Author

Rebecca Rivas

Rebecca Rivas

Rebecca Rivas covers civil rights, criminal justice and immigration. She has been reporting in Missouri since 2001, most recently as senior reporter and video producer at the St. Louis American, the nation's leading African-American newspaper.

Missourians say they can’t get federal food assistance due to long call wait times

By: - November 15, 2021

Just as the school year was ending this past spring — and with it, free school lunches — Erin Bay learned that her monthly food assistance through the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) was cut off.  She was informed by the state that her son’s federal disability assistance put her about $65 over the income […]

COMMENTARY

Day of the Dead reminds us to live | Opinion

By: - November 2, 2021

The nostalgic smell of pan dulce, or sweet bread, hit me when I walked into Diana’s Bakery on Cherokee Street in St. Louis. It was impossible not to think of my grandmother taking me to a similar panadería (bakery) and letting me and my sisters pick out a pan dulce, while she bought her favorite […]

If Missouri doesn’t spend its federal rental and utility assistance money it could lose it

By: - October 29, 2021

Jill McCormick shook her head and lifted her eyes to the ceiling.  “What is the hold up for getting that money directly to [tenants]?” McCormick, a tenant advocate with the nonprofit Action St. Louis, asked St. Louis’ new director of human services, Yusef Scoggin, at a community meeting Tuesday. The city has received more applications […]

Missouri woman mired in years long struggle with feds over road accessing her property

By: - October 26, 2021

As a young girl in the 1930s, Opal Brixey would walk down a narrow road, lined with tall oak trees and thick brush to get to a one-room schoolhouse. The road, nestled in the woods of Douglas County in southern Missouri, also led down to Mr. Johnson’s sawmill and to a few homes in the […]

Funds now available for Missouri nonprofits working to deter crime

By: - October 22, 2021

Under legislation approved by state lawmakers in May, nonprofits working to deter crime in seven Missouri communities can now apply for state funds —totaling up to $500,000 — to support their work. Applications are being accepted through Oct. 29. A law signed by Gov. Mike Parson in June created the Economic Distress Zone Fund grant program. The […]

Pandemic pushed St. Louis job fair for ex-offenders online. It became more successful

By: - October 18, 2021

When Dominic Tornatore is released from St. Louis County jail this fall, finding a job will be critical to helping him get back on his feet. Tornatore, 34, knows he’s made mistakes. He’s struggled with drinking and has numerous drunk-driving offenses on his record. But he says he’s learned from a lifetime of bad decisions.  […]

Planned Parenthood Springfield Health Center

Planned Parenthood wants feds to block Missouri rule targeting its Medicaid funding

By: - October 13, 2021

Planned Parenthood of the St. Louis Region and Southwest Missouri is calling for the Biden administration to intervene to block the state’s new emergency regulation that abortion advocates contend could cut off Medicaid funding for its clinics around the state.  Without federal action, Planned Parenthood said it may need to turn to the courts.  “It […]

Missouri Supreme Court hears arguments over a 2015 law to cap revenue from court fines

By: - October 6, 2021

Should Missouri legislators have singled out St. Louis County in a 2015 court-reform law that capped the amount of revenue its 90 municipalities could raise in court fines and fees? That was the question before the Missouri Supreme Court Wednesday, the latest twist in litigation over a 2015 law that limits the amount of revenue […]

St. Louis asks appeals court to force protestor to pay attorney fees for suing police

By: and - October 5, 2021

An attorney for the city of St. Louis argued in court Tuesday that a woman who sued a police officer for excessive force must pay $57,000 in attorneys fees the city spent on the case. Kristine “Kris” Hendrix filed a lawsuit in 2017 claiming that two St. Louis officers used excessive force, tasing her repeatedly […]

As Missouri Hispanic population grows, building trust is key to bridging cultural gap

By: - October 4, 2021

When Eduardo Crespi was working as a nurse at University of Missouri Hospital in Columbia more than 20 years ago, he’d have a full load of patients to care for. But on top of that, he would also get called to translate for Spanish-speaking patients who weren’t his own.  “That’s how it started,” he said. […]

COMMENTARY

The debate on Latino vs. Latinx vs. Hispanic is the song that never ends

By: - October 4, 2021

Growing up in El Paso, Texas, in the ’80s and ’90s, the diversity at my school could’ve been broken down into two categories — children who were born in the United States and students who weren’t.  But almost all of the students’ families came from Mexico at some point, and we called ourselves Mexican-Americans or […]

St. Louis fights to force protestor to pay thousands in attorney fees for suing police

By: - September 30, 2021

Around midnight in May 2015, Kristine “Kris” Hendrix was walking to her car after a Black Lives Matter protest in downtown St. Louis. As a mother of three Black boys and an elected school board member, Hendrix says she was moved to march in the street alongside dozens of others to speak out against the […]