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.

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 […]

Betty Thompson and Hazel Erby became matriarchs of Black politics in St. Louis

By: - July 14, 2021

The neighborhood children would affectionately call them “Mama Erby” and “Mama Thompson.” For decades, Former St. Louis County Councilwoman Hazel Erby and Former State Rep. Betty Thompson lived right behind each other in University City, a close-knit community in the St. Louis region.  The neighborhood’s “mothers” would be the first ones to hear about any […]

St. Louis family sues police after 63-year-old disabled father is killed in ‘no-knock’ raid

By: - July 8, 2021

Don Clark, a 63-year-old veteran from St. Louis, walked with a cane because his diabetes caused him to have swollen limbs, poor hearing and fading eyesight.  On Feb. 21, 2017, he was exhausted from traveling by bus to his doctor’s appointment, Clark told his son on the phone that day.  After he fell asleep that […]

Can Missouri get out rental assistance fast enough to prevent evictions?

By: - July 6, 2021

Missouri has more than $300 million available in federal housing relief assistance and another $270 million on the way. But with the federal eviction moratorium set to expire July 31, can the state get this money out the door fast enough to keep Missourians in their homes? Since Feb. 15, the state has put $17.4 […]