video used at September 6 dialogue session.
Executive Summary of Dialogue Sessions February thru May 2008
Historic Overview of the Meacham Park Neighborhood and the City of Kirkwood
Reflective Communication by Rev. David Bennett
The Kirkwood Shootings by Jeannete Cooperman, St. Louis Magazine (May 2008)
Meacham Park: Past, Present, and Future by Don Corrigan, Webster-Kirkwood Times (March 2008)
Meacham Park: A History of American Change by Don Corrigan, Webster-Kirkwood Times (March 2008, reprinted from 1986)
Kirkwood kids find it's hard to talk about tragedy By Ryan Miller (May 2008)
Second "Healing" Forum Draws About 250 Residents by Janet Edwards, Webster-Kirkwood Times (March 2008)
A Broken Community, and Hope for Healing by Scott Stearman (Feb, 14, 2008)
Where racial healing happens by Rob Cochoran, Christian Science Monitor (May 2008)
KSDK Interview of Ron Hodges (Sept. 2008)
Empowerment Resources: Things an individual can do without needing to organize a group CFUH Handout (Oct. 2008)
What is Healing for Kirkwood? by Jim Baker
Former mayor Swoboda's death casts pall on Kirkwood healing meeting by Bill Freivogel (Sept. 2008)