Community Conversation: Ending Violence


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Chris and Alia lead a discussion at the Grandel Theater with Terence Blanchard

Saint Louis Story Stitchers Artists Collective was invited to host a pre-concert panel discussion with Terence Blanchard on gun violence prevention in connection with his live performance on May 20th, 2018 and his recent album LIVE that reflects on gun violence and healing. The conversation was held in the Grandel’s Ballroom. Mr. Blanchard and The E Collective gave a beautiful performance to a large audience in the Grandel Theater later that night. The performance was sponsored in part by Jazz St. Louis and Kranzberg Arts Foundation.

Story Stitchers youth Chris and Alia guided the conversation with panelists:

Terence Blanchard – 5 time Grammy-winning trumpeter/composer

Howard Cox –Saint Louis Story Stitchers Artist in Residence

Pastor Johnnie Jackson

Cheeraz Gormon – Founder and Executive Director, Sibling Support Network

Terence Blanchard: “We’ve been on this campaign of telling people who have lost loved ones, let the music absorb your pain and frustration, that’s what it’s there for…

With the music and with what I do, I try to have a broader approach to try to reach more people and to try to change some hearts and minds when it comes to this issue because of people like this that are doing the grunt work with people, touching people, actually dealing with it first hand. It’s important, it’s important work.”

Youth leaders and the panelists were lively and thoughtful and the conversation included the power of the arts as a healing force and as a strong tool for communication, mental health, the role of faith and morality, the effects of violence and loss on families and communities, police brutality, implicit bias, and the importance of the roles of mentors and parents in ending violence.

Story Stitchers will release a video of the conversation.

Special thanks to Terence Blanchard, Kranzberg Arts Foundation, the community panelists, and the Stitchers youth leaders for your valuable contributions to this important discourse.

The Saint Louis Story Stitchers Artists Collective is a non-profit organization engaged in urban storytelling whose mission is to document St. Louis through art and word to promote understanding, civic pride, intergenerational relationships and literacy. Collective artists work alongside 15-24-year-old urban youth to collect stories, reframe and retell them using the arts to promote a better educated, more peaceful and caring society. Current projects focus on public health issues including gun violence