Hey all. Using my blog forum as a space for a weekly wrap up on my week as well as new insights. Gonna call this Sundays in St. Louis. Because it’s Sunday. And I am in St. Louis.
A little bit about my work; I’ll be spending the next month in St. Louis and Ferguson doing a project on views of policing, protesting, and political representation within the Black community through interviewing African American community members, leaders, activists, artists, and educators. I am undertaking this work to reclaim the unproductive mainstream media narrative of Ferguson civil unrest and black rage.
I arrived early last Sunday; currently staying in the neighborhood of Tower Grove South at a mission home, AMEN St. Louis. The home is owned by a Presbyterian church and they have great accommodations for civil rights and mission groups. I’m here by myself, so the house is a bit empty, but I enjoy the space and quiet nonetheless. I’ll be moving after next week, not sure where yet. Just taking it day by day.
In regards to my immediate neighborhood: Tower Grove is interesting. As a sit in the back lounge of the Hartford Coffee Cafe sipping on a latte writing this post and looking around at the populous, I’d say I’d describe this cafe as a proper representation of the neighborhood itself. A diverse Portland-esque urban liberal casual place marked with religious diversity. It’s always sunny and there’s lots of greenery. I didn’t realize until I came here how much of a Black and white city St. Louis is. Tower Grove south itself is about half white, a third black, and the rest a mixture of other races. But even in my time spent downtown and my past week here, I’ve mostly only encountered black and white people.
Downtown during the week, I work in an office space, where I spent most of my time setting up meetings with different members of racial justice organizations in the area, reading and writing for my research, and social media/recruitment development. This week I developed my project’s official website: theblackvoicesproject.com. Check it out; I am extremely proud of the work I’ve done considering I don’t have too much of a background in graphic design or web development. I hope that this increased web presence as well as the other work I hope to bring online assists in my project. With the interviews I’ve had this week and the ones to come I am hopeful that my work will be successful and in a constant state of improvement. At times I fear rejection and lack of response from the community for my work. I’ve only shaken this though changing the way I approach and contact the organizations I will be working with; although what I am doing is research I’ve found it important to reduce the barrier between me and the community members I will be talking with. I.e being approachable and understanding.
The work’s only started so far, so this post is a bit straightforward, but I am sure changes will come along.
(Tower Grove Park Left, Lab1500 Office Right)