2019 Ethical Society of St. Louis Ethics in Action Award to Joyce Best, lifelong activist for peace, justice, and racial equality.
Joyce and her husband, Steve Best, worked together for many years on various social causes, and they raised their children at the Ethical Society of St. Louis. Joyce was an active member of the Committee on Racial Equality and was featured in the recent Missouri History Museum’s exhibit on the civil rights movement in St. Louis. She participated in sit-ins and other interracial actions, including helping to form the Freedom of Residence group in St. Louis.
Joyce was active in Mothers and Children Together, which sponsored visits of children with mothers in prison, and in her profession as a librarian, she helped establish a library at Pruitt-Igoe. She is a longtime active member of the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom, and with that group she helped establish a children’s peace camp in University City, planning and administrating the camp and working there each day as a volunteer for several summers. She also locally coordinates the national Jane Addams Children’s Book Award, which recognizes children’s books that promote interracial harmony and world peace.
Joyce’s Ethical Society work includes serving on the Board of Trustees, and years of active participation in the Sunday School, including as volunteer director; in many committees, notably the Ethical Action Committee, and single-handedly administering the Gilpin Fund utility assistance program; and serving in multiple roles in the Tuesday Women’s Association. She continues to be a strong and persuasive voice of conscience at the Society.