This week, St. Louis Public Radio launched The Listening Project, which will examine health, education and economic disparities in St. Louis’ African-American communities.
The Listening Project is based on For the Sake of All, a study that made five recommendations to improve the health and well-being of St. Louisans. The recommendations were made before the Aug. 9 shooting death of Michael Brown by then-police officer Darren Wilson, in Ferguson.
The Listening Project will talk to St. Louisans about those recommendations.
“We’re going out into communities and engaging them on these issues, and also discussing the findings from the For the Sake of All project and asking ‘Do these recommendations make sense to you? Are they applicable to your lifestyle? What would you like to see happen in your neighborhood?’” Wendy Todd, the project’s social media coordinator, told “St. Louis on the Air” host Don Marsh on Wednesday. “We’re really hoping that people will be willing to be really frank about the challenges.”
The Listening Project website is divided into categories, and includes curated articles about health, education, economics and St. Louis’ history of segregation, as well as stories by St. Louis Public Radio reporters and other across the country, said Sally Altman, St. Louis Public Radio’s manager of news partnerships.
While For the Sake of All focused on African-American disparities, Altman said the study is important to everyone in the St. Louis region.
“A healthy, economically prosperous community is critical to every citizen,” Altman said. “The cost to the community of a college dropout is a cost that we all feel in tax receipts and less business being done in the community, in increased social services to individuals. It matters to us. Every child born in the St. Louis area should be of interest to us because every child grows into an adult who contributes to our economic prosperity.”
The yearlong Listening Project is funded through a grant from the Missouri Foundation for Health.
“St. Louis on the Air” discusses issues and concerns facing the St. Louis area. The show is produced by Mary Edwards and Alex Heuer and hosted by veteran journalist Don Marsh. Follow us on Twitter: @STLonAir.