Joan Suarez

St. Louis, April 12, 2021 – Bread and Roses Missouri has established the Joan Suarez Director’s Fund with $20,000 from lead donors, including a $15,000 donation received from Workers United; $1,500 from Missouri Jobs With Justice; $1,000 from the Eugene V. Debs Foundation and $2,500 pledged on day one from individual supporters.  The organization has set a goal to match the $20,000 in lead donations with another $20,0000 from organizations and individuals nationwide.

The fund was established to:

  • Honor Joan Suarez’s long career as an outstanding activist and organizer.
  • Provide donors with a specific, visible outcome associated with their support.
  • Serve as a catalyst and provide resources for the continued development of relevant, original works for the Workers’ Theater group to perform in alignment with Bread and Roses’ mission.
  • Support long-term curriculum development for the Youth Initiative empowering young people in under-resourced and immigrant communities to find and activate their voices for justice.

The fund will initially support programming such as the commissioned productions of Mrs. Palmer’s Honey – a 1946 novel by St. Louisan Fannie Cook which depicts how race, class, and workers’ rights intersected during World War II in the historic Ville Neighborhood. 

The novel has been adapted by playwright Cassandra Medley as a 2021 radio play, directed by Kathryn Bentley with original music written by Colin McLaughlin. Nearly 500 viewers have enjoyed the early table reading which Bread and Roses shared on YouTube in 2020. During the pandemic, the team pivoted to a plan for using the traditional art form of a radio play to produce Mrs. Palmer’s Honey in collaboration with St. Louis Public Radio.

Additional resources in the Director’s Fund will be used to advance other programs such as the Bread and Roses Missouri Youth Initiative workshops and the Workers’ Theater group. 

About Bread and Roses Missouri
Bread and Roses Missouri uses an arts lens to examine social and economic justice issues in all our programming. We believe that cultural and creative expression are a means to effect deep and lasting social change. The labor hymn for which our organization is named reminds us: “Hearts starve as well as bodies…Give us bread and give us roses.”

To achieve our mission, we organize and participate in arts and humanities events, exhibits and workshops for and about workers and their families. In this way, we address the root causes of poverty and inequality.  Learn more about programs, news and ways to support us by contacting Elyse Mack, Executive Director or visiting

For more information about how to become a lead or matching donor, please contact Roseann Weiss, Board Member and Development Chair at

Donors who would like to contribute can make a no-fee, tax-free donation via PayPal Giving Fund or by check, designating “Director’s Fund” and mail check payable to: Bread and Roses Missouri, 2725 Clifton Avenue St. Louis, MO 63139


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