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Saffiyah Poole Joins CFPI

A Letter from Our New Assistant Director

Dear Friends,  

I am incredibly honored to step into the role of associate director at the Clark-Fox Policy Institute.

It is a full circle moment realized — merging my passion and dedication for community engagement and social justice to elevate the most pressing concerns of the people, with the people. The mission of the institute aligns with my personal purpose to work in collaboration with historically underserved groups as a mechanism to dismantle oppressive structural systems.

This explicit and deliberate focus is crucial to the process of developing equitable pathways for individuals and communities that have disproportionately experienced avoidable injustice, in all forms. We cannot do this work alone. It is only through the changemakers on the ground, our community partners, and policymakers that we are able to make a collective impact in the St. Louis region and beyond.

Saffiyah Poole of Clark-Fox Policy Institute

 As a mom of two young sons and a St. Louis native, this work is extremely personal for me 

The institute is fully committed to the continuation of pushing the limits to think deep and wide about how we will collectively improve the lives of the children and the adults who care for them. As a mom of two young sons and a St. Louis native, this work is extremely personal for me and are additional drivers behind my tireless quest to make a significant contribution to our identified priority areas.

Undoubtedly, I am standing on the shoulders of giants who have steered the institute on an amazing journey of tangibly advancing racial equity through various strategic approaches. I am grateful for the vision of Maxine Clark, Bob Fox, and the founding advisory committee, who recognized that high impact positive change can be achieved through the development and dissemination of evidence-based policy solutions. I deeply appreciate the blueprint that has been laid by my esteemed predecessor, Atia Thurman. Her immeasurable contributions have inspired me to further amplify and carry the significant work that she realized. The institute is now ready for the voyage ahead and I look forward to charting this path alongside such a force of a leader, Gary Parker.     

In parting, I would like to share a quote, from Dr. Martin Luther King Jr’s. historically relevant book, Where Do We Go from Here: Chaos or Community?, that I reflect and lean on often, “Power at its best is love implementing the demands of justice. Justice at its best is love correcting everything that stands against love.” Let us allow his profound words to authentically and intentionally move us to seek a deeper understanding of the needs of our communities through radical listening, collaboration, and unwavering action.     

In truth, reconciliation, and solidarity,  
Saffiyah Poole, MPH, MHA 
Associate Director