Sharing America | St. Louis Public Radio

Sharing America

The John Robinson Homes opened in 1943 as a segregated apartment complex for black families in East St. Louis.
William Widmer | Special to ProPublica

The door is off its hinges in Farlon Wilson’s bathroom. Wilson said that’s an improvement from when she first moved in, when there was no bathroom door at all. She said she’s putting in work orders to fix the problems nearly every week.

“The tub won’t stop leaking and the floor is about to fall,” Wilson said while demonstrating how the floor bends under the pressure of her foot. “I have no access to my bathroom water, period. I’ve had to turn it off because it’s leaking in my kitchen.”

Downstairs in the kitchen, she motioned to a patch in the ceiling where water once leaked through and later talked about how she and her family’s breathing has been affected by mold. She pays less than $100 a month in rent.

The City of Clayton has apologized to the 10 black Washington University students involved in the July 7 incident.
File Photo | Kae Petrin | St. Louis Public Radio

Updated July 20 at 4:15 p.m. - STLPR journalists Holly Edgell and Chad Davis joined St. Louis on the Air host Don Marsh to provide context and analysis about this story.

Original story from 7/19:

Clayton City Manager Craig Owens, Clayton Police Chief Kevin R. Murphy, and other officials met with several black students who were falsely accused of “dining and dashing” at an IHOP in Clayton.

Owens said the meeting was “emotionally powerful.”

“In hindsight, it is clear to us that we mishandled the interaction with these 10 Washington University students and lacked sensitivity about their everyday reality,” he said in a statement.

Washington University's Brookings Hall
Washington University | Flickr

Updated at 2:20 p.m. on July 17 with information on the city's apology. Updated on July 16 at 4:15 p.m. with comment from Clayton Police Chief  – Washington University asked the city of Clayton to apologize to 10 black incoming freshmen for an incident on July 7, and the city has complied.

The city posted a statement including the apology on its website.

All states experienced an increase in the percentage of interracial and interethnic married-couple households from 2000 to 2012-2016.
U.S. Census Bureau

The rate of interracial marriages in Missouri is increasing at a rate slower than other states, according to a recent U.S. Census Bureau report.

Results from the American Community Survey show the percentage of interracial married-couple households increased from 7.4 to 10.2 percent between 2000 and 2012-2016 nationwide.

St. Louis County's first chief diversity officer is Jack L. Thomas Jr.
St. Louis County

Hiring a chief diversity officer was a key recommendation of the recent disparity study commissioned by St. Louis County.

Jack L. Thomas Jr., a veteran of the workforce diversity and improvement profession, has been tapped to fill the position.

“This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to contribute to the process of developing a culture of inclusiveness within St. Louis County government, with the goal of growing sustainable minority- and women-owned business enterprises,” Thomas said in a statement.

Lawyers Kalilah Jackson and Sandra Park led a discussion in Maplewood informing residents of the city's nuisance ordinance.
Chad Davis | St. Louis Public Radio

Maplewood residents, equal-housing advocates and lawyers participated in a community discussion Wednesday about Maplewood’s controversial public-nuisance ordinance.

The event was organized by the Metropolitan St. Louis Equal Housing and Opportunity Council (EHOC) and the ACLU of Missouri to inform Maplewood residents of their legal rights and encourage residents to urge state and local lawmakers to change nuisance laws. 

Maplewood city attorney Craig Biesterfeld and City Manager Marty Corcoran look through the city code during a meeting with a reporter at Maplewood City Hall.
Jenny Simeone-Cases | St. Louis Public Radio

Maplewood’s thriving business district and respected schools are attractive to potential residents. But, aspiring residents must first apply and be approved for an occupancy permit. Even after such a permit is granted, the city’s public nuisance ordinance allows it to be revoked under certain conditions.

The ACLU of Missouri and the St. Louis Equal Housing and Opportunity Council on Wednesday are co-hosting what they bill as a “community discussion” about Maplewood's public nuisance ordinance. The event is intended to help residents understand the ordinance and their rights when it comes to enforcement.

David Kovaluk | St. Louis Public Radio

The ArchCity Defenders, a non-profit law firm focused on civil rights, will soon announce their Excellence in Poverty Journalism Awards to recognize journalists who cover race, class and poverty in depth.

