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Racial Equity

  • St. Louis University is converting its African American Studies program into a full department this fall. Faculty and students have championed the effort since the early 1970s and say it’s a big step for equality.
  • For the Rev. Michelle Higgins, pastoral work shares deep ties with social justice activism. The self-described “protester who has become a pastor” is the first Black woman to permanently lead the congregation at Saint John’s Church (the Beloved Community) in north St. Louis.
  • The We Live Here team balances deep dives into systemic issues with inspiring stories about people working to make a difference in their own communities. So when a listener reached out and introduced us to the work of Jeffrey “JD” Dixon, an activist organizing cleanups and coalitions in East St. Louis, a predominantly Black city in Illinois, we knew that we’d have to drive across the river to share his story. In this episode, we’ll learn about JD’s demand for legislative reform, hear from a political science professor about the legacy of industrial suburbs, and talk to a reporter about how JD is one of many Black residents in the Metro East area of Illinois who are pushing back against environmental racism.
  • St. Louis is consistently listed as one of the worst “Asthma Capitals” in the country by the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America. During the pandemic, environmental issues such as dust from demolitions and housing conditions make it even harder for people to breathe. In this episode, we hear from a chronic disease epidemiologist and health education coordinator about an initiative to create healthier homes, an educator who collects racial and ethnic data to help us understand environmental issues in our region, and a reverend putting matters into his own hands to help his community live in a healthier environment.
  • Over the past months, we’ve seen civil unrest across the country in a renewed uprising for Black lives and the fight to hold police accountable. But we should not forget the painters, poets, musicians, and more who have decided that through their art they can motivate people to move into action. In this episode, we’ll hear from a young man who found beauty in destruction and created a group for local Black artists, the founder of ART House will share about how she is building a place for artists of color to thrive in their own community, and the founder of UrbArts will teach us about art’s ability to uncover systemic racism and how we can create a marketplace to support Black artists in a more meaningful way.
  • The call to defund the police has gained steam as activists and advocates bring attention to police budgets that they believe could be better allocated to education, healthcare, and social services. At the heart of this call is the question of whether or not police increase public safety. Growing numbers of people are joining a movement to abolish the current system of policing and imagine new structures for responding to mental health crises, domestic violence, and social problems created by poverty and racism. In this episode, we talk to the co-chairs of St. Louis’ Coalition Against Police Crimes and Repression about police accountability and the tension between efforts to reform and desire to abolish the current system of policing.
  • Enterprise Holdings Foundation will donate millions to national and global organizations to boost opportunities for people of color and to fight hunger.
  • Many schools have started hybrid in-person and online learning, even as coronavirus cases keep rising and students continue to experience disparities in accessing technology, meeting their daily needs, and learning at home. So in this episode, we’ll hear from a first generation college student who has been helping her community navigate the education system and an executive director of a local education-based nonprofit will share what parents and families face when navigating the St. Louis Public Schools system and how that impacts students’ experiences with higher education. And then, we’ll zoom all the way out to examine why St. Louis’ educational landscape remains uneven and segregated over six decades after the Brown vs. Board of Education decision.This episode was produced with the help of Lindy Drew, Lead Storyteller and Co-Founder of Humans of St. Louis, which is a paid content partner of Navigate STL Schools and Forward through Ferguson. As always, We Live Here’s coverage remains independent.
  • The St. Louis Coro Fellows Program will relaunch its leadership training initiative next fall to help cultivate a new crop of leaders in government, nonprofit organizations and business.
  • Back in 2014, after the police killings of Michael Brown Jr. in North St. Louis County and VonDerrit Myers Jr. in South St. Louis City, the St. Louis University Clock Tower became a site for Occupy SLU: six days of teach-ins, community conversation, and an occupation by community activists and students, which resulted in the creation of 13 Clock Tower Accords to advance racial equity at the school. This year, after a grand jury in Kentucky declined to indict three Louisville police officers for shooting and killing Breonna Taylor, students gathered at the Clock Tower again to hold a vigil for Breonna Taylor and make new demands to change culture and policies at St. Louis University.