gun violence

St. Louis #StoryStitchers Artist Collective use art to fight #gunviolence

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It's urban storytelling with an anti-gun message. “We do a lot on gun violence because it is the main issue that the youth want to work on,” said Susan Colangelo, president of St. Louis Story Stitchers Artist Collective, a nonprofit based in University City. “We work collaboratively here, so we look at and listen to what’s happening in the community and we generate ideas.”

Story Stitchers provides a creative outlet for young artists ages 16 to 24. Ideas for Story Stitchers include dance, spoken word, hip hop, videography, photography, writing workshops and publishing.  

“We help them get their voices out,” said Colangelo. “We do discussions with youth that are youth-led. We take that information and generate books, songs, plays. We are picking the city up. I think what we’re doing is community building.“

Story Stitchers member Antonio Clark is a student at Central Visual and Performing Arts High School. “It’s a habit. I can’t stop dancing,” he said. “I love it and that’s why I do it.”

Clark, who enjoys dancing, joined Story Stitchers to be a role model.

“I like standing out, you know what I’m saying? You’re not gonna see me with guns or anything like that,” he said. “I just want the rest of my youth, the rest of my generation to understand that there’s no point in what they’re doing. I know a lot of people that lost their lives to violence, family members, friends, people that I knew from school.”

The message to drop the gun is personal for some of the Story Stitchers and that’s why many of the organization’s performances take place in the neighborhoods where members live. “We have been going into the neighborhoods where our youth live, so Walnut Park, Jeff Vander Lou, we’re going to the juvenile detention center.”

Story Stitchers goes beyond performances, organizing community forums like gun violence summits featuring stakeholders and experts from the community. It’s young people using their skills to be part of the solution.

Click here for more.

Community Mourns #JesseRomero, the 14-Year Old Killed by LAPD for Alleged #Graffiti-Writing

Don't Shoot ,  by Bambi in Shoreditch, East London. Photo courtesy of  Dream Deferred .

Don't Shoot, by Bambi in Shoreditch, East London. Photo courtesy of Dream Deferred.

Police say the Boyle Heights boy allegedly fired at them while running away. But one witness says the gun went off when Romero tossed it against a fence during the pursuit.

At a press conference on August 10, 2016, Los Angeles Police Department Deputy Chief Robert Arcos presented its account of the fatal officer-involved shooting of Jesse Reomero, a 14-year-old Mexican-American boy that Hollenbeck Gang Enforcement Detail officers were chasing for allegedly writing gang graffiti.

In a Los Angeles Times video of yesterday's press conference, Arcos said the incident began when the police received a radio report of vandalism suspects near Chicago Street and Cesar Chavez Avenue in the Boyle Heights neighborhood of Los Angeles. After police arrived Romero ran. As officers approached the corner of Breed Street and Cesar Chavez, they allegedly heard a gun shot. When they turned the corner, one of the officers fatally shot Romero. Police presented a picture of an antiquated handgun at the conference.

Arcos said that a witness had seen Romero point a gun at police and pull the trigger. But another witness told the L.A. Times that she saw Romero throw the gun toward a fence as he ran and the gun went off.

Click here to read the full Colorlines article for the witness' account.


6 Things Adults Can Do to Help Black Youth Cope With Street Violence

Image courtesy of  Groundswell .

Image courtesy of Groundswell.

June is Gun Violence Awareness Month and we would like to share this article from Ebony Magazine dealing about the dangerous and destructive effects of gun violence on Black children and what we can do to help.


Gun and other types of violence are prevalent in certain U.S. neighborhoods. Black youth and members of their communities are riddled by homicides and other turbulent disturbances, and it is hard for them to have plans or aspirations beyond the age of 21. Many fear leaving their homes, and are afraid to attend school or even relax on their front porch.

While many young people are busy thinking about what high school or college to attend, some youth who are caught up in a web of violence and struggle have other concerns.

“I had a funeral director tell me he had an onslaught of young people coming into his funeral home to look around and plan their own services…just in case,” said Alvin Rider, a community engagement and outreach specialist for two Chicago-based youth intervention programs offering academic, mental health, and life skills training.

Recently, the Chicago Tribune reported 1,689 shootings for 2016, compared to 2,988 in 2015. This year, 277 homicides have occurred so far, compared to 489 last year. Though disturbing, recent statistics demonstrate that many urban youth have reason to feel threatened, abandoning usual feelings of invincibility shared by their more privileged counterparts who live in safer parts of the country.

Another survey by the Family-Informed Trauma Treatment Center of inner city kids states that “80% [of urban youth] have experienced one or more traumatic events." These tumultuous occurrences are not only dimming young Black people's outlooks on their future, but also prompts various mental health problems that parlay into both prominent and subdued reactions.

With these six tips, parents, guardians, neighbors, and educators can intervene and possibly help troubled youth cope with street violence.

1.      Openly talk to youth about the violence they witness and experience.

2.      Observe your child’s behaviors and look for changing trends or differences in their usual mannerisms, actions, and reactions.

3.      Be honest about your own emotions regarding violence; let youth know how violence has impacted you so that the child knows that he or she is not alone.

4.      Interact with an open mind by allowing the child to feel and express whatever emotions he or she wants to share.

5.      Remain judgment-free and do not blame or label the child based on his or her actions.

6.      Understand that there is a difference in generations. For example, a child who chooses to flee from a fight and tell an authority is smart, not a coward. Remember, these days guns have replaced fists in many neighborhood battles.

Read more at Ebony Magazine.

Photos from Artivist Workshop at Validus Preparatory Academy during the 8th Annual March Against Violence Day

The Validus Preparatory Academy invited Project Attica to facilitate breakout sessions during its 8th Annual March Against Violence day on May 31st.  The Validus March Against Violence is an annual event meant to engage the students and staff of Validus in showing their support and solidarity against gun violence by remembering two of its own, Martin Jackson and Nadairee Walters who were lost to gun violence in 2008.  After the breakout sessions the students marched in their community to Crotona Park to raise awareness about the negative effects of gun violence.  

Project Attica was able to teach students how to use art to address gun violence and spread empowerment through a non-violent means such as art.  We had an amazing workshop and we would like to thank BuildOn for their assistance in hosting our workshop. 

See photos from the event below.

Would you like to host one of our Artivism workshops at your school or non-profit? We would love to hear from you! Contact us!

Since 2011, Project Attica has brought Artivism – a free, dynamic, visual art, interactive workshop to students in New York City. Held in middle schools, high schools and community organizations in the city, Artivism provides students with a space to create works of art by expressing their views about social justice issues on wearable canvases.