Gangs All Here

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Respect and Redirect

STAND DOWN / RISE UP Respect and Redirect is an exploration of African Americans throughout Missouri’s history that have impacted gun violence.

Young poets Rise Up with new spoken word poetry.

Thank you for your work and your voices –

Emeara Burns, AnnaLise Cason, Elijah Foggy, Yohanes Mulat, LaShonda Givens, Tylea Wilson, Antigone Chambers-Reed

Presented February 2, 2019 at St. Louis Association of Community Organizations, St. Louis Community College at Forest Park.

Presented February 18, President’s Day 2019 at the City of St. Louis Juvenile Detention Center and at the Gateway Arch National Park.

This project is supported by Missouri Foundation for Health, Incarnate Word Foundation, Missouri Humanities Council, and Gateway Arch National Park.


Gangs All Here

by AnnaLise Cason


Roll call, please…

Our ancestors are here!


They waited long enough for others to listen,

But I am the chosen one,

And it is time to make things clear.


It is time to spit it all out,

So take a seat,

Don’t look that way,

Because ya’ll know what I’m talking about.


A wise woman once said,

That challenges make you discover things about yourself.

That you already knew.


So why are we acting like all of this is untrue?


Dred Scott valiantly stands on my right side,

With Charles Alfred Anderson Sr. in the sky,

Because Cathay Williams taught us how to walk with pride,

Margaret Bush Wilson has sworn her hand on the Bible,

Tell me how can I lie?


We reign with eminence,

Have graced this Earth with every breath we utter,

We are known to make it to high places,

Coming straight from the gutter.


We come from self-made beings,

Like Annie Malone,

And Red Foxx too,

But it’s no laughing matter,

About the amazing things we can do!


We are capable of so much more,

Than the selfless inflictions we take part in,

You see, we block our blessings when we give in to sin.


Roll call, please…

Our ancestors are here!


If we truly want the change for ourselves,

We must stand down, and know that there’s nothing to fear.


This is a call to action!

Our ancestors are here!


Roll call, please…

It is time for us to rise up and persevere!