Happy Holidays! Let's talk about race and religion

It’s the holiday season, and like many of you, we’re taking stock.  

Taking stock of what we accomplished with this We Live Here project; the stories and topics we’ve covered; and where we hope to go in the future.   

This time of year also has us thinking about faith and the meaning of our work. There’s a quote from Martin Luther King, Jr. that we keep coming back to: “It is appalling that the most segregated hour of Christian America is 11 o'clock on Sunday morning."

That sense of separation can be felt across many faiths. So, we sat down with faith leaders from around St. Louis and asked: Do you feel an obligation to address race with your congregations? And if so, how do you do that?

Treating gun violence as a public health issue? Easier said than done

At least 180 people have been killed in St. Louis so far this year — the most in almost two decades. And most of those homicides involved a gun.

That's led to a growing cry from community members, non profits, law enforcement and public officials who say it's time to re-think the approach to tackling gun violence.

Specifically, many are advocating a public health approach.

Still, cities like St. Louis are finding out that implementing this approach is easier said than done. 

St. Louis educators share their stories of tackling race, bias and discipline

Racial disparities are a huge topic in education. And Missouri schools — specifically those in the St. Louis area — have been singled out as having some of the nation’s highest rates of suspensions that are disproportionately allocated to African Americans. 

Over the next few weeks we’ll be bringing you stories of people directly participating in that system. This week, we spoke to educators, who shared their own journeys of grappling with issues of race, poverty and discipline in local schools.

Funding Missouri's public schools comes down to one not-so-simple formula

The arcane world of school finance in Missouri can be harder to understand than the most obscure poem or the most difficult calculus problem. But clear away all of the acronyms and calculations and modifications, and it comes down to two simple questions:

Should the quality of children’s education depend on where they live? And how important is money to education anyway?

Of course, the questions may be simple to ask, but if they were simple to answer, then school finance wouldn’t be such a thorny topic. As it is, though, when it comes to education, there is an inextricable link between money and quality.

What it means to be multi-racial

This week's We Live Here podcast is something a little different.

Recently, we've been looking at health and the way that toxic stress can impact someone's ability to succeed and even to be healthy. We'll be transitioning to a new area soon, but we wanted to take a step back this week to allow Emanuele Berry to produce her own, unique show.

Emanuele has left St. Louis Public Radio, as you may have heard. She took advantage of a wonderful opportunity to live and work abroad. But before she left, she wanted to do a podcast that explores what it means to be multi-racial.

On the anniversary of Michael Brown's death, we look back -- and forward, too

On the first anniversary of the death of Michael Brown, We Live Here takes stock and asks reporters covering the aftermath: Is the landscape around racial and economic disparities in St. Louis and beyond starting to shift?  Can some changes already be seen? Those were the basic questions on the minds of St. Louis Public Radio's reporters as they produced story after story on where we stand and where we might be going.   

Finding your way in society after years in prison

How does someone adjust to life outside after spending years behind bars?

If you look at the statistics, outcomes for released felons aren't very rosy. In Missouri, almost 32,000 people were locked up or under the supervision of the state prisons system in 2014.  Chances of returning after release are substantial. For example, 5,493 people were released from Missouri prisons for the first time in 2009. Of those ex-offenders, roughly half had either returned to prison or were back on parole by 2014.