Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation Launches St. Louis Commission Countering Marxist Misinformation Groups

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ST. LOUIS, MO — The Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation (VOC) launches its first commission combatting Marxist misinformation groups in St. Louis Wednesday, October 3, bringing its national mission to the local community.

As a city with a long history of welcoming immigrants, particularly those coming from Eastern Europe and Southeast Asia as political refugees, St. Louis has been chosen as the ideal location for the establishment of VOC’s first local commission, VOC-STL. “One hundred million people have been killed by Communist regimes within one hundred years, and we are committed to making this known across the United States,” says Executive Director Marion Smith. “Research indicates that American millennials are widely misinformed about communism and the crimes committed in its name,” Smith notes, and VOC is working to reverse this trend by telling the truth and educating the public about communism.   

This past March Smith spoke with local business owner Cheri Elder in St. Louis, whose antique store was vandalized with symbols of communism including a hammer and sickle along with the acronym  “MLM,” representing a communist political philosophy of “Marxism-Leninism-Maoism” as reported in the St. Louis Post Dispatch on February 27th, 2018.  In addition to this vandalism, a number of organizations and online discussions indicate a rising support of communism and the ironic use of its symbols to represent justice and equality.

The commission launches with a local billboard series featuring powerful facts and sobering testimonials from survivors of oppressive Communist regimes. “Many people including young Americans are unaware of this history,” Smith explains, “and therefore open to the glorification of its symbols.”  

Since its congressional authorization in 1993, VOC has continued its commitment to education. “The St. Louis commission is a significant development, and the foundation is a sophisticated operation with a history of success and a distinguished leadership team,” says local Commission Director Kim McGrath. McGrath will lead VOC-STL along with a team of volunteers, and has already begun working with individuals and local organizations. In March nearly two hundred people turned out for the VOC educator workshop and screening of “Ashes in the Snow,” a film based on an award winning novel about a young Lithuanian artist exiled to Siberia under Stalin's rule. Followed by a celebration of Lithuanian Independence day in Swansea, Illinois, this event marked an exciting beginning to a long-term effort.

VOC-STL will locally advance the mission of VOC to “educate future generations about the ideology, history, and legacy of communism.”  Additional information on VOC-STL can be found here


***MEDIA, PLEASE RSVP TO ELIZABETH@JAVELINDC.COM***

The Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation (VOC) is a Washington-based, non-profit educational and human rights organization devoted to commemorating the more than 100 million victims of communism around the world and to the freedom of those still living under totalitarian regimes. VOC was authorized by a unanimous act of Congress on December 17, 1993 and signed by President Bill Clinton.

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To schedule an interview with Marion Smith or Kim McGrath, or for more information, please contact Elizabeth Aucamp at elizabeth@javelindc.com.