St. Louis native and New York City Alderman Brad Lander is the keynote speaker at the St. Louis Regional Neighborhoods Conference on Saturday, Oct. 27 at the Harris-Stowe State University Givens Campus. The St. Louis Association of Community Organizations (SLACO) sponsors the conference where local community leaders share information and address issues to advance the region.

The principal co-sponsors are HSSU, the University of Missouri-St. Louis and The Institute for Urban Research (IUR) at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville.

This year’s theme, “Great Neighborhoods for a Greater Community,” highlights key neighborhood issues impacting the St. Louis metropolitan area. The goal is to offer practical “how-to” information on programs designed to renew neighborhoods and encourage collaboration and partnership among neighborhood organizations, including civic and political leaders.

Lander’s keynote address is “From the Ground Up: Building Great Communities through Public Participation and Public Policy.” A New York City Council member who represents Brooklyn’s 39th District, he is co-chair of the Council’s Progressive Caucus, which fights for good jobs, equitable development, and investments in public schools and transportation. He is well-known as a leader on issues of affordable housing, livable communities, the environment and public education. The Nation magazine named Lander one of “Today’s Social Justice Heroes.”

Also addressing the conference are City of St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay, St. Louis County Executive Charlie Dooley, East St. Louis Mayor Alvin Parks, retiring St. Louis Police Chief Daniel Isom, and the Rev. Starsky Wilson, president and chief executive officer of the Deaconess Foundation.

The conference features over 20 workshops. Workshops include topics of place-making, arts, branding, healthy eating and active living, vacant lots, community partnerships and engagement and more. Registration begins at 8 a.m. with the program starting at 8:30. Individual registration is $20. To pre-register and learn more about SLACO and the conference, visit: or call (314)-516-6590.

This year represents the launching of a new and expanded SLACO, as a working partnership with the region’s elected leaders and the academic community. The goal is to build the capacity and skills of a new generation of neighborhood leaders who are committed to open and responsive governance, while building opportunities for all residents.