“We Live Here” is a podcast that shares stories about race and class from St. Louis and beyond. Episodes range from investigative accountability pieces to story-based reflections with a focus on everyday people interested in racial equity.
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Democratic Representative Cori Bush made history when she became the first Black Congresswoman for Missouri, unseating the Clay political dynasty. She brought her background as a nurse, activist, organizer, single mom and pastor to her new role and has jumped headfirst into advocating for issues ranging from reparations for Black Americans to taxing billionaires to Medicare for All. She teamed up with Massachusetts Senator Ed Markey and Illinois Senator Tammy Duckworth to introduce a bill that would bring together federal agencies and create a mapping tool to help allocate environmental funding from the Biden administration. Just last week, she also joined forces with New York Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez to introduce a $1 trillion dollar bill to fund environmental justice projects for the next four years. In this episode, we’ll hear from Senator Tammy Duckworth and Congresswoman Cori Bush about three major environmental justice bills: the Environmental Justice for All Act, the Environmental Justice Mapping and Data Collection Act, and the Green New Deal for Cities Act.—This episode was a collaboration with Jason Rosenbaum, St. Louis Public Radio political correspondent and co-host of the Politically Speaking podcast. You can listen to the Politically Speaking episodes with Senator Duckworth and Congresswoman Bush at stlpr.org or anywhere you get podcasts.
We wanted to share the stories of the people who are at the heart of the environmental justice movement: urban farmers. In St. Louis, urban farmers have made great strides and continue to educate the next generation about the importance of growing their own food. In this bonus episode, we visit an urban farm, then hear from a food justice director advocating for a healthier environment and the founder of a nonprofit that provides equitable access to food, education, and employment.
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.
We wanted to know how environmental issues affect babies and birthing people during childbirth, one of the most delicate life processes. In the U.S., Black babies are two times more likely to die before their first birthday than white babies, and Black women are three times more likely to die from pregnancy-related complications then white women. So in this episode, we hear from a documentary filmmaker about humanizing Black birthing people, a neonatal hospitalist about the effects the environment has on newborns and mothers and an executive director of an Equal Access Midwifery Clinic about supporting people of color through the birthing process.
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.
In St. Louis, there are many stories about how environmental racism impacts everyday people and their health, housing, and daily lives. So in this season, we’ll use the Washington University Interdisciplinary Environmental Law Clinic’s 2019 report on Environmental Racism in St. Louis to guide us through conversations about the top environmental issues facing the most vulnerable communities in St. Louis. In this episode, we look back at how St. Louis’ history of systemic racism has impacted the living environments of low-income and Black residents, how the report featured stories of everyday people, and what type of environment the report’s recommendations could create for the next generation.
In this episode, we introduce you to two Black artists who teamed up to heal and educate their community through an urban farm in predominantly Black North St. Louis City. They share their vision for building an education garden with accessible raised beds, and growing flowers and healing herbs alongside chickens and bees. Then we learn about how they encountered a major obstacle that put their dreams on hold...
In the last two seasons of the show, we have covered the COVID-19 pandemic and the current uprising for Black lives, both of which continue to shape society today. The pandemic and the uprising also raised two major questions, which we’ll be addressing in our new season on environmental racism: How do we achieve a healthy life? And what kind of world do we want to leave for the next generation? These are profound questions for a region that boasts some of the most prestigious hospitals in the nation and is home to residents with some of the worst health outcomes. So in this season, we’ll trace the connection between systemic racism, housing conditions, and health outcomes. But we’ll also highlight the organizers, tenants rights advocates, and urban farmers who are working to improve conditions in their communities. The first episode of the environmental racism season drops on Friday, February 12th, anywhere you get podcasts.
This year, we produced a season that put a racial equity lens on the COVID-19 pandemic and a season about the current uprising for Black lives. As a collective we have faced this season's challenges head first and continue to press on by producing meaningful and impactful stories, which is why we wanted to know what experiences have other journalists in our region experienced during this time. In this episode we’ll hear from a correspondent for Kaiser Health News about the importance of telling the stories of everyday people during this time and a reporter from the St. Louis American will share what it’s like to work on a year-long fellowship to produce stories about COVID-19 affecting the Black community.
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.
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.
Jia Lian Yang
Host & Lead Producer
Jia Lian Yang holds a Master of Social Work from Washington University in St. Louis and a Master of Divinity from Eden Theological Seminary. She is the co-founder of the St. Louis-based Who Raised You? podcast, which explores culture and family with a focus on stories from people of color. The show won the Arts & Education Council of St. Louis’ 2018 stARTup competition and was named the best local podcast of 2019 in St. Louis Magazine. Jia brings her experience with LGBTQ advocacy, mental health, workers’ rights, mutual aid, anti-racism and the arts to her coverage.
Host & Producer
Lauren Brown holds a Bachelor of Journalism degree from the University of Missouri where she also studied Social Justice. Lauren joined St. Louis Public Radio in June 2019 as an associate producer for the We Live Here podcast. In March 2020 she became the co-host and producer for We Live Here. In August 2020 she worked as a freelancer with American Public Media on an hour long documentary about the racial climate on college campuses titled Black at Mizzou: Confronting race on campus. She is a native of the Chicagoland area and is a huge fan of music from Neo-Soul to Hip-Hop, hence her vinyl collection.
2020 - Empower Missouri Media Award
2019 - Kaleidoscope Award
2020 - Empower Missouri Media Award
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