Pick the City UP Tour presents Saint Louis Story Stitchers unique brand of urban storytelling, featuring live hip hop, spoken word and story magic on public health issues St. Louis cares about including gun violence. Pay tribute, join the fun, and make a difference.
Pick the City UP 2019 is presented with support from Missouri Foundation for Health, LUSH Corporation’s The Charity Pot, Kranzberg Arts Foundation, and Incarnate Word Foundation. X
Branden (Age 19)
The Pick the City UP Tour benefits each community the tour visits in two ways. The first is that is reminds the older generation that there are still (young) people making a difference; it also shows the younger community that they there are alternatives to destructive lifestyles.
Emeara (Age 20)
The community gets to have a positive outlet of entertainment. They also get to see the young adults and teens represent the community in a positive way.
The community benefits from the tour by us really just being a face for stopping gun violence. Giving our message in a positive way in the areas that need it is a major benefit to us and the community.
Cali (Age 18)
To me I think it is because for 3 or 4 hours in a day, people get a break from what’s going around in their neighborhoods. They get to hear what we have to say and just a break from the mainstream music that’s all talking ‘bout just selling drugs, guns, girls then they come hear our stuff to hear about how to help and how to better our community, how to provide more stuff, not even physical just lyrical and I think that’s a good benefit.
WHY do Story Stitcher focus on gun violence?
Because it affects our youth, our artists and our communities. Stitchers youth identify this as the #1 issue that needs to be addressed.
The project addresses the public health crisis of gun violence. In St. Louis in the past 5 years, 15,000 victims were murdered, shot or robbed at gunpoint. The St. Louis Circuit Attorney reports there were 2,092 shootings in St. Louis in 2015 and half involved youth age 25 or under.
Lt. Col. Ronnie Robinson, Deputy Chief of Police, St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department told Story Stitchers, “Criminal activity amongst teenagers in the city is at a very high rate and unfortunately they do have access to illegal weapons. We need intervention and outreach along with enforcement in order to solve the ills that we are suffering from in our city relative to violent crime involving teens.”
Pick the City UP promotes gun violence prevention through storytelling and innovative public health education. The Tour helps youth to understand the gun violence epidemic has many societal causes and the solution will require a multi-faceted approach that involves everyone working together.
The project addresses the public health issue of gun violence with arts and culture, in this case including an interactive theatrical presentation promoting safe and respectful police/teen interactions and reinforcing the benefits of putting guns down and picking books UP.
Youth have reported to Story Stitchers their strong interest in positive, safe activities, a desire to hear music with a good message, and a need for strong and stable mentorship.
A high school student explains, “Teenagers get negative influences from rap music and a lot of kids are fascinated by that life style and the songs that say “pick the gun up”. We don’t hear songs like yours that say “put the gun down”. I love your song, so thank you for that. I think we need more positive influences on the youth. We need more songs that say “put the gun down”.
Youth (ages 16-24) are involved in planning and implementing the project which involves the creation of original art and music. In addition, Story Stitchers will engage with venues to invite community participants to plan and orchestrate their own health fairs based on community needs and interests. Vendors on a variety of health and safety topics can be selected by communities and invited to engage including HIV/STD testing, Blood Drives, police/youth interaction, community gardening, bee keeping, drug awareness, suicide prevention, youth homelessness, social services, mental health services, or nutrition and cooking demonstrations.
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