Stitchers Youth Michaela on KSDK

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60 children have been shot in the City of St. Louis since the start of 2020

Saint Louis Story Stitchers Youth Council member Michaela was interviewed by KSDK reporter Robert Townshend on July 1st, 2020 about the high number of children shot in St. Louis in 2020.

Michaela said, “When you own a gun, you’re supposed to store it away properly.”

Since Jan. 1, at least 60 under the age of 17 have been shot — 12 of them, fatally, according to data collected by 5 On Your Side. In all of 2019, 14 children were shot and killed.

“It’s a very big concern. This should not be our reality. This should not be something  people become normalized to,” Michaela said.

Unloading and locking your gun can help to keep children safe. Free gun locks are available year-round at St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department and at City Hall.



Episode VIII Part I


We Matter 


Youth leaders discuss current events including the pandemic, police brutality, Black Lives Matter protests, and the rising hope for societal change for people of color in part one of this two part discussion. Recorded live in Zoom June 11, 2020.


Pick the City UP Art Interlude: Worthless

Copyright Saint Louis Story Stitchers, 2018

Back Story VI: This Is Why

ElijahBack Story VI: This Is Why

Streaming Thursday, June 25th at 7:30 PM

On facebook, Youtube Vimeo and

Stitchers Youth Council members Emeara and Elijah talk about Elijah’s raps, survival in the city, and personal growth. Recorded performance of This Is Why is included in the stream and will premiere on Youtube along with a lyric video.


This Is Why


Stitchers Youth Council

Branden and Elijah




I came to thrive; I’ll tell you why

Knew it was mines soon as I arrived

I get knocked down, I don’t pout I don’t cry

I step up, get knocked down, I pop up like surprise

Up like surprise, I’m up, they surprised

I get knocked down, I pop up like surprise

I’ll tell you why, we not alike

You’re trying to live

I’m trying to thrive


Verse I


Yo, we making the bread

Keeping our families fed

Keeping our sons off the streets

So they don’t end up dead

Tryna make it to college

Cuz they cannot go to the feds

Cuz they tryna go for our heads

Cuz they got a price on our heads

I’m talking about lifetime imprisonment

Or a right time to be militant

They don’t fight crime they are diligent

On smiting mine and pillaging

So we getting that education

We elevatin

No procrastinatin

Or hesitation

We boss Nation

Heard across the Nation

Tryna save us it dogs from incarceration


Ima have all of you feeling me


Ima have all of you seeing me


I do all of this willingly


Look at how they are treating me


Just cuz I’m black they are beating me, yeah

Cuz they don’t see what I see in me, yeah

This is why I cannot see defeat,

This is why I cannot leave the streets



Verse I


I’m trying to show you I’m more than just gifted

I’m more than my issues, more than statistics

I’m more than the chasing of money and women

I’m more than the bundles of graves that they digging

I’m more than potential that’s lost in the system

I’m more than a criminal, more than a victim

There’s more to my image, immortalize this

That there’s more to the morals of stories you hearing

(Hold up)

Aye, how many fears must I face in a day

How many friends can be taken away

How many planned to spend life in a cage

How many wish they got that but in graves

How many wish they got that but in chains

How many wish they enacted a change


How many wish they enacted a change


Copyright Saint Louis Story Stitchers, 2019.

Back Story V: Josh and Art streams tonight

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Josh is featured in tonight’s Story Stitchers Stream Team publication—

Back Story V: Josh and Art, Stitchers Youth Council members Emeara and Joshua talk about Josh’s art and the role it plays in Story Stitchers productions. His art is featured on three StitchCast Studio covers. Back Story V will stream on Thursday, June 18, 2020 at 7:30 PM to Saint Louis Story Stitchers Youtube, facebook, Vimeo, and

Story Stitchers receive national grant from The Lewis Prize for Music

Saint Louis Story Stitchers is honored to announce that it is the recipient of a $25,000 grant from The Lewis Prize for Music’s COVID-19 Community Response Fund! New funding for Saint Louis Story Stitchers will support holistic music education programs during COVID-19.

