East St. Louis groups work to raise voter and census awareness

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EAST ST. LOUIS, Ill. — The presidential primaries are complete in Missouri. But, they will be in full swing next Tuesday in Illinois. Live Free held training to help raise voter and census awareness in East St. Louis.

“We are in an election year, which is very critical, also census. We understand that if people don’t get counted that that takes away the resources for the community,” said Live Free Organizer Larita Rice-Barnes.

Live Free is a nationwide campaign that is working in communities to fight against gun violence, mass incarceration, voter engagement, and census awareness. The organization held a training session tonight to educate the community on the importance of voting and filling out census forms.

“If you don’t get counted, you won’t get a cut. So, understanding that it creates a lack of resources for the community and directed to them to the areas that they can actually go to vote and actually go to fill out their census information,” said Larita Rice-Barnes.

Organizers are excited about the support they have gained from city officials in East St. Louis and feel strongly that getting out into neighborhoods first-hand will help residents feel more comfortable come election and census time.

Live Free partners with faith and action and is hoping to get more clergies in East St. Louis to join them in their mission.

“We’re just beginning here in East St. Louis. We’re excited about the response, and we are looking for credible messengers. We are after people who have been in the trenches, who have been down and out, and who can stand and speak for themselves,” said Juard Barnes of Midwest Regional Manager of Faith in Action.

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