Racial Disparity | St. Louis Public Radio

Racial Disparity

St. Louis Alderman Terry Kennedy leaves a committee hearing
Jenny Simeone | St. Louis Public Radio

Should the Board of Aldermen consider if its policies are fair to communities of color when making decisions?

Members of the Engrossment Rules, Resolutions, and Credentials committee think so. Today the committee approved a plan recommending that the full board apply a "racial equity lens" to city policy decisions.

But, what is a racial equity lens?

Jenny Simeone | St. Louis Public Radio

Community activists draped banners over several overpasses over westbound Interstate 70 on Wednesday to call attention to neglected parts of St. Louis and protest police killings of black people.

Each banner greeted commuters heading into St. Louis County with messages like “Black Lives Matter,” “Police Stop Killing Us” and “Invest in North City.” Kayla Reed, one of the organizers with the St. Louis Action Council, said they chose I-70 because it allows drivers to pass quickly through areas with high rates of unemployment, infant mortality and crime.

Jacqueline Hutchinson, Co-Chair of the St. Louis Equal Housing and Community Reinvestment Alliance SLEHCRA coalition, discussed Tuesday a new report that indicates significant racial and income disparities in home purchase lending in St. Louis.
Wiley Price | The St. Louis American

Amid a long stretch of boarded-up store fronts in the Baden neighborhood, a coalition of equal-housing advocates rallied outside today to decry the mortgage lending disparities in the St. Louis region.

State Sen. Jamilah Nasheed, D-St. Louis, listens as state Rep. Shamed Dogan, R-Ballwin, explains the Fair and Impartial Policing Act. The two lawmakers are co-sponsors.
Caleb Codding | St. Louis Public Radio

Updated at 3 p.m. with comments from Nasheed, Dogan and others - Police departments in Missouri that continually engage in racial profiling could be stripped of their certification under legislation introduced in Jefferson City on Tuesday.

The “Fair and Impartial Policing Act,” sponsored by state Rep. Shamed Dogan, R-Ballwin, and state Sen. Jamilah Nasheed, D-St. Louis, would be the first significant update to the state’s anti-racial profiling law, which originally passed in 2000. In addition to tightening enforcement for failure to collect data, the new law also requires departments to document pedestrian as well as traffic stops and expands the information collected during the stops.

James Cridland via Flickr

The St. Louis regional economy would see an increase of almost $14 billion if income were equal across racial lines. That’s according to a new report published by the Public Policy Research Center at the University of Missouri-St. Louis.

“That’s the kind of money that turns over in the economy to the degree that it translates into increases in property values and translates into increases available for education. There are just all kinds of implications for that level of change,” said Mark Tranel, the director of the Public Policy Research Center.

(via Flickr/Tracy O)

A new study from the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis finds families with higher levels of education attain more wealth, and that the wealth gap between educational attainment levels is growing.

But the authors also stress that education alone does not explain the differences in these outcomes.

Secretary of Education Arne Duncan
Tim Lloyd | St. Louis Public Radio

The high school graduation rate has hit an all-time high in America of 81 percent, and in Missouri it climbed to 85.7 percent during the 2013-14 school year. As more students earned high school diplomas, the gap between graduation rates for white and minority students also began to narrow, both nationally and in Missouri.

Education summit-goers applaud keynote speaker John Jackson of Schott Foundation for Public Education Saturday Nov. 1, 2014 at St. John's UCC.
Camille Phillips | St. Louis Public Radio

St. Louis community and faith-based organizations renewed a commitment to increasing equity in public schools at an education summit Saturday sponsored Metropolitan Congregations United, United Congregations of Metro East and the St. Louis chapter of the American Federation of Teachers.

A mix of educators, faith leaders and community members spent the day in discussion, worship and planning for a November 20 walk-in in support for community schools.

Camille Phillips/St. Louis Public Radio

The St. Louis region received poor marks in a new report Wednesday that compares its levels of racial disparity and segregation to 34 similar metropolitan areas.

The report is an update to the East-West Gateway Council of Government's Where We Stand, which compiles data in order to measure the region on a yardstick with its peers across the country.

Sherry Payne

A Missouri registered nurse who had to abandon plans to walk across the state to raise awareness of black infant mortality rates made her final stop in St. Louis Friday.

Sherry Payne, who is the director of the perinatal health organization Uzazi Village based in Kansas City, gave a presentation at St. Louis University on ways to improve birth outcomes for black babies.

David Broome | UPI

Distance, whether measured in space or time, is often a friend to understanding. It clarifies where proximity distorts, allows us to grasp things in their entirety.

Protesters are greeted by a wall of police officers after a march to the Ferguson Police department on August 11, 2014.
Bill Greenblatt | UPI / UPI

The calls for greater representation of minorities in the region's law enforcement ranks have grown louder in the wake of the death of 18-year-old Michael Brown at the hands of a Ferguson police officer. Protesters want to see more minorities especially in the police departments serving predominantly African-American communities.

Two-thirds of Ferguson’s residents are black, according to 2013 census records. But there are only three African Americans on the city’s 53-member police force. The city council is also predominantly white, as is the mayor.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: African-American drivers in Missouri are more likely to be pulled over by police although subsequent vehicle searches show that white drivers are more likely to be carrying something illegal.

And Hispanic drivers -- while the least likely to be pulled over -- are the most likely of the three groups to be searched. While they were the least likely to be carrying anything illegal, Hispanic drivers were the most likely to get arrested.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: July 28, 2008 - CNN's special report on being Black in America raised a host of issues, but the one that stood out to me most is education.

The achievement gap is not a new problem. Black children continue to under-perform and we continue to be unsure how to remedy the situation. The special raised the question of whether students should receive monetary incentives for good grades.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: July 11, 2008 - The recent controversy regarding the Rev. Jesse Jackson's comments directed at Sen. Barack Obama along with the larger commentary drive home the complexities of the various levels of racism. If we fail to recognize these complexities, we miss the real issue at hand: Racism is not one-dimensional, rather it exists on individual, cultural and institutional levels.