Ashley Lisenby | St. Louis Public Radio

Ashley Lisenby

Race, Identity and Culture Reporter

Ashley Lisenby is the race, identity and culture reporter at St. Louis Public Radio. She came to KWMU from the St. Louis Post-Dispatch where she was a general assignment reporter who mostly covered county municipal government issues. Before making the switch to radio, Ashley covered Illinois government for The Associated Press in Springfield, Illinois, and neighborhood goings-on at a weekly newspaper in a Chicago suburb. Ashley is a Chicago native (yes, the city not the suburbs). She has a master’s degree in public affairs reporting from the University of Illinois and a bachelor’s degree in journalism from Boston University.

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Whitney Gipson thanks supporters outside the St. Louis City Justice Center. Gipson is one of three women bailed out of jail by Expect Us activists ahead of Mother's Day. (May 12, 2018)
Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

Whitney Gipson was one of three women bailed out of jail before Mother’s Day thanks to the efforts of St. Louis activists. Expect Us raised nearly $3,000 through an online fundraiser. 

Members of Expect Us met with other advocates at the St. Louis Justice Center on Saturday. The event included food, children’s activities and short speeches by local demonstrators and leaders, including Democratic Missouri Rep. Bruce Franks.

Gipson, 26, told a small crowd about her experiences while staying at the city’s two jails.

Camp creator Michael Ford with a camper in May 2017.
The HipHop Architecture Camp

About 2 percent of architects in the U.S. are African-American. That’s a statistic Michael Ford wants to change by inspiring young people to think of new ways to solve urban development problems that segregate and marginalize low-income communities.

Ford wants to achieve this goal using  hip-hop music and culture. He created The Hip-Hop Architecture Camp in 2017.

Hari Kondabolu at St. Louis Public Radio on Friday, May 4.
David Kovaluk | St. Louis Public Radio

Hari Kondabolu is not afraid to talk about the topics that make people uncomfortable. Sexism, racism, colonialism — all the “isms” you can think of — are fair game at his shows.

To that he says, why wouldn’t I?

Rebecca Wanzo, co-organizer of Dwell in Other Futures: art/ urbanism/ midwest
Rebbeca Wanzo

National and local artists will explore the past, present and future of city life in an upcoming exhibition in St. Louis.

Organizers of Dwell in Other Futures: art/ urbanism/ midwest say the event will expose attendees to the ways urban development constructs and reinforces how people engage, or don’t, with public spaces and the people around them.

People protest against the criminalization of poverty in downtown St. Louis in on July 21, 2016.
File photo | Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

Forward Through Ferguson is encouraging locals to imagine a St. Louis devoid of racial inequity by the year 2039.

That year will mark 25 years since the shooting death of Michael Brown in Ferguson.

The non-profit group released a preliminary action plan on Wednesday, in which community leaders and residents considered benchmark goals for the next three years. A full report will be available in June.

Business owners in Jeffrey Plaza on Olive Boulevard say they have not been receiving updates about a proposed development that would displace them.
Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

St. Louis once had a thriving hub for Chinese immigrants moving to the city. Historical records show in 1894 there were about 1,000 people of Chinese heritage living in St. Louis, many of whom had moved to the region from California in the middle part of the century.

A St. Louis Public Radio listener wanted to know how so many Chinese businesses came to exist at Olive Boulevard near Interstate 170 in University City. The listener also wanted to know why hasn’t there been more expansion of Asian businesses there. 

Statewide population data shows that females in Missouri ages 16 and older who work full-time jobs all year won’t earn as much as men until 2066.
David Kovaluk | St. Louis Public Radio

While pay for most Missouri women lags behind that of men, leaders at the Women’s Foundation of Greater St. Louis say some local businesses are leading the way in compensation as well as hiring and promoting women.

The organization released results from a 2017 Employment Scorecard survey ahead of Equal Pay Day, April 10, a symbolic date that draws awareness to pay inequality between men and women, and some cases among women themselves. 

Cardinal Ritter student leaders Deja Brown (left), senior class president, and Darius White, sophomore class officer reflected on Dr. King's legacy in April 2018.
Kae Petrin | St. Louis Public Radio

On March 14, students Cardinal Ritter College Prep High School walked out of their school and through their Grand Center neighborhood in St. Louis, stopping on the steps of St. Francis Xavier College Church.

Among the Cardinal Ritter students who took part in the walkout, were two members of the school’s student council: Deja Brown, 17, is senior class president, and Darius White, 16 who is a sophomore class officer.

For African-Americans and people from Africa and the African diaspora, the 2020 census is already raising questions.
David Kovaluk | St. Louis Public Radio

The 2020 census is still two years away, but there is plenty of buzz about what the federal survey will ask, including questions about citizenship and country of origin.

For the first time, people will be able to write in their origins in a blank box on the census instead of just checking a race.

The survey, which happens every ten years, is designed to count the population so federal funds can be allocated across the country. But the new questions about where people come from can generate confusion or suspicion — especially from African-Americans, who may not know where their ancestors originated, or immigrants who believe their responses might be used against them in the future.

St. Louis Public Radio and other local news outlets took a guided tour of the Medium Security Institution, also known as the Workhouse, in March 2018.
Ashley Lisenby | St. Louis Public Radio

St. Louis public safety officials want city residents to know people jailed at the St. Louis Medium Security Institution are treated humanely despite allegations to the contrary.

In March, the mayor’s spokesman invited reporters to tour the jail — commonly known as the Workhouse — after weeks of requests for access from local press. A pending lawsuit against the jail by ArchCity Defenders alleges inhumane conditions, including poor ventilation, rodent and insect infestation and problems with black mold.

