Although the physical space at Stitchers Storefront Studio is boarded up for the moment, you can be sure that the artists at Story Stitchers are anything but quiet. Meeting in virtual rooms, sometimes for multiple sessions 4 days a week, artists are discussing current events amongst themselves and with community members, engaging in listening, planning, organizing and creating and publishing work that reflects the time we live in and the hopes of our youth.
Who’s ready? Get ready! Get ready for the change to come!
Story Stitchers is a youth-led organization, working to expand the power of youth leaders and amplify their voices with the goal of creating a more peaceful region through storytelling. We are proud of the work of our youth, who over time, have been working on the issues related to the public health crisis of violence in our communities including racism, implicit bias, bullying, police brutality, gun violence, youth crime, homelessness, mental health, suicide and the racial and social inequities that feed into the many faces of violence in our society.
Story Stitchers was founded by a stitcher who wanted to bring attention to gun violence through community action and art, just as people had drawn attention to the AIDS epidemic, by stitching panels about the lives of those lost. Individual panels about specific people became the AIDS Memorial Quilt, and were shown at the National Mall in Washington DC in 1987, and the sight brought to reality the vast scope the loss of life to AIDS had become. The work of many helped the nation grieve, and brought important attention to the issue and with attention came research dollars, new and more just laws, open hearts and minds, and medications that save lives.
Story Stitchers founder reacted to the murder of one 18 year old girl in 2012, a story which woke her to the gun violence in her own community. In 2019, the Artists Collective performed to nearly 9,000 people. The AIDS Memorial Quilt was started by one artist. It now includes 48,000 panels. And today, millions of young activists of every race march peacefully for justice and equality for all, awakened by the murder of George Floyd by a police officer. Black lives do matter.
Story Stitchers is based on the power of youth and the structure of collaborative non-violent community work through the arts. We were founded on the principle of the power of collective action. We applaud the nation’s activists, peaceful protests, community organizers, volunteers…the coming together of people to stand for justice and racial equity. We have hope.
We also worry about the spread of Covid-19 from such mass gatherings, even as important and powerful as they are. As St. Louis knows, Covid-19 hits African American and impoverished communities very, very hard. It is formidable and deadly.
Artists are asking…how will we use the attention that now exists from collective action? What comes after marches? What are the next steps on the journey towards justice and peace? How do we work together to turn attention into lasting change?
Who’s ready? We’re ready! We’re ready for a revolution!
We plan to… Think and work locally. Think and work nationally.
We want to… Listen. Learn. Be bold. Speak out. Work with others.
We will… Share. Offer support. Acknowledge the worthiness of every person, of every voice, of every space and every place. Create. Be thankful for every breath we take.
We want everyone to do something concrete… Fill out the census. Register to vote. Lend a hand to those in need. Push for change. Keep working.
And listen, really listen, to a young person.
It’s a show about the streets, gun violence, and finding solutions to issues that are coming at our youth hard. The voices of St. Louis youth are important to hear at this critical time. StitchCast Studio is a series of leveled conversations about issues that concern youth related to our health and safety. This is the place to come to hear real conversations about what’s on the minds of local 16-24 year old St. Louis youth and catch some powerful new ideas for solutions. Programs include original spoken word and music produced by Saint Louis Story Stitchers.
Back Story is a new series of videos created by Story Stitchers that give the inside story on creative works from the Artists Collective that are incorporated into each podcast episode. Back Story is streamed on Thursdays at 7:30 PM to storystitchers.org, Vimeo, facebook and Youtube.
Who’s ready? We’re ready! We’re ready for the change to come! No more violence!
Saint Louis Story Stitchers programs are supported in part by the City of St. Louis’ Youth at Risk Crime Prevention Grant of 2020, Steward Family Foundation, Missouri Foundation for Health, Spirit of St. Louis Women’s Fund, Kranzberg Arts Foundation, and Incarnate Word Foundation.