Why talk about it?

Emeara Photograph by Marquez

Story Stitchers will head back to the Des Lee Gallery this Saturday for a videotaped discussion on gun violence prevention led by the Stitchers Teen Council co-chairs Emeara and Taron, both seniors in high school. The Guns in the Hands of Artists exhibition is up at the gallery through November 20th.

The discussion will look for ways that teenagers and police can work together to combat gun violence.

The teenagers are honored to have the following adults join them as they explore this important topic:

Carl Filler, Director of Strategic Policy Initiatives and Community Partnerships in Mayor Slay’s Office

Rachel Smith, Chief Prosecutor from the Circuit Attorney’s Office and the Community Affairs Bureau

Lieutenant Colonel Ronnie Robinson, Deputy Chief of Police, Commander of the Bureau of Community Affairs

Dr. Jason Purnell, Institute of Public Health at Washington University

Dr. Renee Manley-Markowski, Cardinal Glennon Children’s Hospital and Assistant Professor
, Division of Pediatric Emergency Medicine

Teen Council has been recruiting other teens to join them. Below are some of the comments made by teen applicants as they explain why they want to be a part of the discussion.

“I would like to be a part of the discussion about gun violence because there are so many crimes being committed against African Americans. And in our society there are more black on black crimes with gun violence than anything. We all need to come together as a whole to put a stop to the violence. Small children can’t even play outside after school without a shooting going on in an area of their community. It is very important that we make sure that the areas that we live in are a safe environment for everyone, especially children.

…as an adolescent seeing so many bad things happen to virtuous people and nothing is getting done about it is very disturbing. Speaking to others is something I enjoy so if it will make a difference to our community as a whole I would like to be a part of it.” Grade 12

“I would like to be a part of the gun violence prevention discussion because it is something that could have a great outcome that leads to a solution to end the bad blood.” Grade 12

“I feel that it is very important to discuss this topic because this is very important to our generation. The number of gun violence incidents is increasing because of the level of hurt and negativity being expressed in the only way people know and that must change.” Grade 11

“Years ago gun violence had its issues but nothing like what is going on in current society. While there are events that have occurred that seem shocking, sad and pointless, similar events had occurred decades ago; except they didn’t seem to happen as often as they do today. Gun violence has grown into an international crisis. Some people feel that we should ban guns altogether, while others feel this would be impossible. Getting rid of guns may help remedy the issue but it may not be enough to make the problem go away.” Grade 12

“I would like to participate in the videotaped discussion because I think it is something good for us young people to do. So we can learn to get along with each other and stop shouting and killing each other. And to let people know that we are strong together.” Grade 11

“Its an important topic and I believe our generation should learn it. I believe if we come together we can possibly come up with a useful solution to reduce and possibly eliminate gun violence.” Grade 12

The discussion is sponsored by the Gun Violence Prevention and Awareness Initiative and the Institute of Public Health at Washington University and the Des Lee Gallery, Sam Fox School of Design and Visual Arts at Washington University. Story Stitchers programs are sponsored in part by the Regional Arts Commission.

(No audience at the taping.)