Opening a 2-Way Street

11.15.2015–Assistant professor Jason Purnell (from left to right), Dr. Renee Manley-Markowski of Cardinal Glennon Children’s Hospital, Rachel Smith, Chief Prosecutor from the Circuit Attorney’s Office and the Community Affairs Bureau, Ronnie Robinson, Deputy Chief of Police for SLMPD, and Carl Filler, Director of Strategic Policy Initiatives and Community Partnerships, speak on a panel. “Not another one!”, a videotaped conversation about gun violence with St. Louis teens and community leaders, was held at the Des Lee Gallery in St. Louis. The event was organized by the Institute for Public Health and St. Louis Story Stitchers. Photo by Whitney Curtis/WUSTL Photos

Not Another One!

 Police And Teens: Finding Ways To Work Together To Combat Gun Violence

Stitchers Teen Council Co-Chairs Emeara and Taron, both seniors in high school, had done their homework and skillfully led a group of local teens and adults in a discussion on gun violence prevention Saturday, November 14th at Washington University’s Des Lee Gallery, 1627 Washington Avenue. The gallery was filled with art made from decommissioned guns from New Orleans in the exhibition, Guns in the Hands of Artists, on view through November 20th.

The purpose of the videotaped discussion was to open communication and to identify commonality, greater understanding and ways to cooperate and collaborate between city police and teen age youth as both work to lower St. Louis’s high rates of gun violence.

This program was sponsored by the Sam Fox School of Design and Visual Arts and the Des Lee Gallery and the Institute of Public Health and the Gun Violence Prevention and Awareness Initiative at Washington University. Story Stitchers educational programs are also sponsored in part by the Regional Arts Commission. Washington University students from KUUMBATV supported the project as skillful videographers.

Invited adults who participated included:

Carl Filler from the Mayor’s Office, Director of Strategic Policy Initiatives and Community Partnerships

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

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

 Dr. Jason Purnell, Assistant Professor at the Brown School of Social Work and a Faculty Scholar in the Institute of Public Health at Washington University

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

The teens had prepared a list of questions. Emeara and Taron asked the adults to help create a 2-way street by asking the teens questions as well. Both sides showed restraint, respect, curiosity and a sincere hope of working towards positive outcomes. Both sides left the room feeling there is more to do…

Over the next few weeks, as Stitchers artists edit the collected video, we will blog pieces of the conversation. The edited video will be attached to the Stitchers Teen Council’s upcoming music video to their song, Not Another 1! and will be available online as a resource for generating more discussion for teachers and researchers.

Saint Louis Story Stitchers board, artists and Teen Council would like to thank everyone who supported this project.