A faded and tattered U.S. flag catches the breeze in the yard of a vacant property in the Gravois Park neighborhood on June 30, 2018.
Brian Heffernan | St. Louis Public Radio

Gravois Park has an unlikely advocate for inclusive development in a 12-year-old girl who wants to see the vacant buildings and lots on her block be transformed into safe, liveable places.

Deyon Ryan’s passion for the issue is partly influenced by her father, DeAndre Brown, who has been vocal on the issue. Deyon wrote about the vacancy problem in school and it caught the attention of local groups.

Redditt Hudson, of the Urban League of St. Louis, was one of several local advocates responding to the 2017 Vehicle Stops Report on June 4, 2018.
Ashley Lisenby | St. Louis Public Radio

Black drivers are more likely to be stopped by police than other groups in Missouri. That’s what a report from Attorney General Josh Hawley’s office shows from data collected in 2017.

The annual Vehicle Stops Report shows black drivers were stopped at a rate of 85 percent higher than white drivers throughout the state. Black and Hispanic drivers were searched at higher rates than average as well. In cases of searches, white drivers were reportedly found with contraband more often.

Manager Cordell Lewis manages a team of 18 at the Ferguson Starbucks, which opened in 2016.
Starbucks

Updated June 1 with "St. Louis on the Air" segment – St. Louis Public Radio reporter Ashley Lisenby joined the show to talk about her locally focused reporting around implicit bias as Starbucks conducted company-wide training earlier this week.

Original story from May 30:

Employees at thousands of Starbucks stores went back to work Wednesday after a half-day seminar on Tuesday focused on company policies and discrimination.

In statements to the news media, Nordstrom Rack spokeswoman said normal procedures for calling police were not followed in the May incident.
File photo

The anti-bias training that closed Starbucks stores across the U.S. for a few hours Tuesday is over. Will it change anything?

That’s what one St. Louisan is asking after he was recently racially profiled at a local Nordstrom Rack. Mekhi Lee, 19, and his two friends were shopping at the store in early May when employees accused them of stealing. Lee said they had receipts to prove they paid for items.

The incident happened a couple of weeks after two men in Philadelphia were arrested after waiting in a Starbucks, an incident that led to nationwide anti-bias training for company employees.

Michelle Tyrene Johnson, a reporter at KCUR in Kansas City, conducted diversity and bias training for employers for more than 15 years.
KCUR

Starbucks stores across the country will be closed on Tuesday afternoon. The company announced it would use the half day to “conduct racial-bias education geared toward preventing discrimination in our stores.”

Starbucks announced the move in April after video of police arresting two black men at a Philadelphia location went viral. An employee had called police because the men, who were waiting for someone, had not ordered anything and were refusing to leave. One of the pair had asked to the use the restroom.

Stilwell, Kansas, is an unlikely place to find a Muslim Quran reciter who has over a million followers each on both Instagram and Facebook.

But for now, that's where you can find Fatih Seferagic.

When Seferagic was just four years old, his family fled war-torn Bosnia. He eventually ended up in Houston, Texas, when he was 14 years old and that’s when he gained a following after putting his Quran recitations up on YouTube.

The task force will explore what kinds of affordable housing county residents need and how to finance the trust fund.
Creative Commons

Housing experts say goals to build more moderate-cost housing to St. Louis County could founder without incentives. Developers are less likely to build properties for low-income renters without them because the cost of development could outweigh profits.

The 2018 For the Sake of All report, “Segregation in St. Louis: Dismantling the Divide,” shows how neighborhoods a few miles apart vary in unemployment, poverty, income and life expectancy rates. It identifies how a few changes in housing policies in the region could give low-income households greater access to areas with more opportunities, such as employment. Several organizations, including ArchCity Defenders, Empower Missouri and Metropolitan St. Louis Equal Housing and Opportunity Council, helped produce the report. 

Michael and Danielle Abril pose for a portrait in front of their home in Kirkwood's Meacham Park neighborhood. April 2018
Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

Michael and Danielle Abril are active members of the Meacham Park Neighborhood Association. They show up at meetings. They volunteer. They help inform others in the community.

“Meacham Park is a blessing to us because it allowed us to be relatively close to my work and in a great place, a great community,” Michael Abril said.

The neighborhood is a mostly black area of Kirkwood that had been segregated from the rest of the city for years. But that’s changing.

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.

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