The Lewis Prize for Music — a creative arts philanthropy — is proud to announce the recipients of the COVID-19 Community Response Fund. A total of $1.25 million will be awarded to 32 Creative Youth Development (CYD) organizations across the U.S. that have adapted and responded to the pressing needs of the young people they serve amid the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Lewis Prize for Music invests in youth music organizations and their leaders to facilitate positive change through access to music education. Each of the COVID-19 Community Response Fund recipients embody this goal; they do extraordinary work providing young people with opportunities to learn, perform and create music while also serving their immediate and unique needs around food, transportation, mental health, and academics. 

From all the youth at Saint Louis Story Stitchers— We are very honored to receive The Lewis Prize for Music’s COVID-19 Community Response Fund grant. This grant has reassured us that our hard work hasn’t gone unnoticed. This has empowered us to find new innovative ways to use our talents and gifts to continue to uplift our communities here in the St. Louis region. — Emeara Burns, Steward Family Foundation Program Director at Saint Louis Story Stitchers

From Flint, Michigan to Montgomery, Alabama, to Oakland, California, the recipients cultivate leadership opportunities and safe spaces for the young people they support. Many of the recipients have budgets of less than $100,000 per year, and two-thirds are led by people of color. Through their community-driven and youth-focused approach, they have become safe havens for the young people they serve during COVID-19. Learn about the recipients: 

The Lift vs The Crunch

Episode VI

The Lift vs The Crunch

In this discussion about the lifting of the quarantine, youth leaders explore fact, fiction, and fears of life in the new reality with their guest, Jamie KP Dennis, director of Save Our Sons at the Urban League of Metropolitan St. Louis and a co-founder of Saint Louis Story Stitchers. Recorded live on May 29, 2020 in Zoom in St. Louis, Missouri.

Pick the City UP Art Interlude: To The Prairie by KP Dennis and Ntegrity

Copyright Saint Louis Story Stitchers, 2019 

Back Story IV streaming tonight


Back Story IV: Cali on StitchCast Studio will stream tonight at 7:30 PM to, facebook, Youtube, and Vimeo.

Saint Louis Story Stitchers Stream Team share the never before heard back stories to works of art produced by members of the Artists Collective.

Thursday, June 11th at 7:30 PM, Story Stitchers artists Emeara and Cali will discuss Cali’s role at Story Stitchers and in the development of StitchCast Studio youth-led podcast project. Check out some of Cali’s dance moves , too!

To learn more about StitchCast Studio, which is featured on apple podcasts and other podcast platforms, please visit:



National Gun Violence Awareness Day


#wearorange brings awareness to National Gun Violence Awareness Day each year.

Orange is the color hunters wear to say, “Don’t shoot! I’m human.”

In recognition of this movement, Saint Louis Story Stitchers are featured artists in Moms Demand Action’s presentation across the state of Missouri.

Saturday, June 6th at 2:00 PM

Get the link to watch HERE.

We will also stream the Story Stitchers presentation at 5:00 PM to our own platforms.

Hope you will catch the stream and #wearorange!



Congrats! Gun Violence Initiative

Saint Louis Story Stitchers is a member of the family that makes up the Gun Violence Initiative at Washington University’s Institute for Public Health. Today the Gun Violence Initiative celebrates 5 years and we congratulate all of our friends there for their work as we look forward to continuing this important partnership.

Check out their video to learn what we’ve been up to!

You will hear some Story Stitchers music included in the video!


Back Story III: Who’s Ready?


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. 

This is what Story Stitchers new podcast, StitchCast Studio, is all about. 

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,  Vimeo, facebook and Youtube.

Tonight, Thursday, June 4th at 7:30 we will stream Back Story III: Who’s Ready?

Take a listen! 

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.