More Than You Think

St. Louis Public Radio

For the past year, St. Louis Public Radio producer Erin Williams has covered regional race matters, diversity and culture as part of an inaugural fellowship made possible, in part, by a grant from the Public Policy Research Center.

Her last day is today, October 18, 2013, and we wish her well as she continues her journalism career.

Williams' commentary about her one year in St. Louis as well as her conversation with St. Louis on the Air host Don Marsh appear below:

(via Flickr/NWABR)

A multi-disciplinary study released today finds that in relation to school dropout rates, health plays a bigger role than one might think.

The study is part of ‘For The Sake of All,’ a five part series from Washington University and Saint Louis University that focuses on the health of African Americans in the St. Louis region.

Erin Williams

The North City Farmers’ Market in St. Louis is in a neighborhood where the majority of its residents are African American.  It’s been a challenge, however, to attract more of them to the market every week.

Community organizers are attempting to change that. Their idea is to feature African American musicians with the hope that shoppers will follow.

Held on the 2700 block of North 14th Street every Saturday from 10:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m., the North City Farmers' Market will take place through October 12.     

Erin Williams

Linda Kennedy is the artistic associate over education and community programs for The Black Rep, which includes coordinating their annual Summer Performing Arts program for youth ages 8-17.

(Flickr/Claire Cook44)

School system performance is paramount for any family looking to move and start a family, as it was for Rob and Diane Pattershuk, when they moved to Ladue 20 years ago. 

They made a good choice – the district offers a several extracurricular activities, advanced placement classes, and was ranked as the top school in the state on this year’s Newsweek poll of America’s Best High Schools.

Courtesy of College Bound

The school year may be over, but things are just getting started for 17-year-old Destiny Crockett. She graduated from Clyde C. Miller High School in St. Louis with a 4.1 GPA, finished in the top 16 of the Urban Debate League's national competition last month with her partner Cameron Smith, and will be attending Princeton in the fall on a full scholarship. 

Crockett will be the first graduate from her high school and the College Bound program to attend an Ivy League school.

Throughout his career, artist Kerry James Marshall has turned his environment into his muse, turning to the cultural and social landscape of America.

A native of Birmingham, at the age of seven, he moved from the South to the Watts neighborhood of Los Angeles.  He grew up there during the Civil Rights Movement.

Marshall now resides in Chicago and is known for creating series of works based on outdoor landscapes and the interactions of black people within them.

Erin Williams

The St. Louis Initiative to Reduce Violence is a new effort for both the city and county to prevent wrongdoing in its tracks by starting at the source – neighborhoods and communities. The grassroots effort is incorporating a partnership of police officers and community leaders to curb wrongdoing by creating a more approachable relationship among youth and families.

(via Wikimedia Commons)

The Mary Meachum Freedom Crossing, on the banks of the Mississippi River in St. Louis, will be turned into a Civil War training camp tomorrow at the 11th annual Freedom Crossing Event Celebration.

Erin Williams

Fast food workers and community supporters passed out flyers at Jimmy John’s in Soulard today in the continuing fight for better wages and the right to unionize as part of the STL Can’t Survive on 7.35 campaign.

The flyers were passed out in the parking lot of the restaurant around Noon and called for better managerial treatment and higher wages.

Olivia Roffle is a college student who works at another fast food restaurant. She says that if Jimmy John’s wants better service, then they need to create a welcoming environment.

Erin Williams

The intimate crowd was invited to share their thoughts on race and personal identity through spoken word. Guests wrote their six-word stories on the subject using cards from Michele Norris’ The Race Card Project

Erin Willams

At the age of seven, it’s safe to say that most kids want to be just like their parents – walk like them, act like them, work like them. For Diamond Shakoor, that meant being intrigued by her dad Abdul, who at the time was teaching older kids on how to play chess. “I asked him one day if I could play and he was like ‘Sure, if you stop getting in trouble in school.’ And so that’s how the journey started," she says. 

Teach her he did, and now, after playing in nearly 250 tournaments, she’s unstoppable.

Erin Williams

With signs in neon lights, fire hydrants that resemble anything but, and murals and metal sculptures abound, it’s a safe bet to say that The Grove neighborhood is one that thrives heavily on appearance. Much of its open and colorful aesthetic can be attributed to Grace McCammond, an artist who has been creating murals and adding color to fire hydrants and signal boxes in the neighborhood for the past nine years.

“If it holds still pretty much I’ll paint it,” she says.

Courtes of Tony Nitko/Rustic Lantern Films

Local production company Rustic Lantern Films has recently released their debut movie called "Lake Windfall," about five friends on a camping trip that turns disastrous. 

St. Louis rapper Tef Poe.
Courtesy of the Artist

If you don’t know who St. Louis rapper Tef Poe is, then there’s a good chance you haven’t been spending enough time in the digital world. Through his thoughts and lyrics he is trying to shape the way that people think about the politics and daily life of what occurs in the city from his perspective.

Erin Wiliams

The Gay-Straight Alliance of McKinley Classical Junior Academy held a press conference today in opposition of 

the NRA's proposal to train and arm at least one staff member in every school in the U.S. Released today, the report from the NRA's newly-formed National School Shield Taskforce recommends weapons training programs for school resource officers and personnel, and for states to adopt a new law that will allow additional personnel to bear arms.

Courtesy of Missouri History Museum

Every day it is a natural inclination for humans to have a question and seek an answer for it.

Some questions might come across as trivial and silly, and others may dig deeper into one’s life and purpose. And some may help to unify and unfurl decades of preconceived notions.

Erin Williams

If it’s a true statement that art imitates life, then Manuel Hughes is living proof of that.

Erin Williams

After only two years of doing business in north St. Louis, the grocery store known as the Old North Grocery Co-Op may soon close down.

Store manager Jill Whitmann says re-vamping the co-op’s business model to rely primarily on volunteers will help shore up more funds before the end of May, when the budget will tighten.

On Sunday, September 15, 1963, a 14-year old Carolyn McKinstry witnessed an event that would change her life forever – the bombing of the Sixteenth Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, Alabama. The incident killed Carolyn's four friends - and would become an recurring topic of conversation and lasting mark on America's history to this day.