Public Safety Director Jimmie Edwards and Corrections Commissioner Dale Glass fended off the claims in the lawsuit.

The students will participate in after-school, mentor and summer programs to help them learn skills that could help them in and outside of school, such as conflict management.
Stephanie Zimmerman

The St. Louis County Department of Public Health is one of ten agencies in the U.S. to receive a large federal grant to address trauma among youth in low-income areas.

The department will receive about $425,000 a year for four years to operate Project RESTORE, or Reconciliation and Empowerment to Support Tolerance and Race Equity, in partnership with county police, the University of Missouri-St. Louis, Southern Illinois University Carbondale and three north County school districts: Hazelwood, University City and Normandy.

Alderman Jeffrey Boyd, January 2017
File photo | Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

St. Louis Alderman Jeffrey Boyd, Ward 22, wants city residents, women and people of color to have a fair shot at city construction contracts.

Boyd and representatives from city contract boards advocated for his proposed measure, BB 270, on Tuesday. It would refine and enforce rules already in place that require contractors to consider women and minorities for work.

People wait to enter the Check Your Blind Spot mobile museum outside the Express Scripts headquarters in St. Louis County on Monday, March 5, 2017.
Express Scripts

Dozens of people visited a mobile museum dedicated to educating the public about unconscious bias at the Express Scripts headquarters in north St. Louis County on Monday.

More than 350 corporate executives and university presidents signed a pledge to address unconscious bias in the workplace. Local leaders at Edward Jones, Reinsurance Group of America, Inc. and St. Louis-based manufacturing company Emerson are among companies who also signed the pledge.

#MeToo founder Tarana Burke talks about the evolution of the movement that aims to help sexual harassment survivors.  She spoke at Webster University on Feb. 19. 2018.
Ashley Lisenby | St. Louis Public Radio

The #MeToo movement isn’t about what you think it’s about, founder Tarana Burke told an audience at Webster University’s Loretto-Hilton Center on Monday.

Burke dispelled three common misconceptions she believes have overshadowed the message of #MeToo, including who the movement is for and what it’s supposed to accomplish.

“This is not about taking down powerful men,” Burke said. “That was a corporate response. The women who stood up have just wanted to be heard and believed.”

Ty'Chila Thomas answers trivia questions during a L.O.V.E Project session at Lafayette High School in Wildwood. Feb. 14, 2018
Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

For three years Shante Duncan has facilitated The L.O.V.E. Project with freshman girls at Lafayette High School in Wildwood. She talks to the girls about school and anything else they want to share about their personal lives.

This month, Duncan centered the session around important African-American females, from Ida B. Wells to Henrietta Lacks, a black woman whose cervical cancer cells advanced medical research.

Tara Thompson, of Hands Up United, leads a vigil and march to honor and remember slain black women in downtown St. Louis on July 13, 2016.
File photo | Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

 

Unarmed black women are more likely to be killed in police encounters, according to a national Washington University study.

Public attention on police-involved shootings has drawn a critical eye toward black men, but Odis Johnson, Washington University education and sociology professor, said the number of unarmed black women killed in police encounters significantly increases overall odds for unarmed black people as a whole.

Kirkwood City Hall was the scene of fatal shootings on Feb. 7, 2008.
Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

Ten years after Charles Lee “Cookie” Thornton opened fire at Kirkwood City Hall, some residents hope the city is learning to empathize with the experiences of non-white people and encourage understanding across racial and socioeconomic lines.

Thornton shot and killed five people and wounded others at Kirkwood City Hall on Feb. 7, 2008. Two police officers and two council members were among those killed. Police killed Thornton at the scene.

A police officer speaks to a woman after an October 2016, shooting.
File photo | Camille Phillips | St. Louis Public Radio

After 205 people died from gun violence in St. Louis last year, the city's research universities and hospitals decided to take steps to reduce such deaths. Police data show there have been 10 homicides in St. Louis this year so far. 

The St. Louis Area Hospital-Based Violence Intervention Program, to begin this summer, will employ medical treatment and therapy to reduce deaths and new injuries among gunshot, stabbing and assault victims.

Washington University, Saint Louis University and the University of Missouri-St. Louis will collaborate on the effort. The medical centers involved include Barnes-Jewish Hospital, St. Louis Children’s Hospital, SSM Health Saint Louis University Hospital and SSM Health Cardinal Glennon Children’s Hospital.

St. Louis Mayor Lyda Krewson addresses the media on July 14, 2017.
File photo | Rachel Lippmann | St. Louis Public Radio

Concerns over whether city resources are equally distributed to people of color and poor residents have prompted a shift to assess St. Louis policies.

Mayor Lyda Krewson has hired Cristina Garmendia to manage the Equity Indicators project to develop a tool that measures equity.

“This project provides an opportunity to develop a common set of goals and measurements to guide institutional decision-making and empower residents to hold us accountable to the priorities identified by the community in the Forward Through Ferguson report,” Garmendia said in a statement.

Lara Hamdan | St. Louis Public Radio

Young women and mothers at the St. Louis Women’s March for Truth want people to know they plan on leading the world into a more equal society.

Maplewood teen Anabel Parveno held a sign with words from Oprah Winfrey’s Golden Globes speech: “A new day is on the horizon.”

“It’s time for a change, you know,” Parveno said. “And if women keep coming out like this to this march and we keep speaking up against all these injustices, a new dawn is going to come, and we’re gonna rule.”

Parveno, 16, said those injustices for her include the wage gap and sexual harassment.

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