Racial Inequality | St. Louis Public Radio

Racial Inequality

Maliyah Isadora and her mother Courtney at their home in Florissant in this 2015 photo.
File photo | Durrie Bouscaren | St. Louis Public Radio

Black infants in St. Louis County are more than twice as likely to die as white infants, according to a new report.

The first Maternal and Child Health Profile, released today at Washington University’s Institute for Public Health conference, highlights troubling racial disparities in the health of moms and babies in St. Louis County. Health officials acknowledge these persistent issues, but also point to progress in other areas — including declines in teen pregnancy.

Erica Williams is the founder and executive director of A Red Circle; David Dwight is the lead strategy catalyst at Forward Through Ferguson; and Colin Gordon is the author of "Citizen Brown."
EVIE HEMPHILL / ST. LOUIS PUBLIC RADIO

In 2008, with his book “Mapping Decline,” history professor Colin Gordon brought context to the issues of vacant houses, boarded-up storefronts and abandoned factories in the St. Louis region.

Gordon’s new book, "Citizen Brown: Race, Democracy, and Inequality in the St. Louis Suburbs," digs into how municipal boundaries and school district lines were drawn to exclude and how local policies and services were weaponized to maintain civic separation.

Manuel Pastor and the Rev. Starksy Wilson speak on the two reports at the Deaconess Foundation. Sept. 20, 2019.
Chad Davis | St. Louis Public Radio

A new report points to ways in which racial equity and common interests can move the St. Louis region forward. The report was highlighted at an event held Thursday morning by the Deaconess Foundation.

“Changing States-Building Power on the Frontlines: Missouri,” from the University of Southern California Program for Environmental and Regional Equity, examines how Missouri can improve racial equity in the electoral, judicial and corporate arenas.

People protest against the criminalization of poverty in downtown St. Louis in on July 21, 2016.
File photo | Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

Forward Through Ferguson is encouraging locals to imagine a St. Louis devoid of racial inequity by the year 2039.

That year will mark 25 years since the shooting death of Michael Brown in Ferguson.

The non-profit group released a preliminary action plan on Wednesday, in which community leaders and residents considered benchmark goals for the next three years. A full report will be available in June.

Maliyah Isadora, 2 months, and her mother, Courtney, at their home in Florissant in this 2015 photo
File photo | Durrie Bouscaren | St. Louis Public Radio

Regions of the state with combined high poverty rates and concentrated African-American populations have higher percentages of low birth weight babies, according to data from the U.S. Census and the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services.

Mayor Lyda Krewson answers questions alongside panelists David Dwight, of the Ferguson Commission, and State Rep. Bruce Franks Jr. Oct. 11, 2017
File Photo | Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

A new assessment of St. Louis residents finds that many people want the city to address racial, economic and social inequality.

The findings are a part of the preliminary resilience assessment released by Mayor Lyda Krewson’s office. The assessment received contributions from the 100 Resilient Cities initiative, a program funded by the Rockefeller Foundation to strengthen cities around the world in areas of social, economic and environmental shortcomings.

City officials sought the input of over 1,300 people through meetings, surveys and workshops.

A boutique apartment tower going up at Euclid and West Pine avenues received tax increment financing in 2015. It sits across from a Whole Foods, which is housed on the lower level of another apartment building that received TIF. (Feb. 21, 2017)
File photo | Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

A coalition critical of the tax relief St. Louis awards developers wants lawmakers to make processes to grant tax incentives more transparent and more equitable.

When it started in 2016, Team TIF focused on education. But now that the public is more aware of how the city grants developers incentives, the coalition is pushing for policy changes, volunteer Molly Metzger said.

“The problems that we see in St. Louis and other cities — of racial segregation, of stark inequality — these are not created by markets alone. They are created by markets that were structured by governments,” said Metzger, a professor who studies housing policy at Washington University’s Brown School of Social Work.

Panelists at Harris-Stowe University discuss racial inequality on Sept. 21, 2017.
Chelsea Hoye | ST. LOUIS PUBLIC RADIO

As the St. Louis region manages the ongoing unrest sparked by a judge’s decision to acquit a white former police officer in the death of a black man, civil rights activists say it’s past time for the city to address the policies that have long kept black people behind.

St. Louis must put an end to systemic racism if conditions are to improve for African-Americans, community leaders said Thursday during a panel discussion at Harris-Stowe University.

“Education is freedom; it allows you choices,” state Sen. Jamilah Nasheed said. “It allows you to go to the next level.”

Vesla Weaver, a Yale professor who studies inequality as it relates to the criminal justice system, joined St. Louis on the Air host Don Marsh in-studio.
Kelly Moffitt | St. Louis Public Radio

On Wednesday’s St. Louis on the Air, host Don Marsh was joined by Vesla Weaver, an associate professor of political science and African-American studies at Yale University, ahead of a talk slated for Wednesday afternoon in Grand Center.

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?

Forward Through Ferguson adds seven new board members

Sep 14, 2016
A focus group moderator writes down participants' thoughts on racial and ethnic relations in St. Louis, after a meeting of the Ferguson Commission.
Durrie Bouscaren | St. Louis Public Radio

Seven St. Louis area residents have joined the board of Forward Through Ferguson, a successor organization to the Ferguson Commission.

The nonprofit group received 27 applications for the positions. Through what the group called an open, community-driven process, the committee selected “unflinching and unusual leaders” to work toward racial equity.

The St. Louis Metro is in the top 10 for racial inequality in three areas.
courtesy East-West Gateway Council of Governments

The St. Louis region continues to have some of the highest rates of racial disparity in the country.

Out of the 50 largest metro areas in the country, St. Louis ranks in the top 10 for racial disparity in poverty, unemployment and infant mortality, according to the new edition of the Where We Stand report released Wednesday by the East-West Gateway Council of Governments.

Commentary: Don't take 'Un-Fair campaign' personally

Feb 19, 2012

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Feb. 19, 2012 - Some say the recent Un-Fair campaign launched by the YWCA in Duluth, Minn., is just that- un-fair. My belief is that it is a spot-on example of what it means to be an ally. The YWCA is living its mission, which includes “dismantling racism” and using its sphere of influence to draw attention to the important topic of privilege. In this predominantly White town of Duluth, the YWCA has decided to address issues of institutionalized racism. Yet billboards depicting White individuals with examples of White privilege have left some feeling blamed.

This article first appeared in a St. Louis Beacon, May 20, 2011 - The economic inequalities that African Americans face must now be viewed through the lens of "post-racial America" -- a complicated time of hopefulness and sobering reality that has followed the election of the nation's first African-American president, says sociologist Melvin Oliver who will speak Saturday at the Missouri History Museum.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, May 5, 2011 - When he was a kid, Bryan Evans used to feel shame because his father was schizophrenic.

"I wasn't comfortable with it. I internalized the shame because everybody in the neighborhood knew who my father was," said Evans, who now directs suicide education for Mental Health America of Eastern Missouri.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, April 01, 2011 - For anyone who thinks the election of Barack Obama as president means the United States has moved into a period where race no longer matters, Julian Bond wants you to take a look at one word -- and just rearrange the letters.

"America," he told an audience at Washington University Friday, "means 'I am race.'"

"Those who say race is history have it backwards," Bond added. "History is race."