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.

Missouri HBCUs use federal relief funds to clear pandemic-related student debt

By: - September 27, 2021

Harris-Stowe State University junior De’Ketra Tatum remembers listening to a lecture in February 2020 about what could happen if the coronavirus hit the United States. A month later, she got an email saying that all students had to leave the campus.  “It was terrifying,” she said. “It took a lot for me to stay calm […]

Missouri Republicans vow to push again for voter ID law

By: - September 14, 2021

With several months to go before state lawmakers return for the 2022 legislative session, Republicans are promising to once again push to require photo identification to vote. Committees in the Missouri House and Senate held hearings Tuesday dominated by discussions of requiring a government-issued ID for both in-person and absentee voting. Secretary of State Jay […]

COVID pushed many Black families in Missouri to homeschool. Now they’re sticking with it

By: - September 7, 2021

Every homeschool family kicks off their school year a little differently. For the Browns, they decided to start with an adventure.   Cal and Mike Brown loaded up their five school-age children last week and drove to Grafton, Ill., to explore the historic river community founded in 1832.  Then they explored New Town, a recently-built community […]

Roadblocks facing Kevin Strickland’s innocence claim nothing new for Missouri

By: - September 3, 2021

Kevin Strickland was hopeful Thursday was going to be his first step towards freedom after 40 years in prison. A new law that went into effect Aug. 28 gave Jackson County Prosecutor Jean Peters Baker a legal avenue to free Strickland, who she says is innocent and wrongly incarcerated. But opposition from the Missouri attorney […]

Missouri fielding ‘high volume’ of calls for rental assistance as evictions resume

By: and - September 2, 2021

Calls from tenants seeking emergency rental assistance are escalating in the wake of the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision that blocked a national eviction moratorium. The Missouri Housing Development Commission (MHDC) has 60 application processors working to distribute hundreds of millions in federal aid and has been fielding about 500 calls and responding to about 200 […]

Missouri lawmakers discuss election security in hearing marked by conspiracy theories

By: - August 25, 2021

The Missouri House Elections Committee convened Tuesday to discuss ways to alter the initiative petition process and improve election security. And over the course of more than three hours, lawmakers heard a parade of debunked conspiracy theories about the 2020 election. “I’m convinced the country suffered the greatest cyber attack in the history of the […]

Missouri students head back to the classroom in the shadow of the Delta surge

By: , and - August 24, 2021

Fourth graders Addison, Reagan and Lauren Harper are no strangers to catastrophes or challenging circumstances.  Five days after they were born in May 2011, a tornado swept through Joplin and leveled their home, destroying a chance at normalcy for their family — along with the entire community — for a long time.  Ten years later, […]

St. Louis judge halts city evictions until Oct. 3, following CDC’s order

By: - August 6, 2021

St. Louis City Circuit Court has halted evictions for city residents through Oct. 3, mirroring the federal eviction moratorium issued this week. The new federal prohibition on evicting renters behind on their payments covers those living in counties with high or substantial rates of community COVID-19 transmission, or places with more than 50 COVID-19 cases […]

Eviction rally

Missouri’s eviction crisis could be a ‘humanitarian tragedy,’ advocates say

By: - August 2, 2021

Melissa Pashia is hoping for any kind of good news today. The federal eviction moratorium ended Saturday, and she’s got her fingers crossed one of her clients will finally get approved for the rental assistance that they applied for in April through the State Assistance for Housing Relief Program (SAFHR).  The aid approval would come just […]

New Missouri law mandates private space and break times for breastfeeding teachers

By: - August 2, 2021

Eight months after her son was born, Webster Groves High School teacher Jaime Adamski broke down in tears at her doctor’s office.  Her breast milk had declined significantly since she had gone back to work. “I was depressed, angry, frustrated,” she said. “I felt like I was not a good enough mother because I wasn’t […]

New law aims to help get more services to homeless teens in Missouri

By: - July 26, 2021

Trysta Herzog owns a successful marketing business in Springfield. But when she was a teenager, she was homeless. At 15, Herzog and her older brother decided that living with their stepfather who was addicted to heroin was not the safest place for them. Learning from other teens like her, she knew she couldn’t tell her […]

St. Louis Mayor Tishaura Jones reflects on success, challenges of first 100 days

By: - July 20, 2021

It’s been nearly 100 days since St. Louis Mayor Tishaura Jones stood on the white marble staircase of City Hall’s rotunda and was sworn in as mayor — becoming the first Black woman to hold the position.  The city has not always protected its children, she said in her inauguration speech, nor has it fought […]