Dr. Sean Joe, Dr. Sonyia Richardson featured on Science Friday

The article titled “Pandemic Unveils Growing Suicide Crisis For Communities Of Color” quoted Dr. Sean Joe and Researcher Resiliency Training Fellow Dr. Sonyia Richardson. “COVID created more transparency regarding what we already knew was happening,” said Sonyia Richardson, a licensed clinical social worker who focuses on serving people of color and an assistant professor at the […]

Dr. Joe Quoted in New York Magazine

Dr. Joe was recently mentioned in the article “Deaths of Despair Have Surged Among People of Color: New data shows another disaster unfolding alongside the pandemic. ” for his research on suicidology among Black people in the United States. Below are some excerpts from the article. “Recent studies examining statewide data have found similar patterns, […]

Race and Opportunity Lab Director Quoted in New York Times Article

Dr. Joe was recently mentioned in the article “Will the Pandemic Result in More Suicides? ” for his research on suicide among Black people in the United States. Below are some excerpts from the article. “As Sean Joe, who is the director of the Race and Opportunity Lab at Washington University in St. Louis and who […]

CBA 101

Please take the time to watch this video with Robert Motley explaining the importance of a CBA. Robert Motley, MSW is the lab Manager at our Race and Opportunity Lab and is currently working on his dissertation focusing on the effect of racism based policing on Black emerging adults 18 to 29 years of age. […]

Congratulations to Dr. Sean Joe, MSW,PhD!

  Dr. Joe recently joined the advisory board of Washington University’s PEP, Prison Education Project, and the board of directors of the Independence Center. Learn more about these organizations at the links below. Independence Center                                      PEP

2020 Elevate Conference: Closing the Racial Wealth Gap

Morgan Graves Consultants, LLC is looking forward to hosting the 2nd Annual 2020 Elevate Conference: Closing the Racial Wealth Gap virtual series. The conference will offer invaluable tools and resources for community and business development opportunities, to decrease the existing racial wealth gap. The addition of the Vendor Hall will be offered in support of […]

HomeGrown StL Professional Development Grant Awardees

Congratulations to the HomeGrown StL Professional Development Grant Winners! Homegrown STL at Washington University created an opportunity for 11 staff from agencies in our Preferred Provider Network (PPN) to attend at no cost, the 14-week Community Health Worker program through the Workforce Solutions Group at St. Louis Community College. The program runs August 11th through November […]

Mentoring Alliance Capacity Building Mini-Grant awardees

Congratulations to the first cohort of HomeGrown StL Mentoring Alliance Capacity Building Mini-Grant awardees! Williams & Associates: Let’s Be Clear The Village ROPE Big Brothers Big Sisters of Eastern MO Each initiative will be awarded $3, 500 to help support and enhance the program’s ability to foster and support quality mentoring relationships for Black boys […]

Congratulations to our 2020 Lab graduates!

The Race and Opportunity Lab would like to congratulate their 2020 Lab graduates.  We thank them for all the great, hard work they have done to continue the great work of informing policies, interventions, and intra-professional practices in the St. Louis region.  

Harnessing the power of pressure by Wesley Agee

Like a diamond formed by the weight of the Earth, I feel an immense pressure to perform as a student, a son, a father, a husband-to-be, and a young black man. The pressure of these roles could make or break a man and reveal to the world his true character – especially during the most […]

Black struggle, white privilege and the need for mentorship by Andre Walker

As a black man, I felt significant pressure to succeed from my culture but lacked the support, tools and resources needed to help guide me on the road to achievement I so desperately wanted to reach. Sadly, the consequences of my reality did not go unnoticed. I struggled with keeping my grades up and, as […]

Changing the way we treat young black males by E. Charles Conway

It was August 9, 2014 and I was teaching a class in Cape Girardeau, when my phone started to vibrate non-stop. I picked the phone up and viewed a young black man lying in the street. I told the class that another brother had been shot in St. Louis. As I continued the class, the […]

Black depression and anxiety matter – and can be overcome by Brendan Underwood

August 27, 2014 was the worst and best birthday of my life. The night of that birthday I was furious. My face was stained with tears of frustration and pain at what had transpired in Ferguson just 18 days earlier. On August 9, Michael Brown was gunned down in the middle of the street. His […]

Agent of deliverance, catalyst for healing by the Reverend Eric Battle

Growing up in St. Louis and in a sanctified church, I became very adept at sneaking around. I could not sow my wild oats in front of my parents who fully endorsed the message found in Proverbs 13:24: that sparing the rod creates a spoiled child. So, to spare myself from the rod, I was […]

Moving from under-served to well-deserved communities by Andra Lang Jr

In high school, I was selected to be a part of a group of individuals who were mentored by  undergraduate students at Washington University in St. Louis for two semesters. This experience had a huge impact on my growth as a youth. This gave me a sense of confidence that I needed to pursue higher […]

Serving on the front lines in St. Louis by Cory Mitchell

I didn’t choose social work, but I did choose to work in the greater St. Louis community once social work chose me. Since September 2018 I have worked for BJC Behavioral Health as a senior community support specialist. Our project is called emergency room enhancement. The team I am a part of is interagency, and […]

I am my brother’s keeper by Tony Gunn Jr.

I grew up in an abusive turned single-parent household and then became a role model to my son, brother, little cousins, niece, and nephew whose fathers weren’t around. This put a lot of pressure on me. Inevitably, I built up this societal depiction of masculinity where you limit your cries, take a hit and show […]

When I started making good decisions by Howard Hughes

I spent most of my childhood growing up in John DeShields Projects in East St. Louis and the rest of my adolescent years growing up in the streets of St. Louis. In both I had my fair share of gang and gun violence, and I lost friends and family to both. I even had my fair […]

We have to lead the dialogue about us by Chauncey Nelson

We had learned to make a way for ourselves, when there was nowhere to go. We developed a means to living without knowing what we were living for. We had created a purpose for ourselves when no one was giving us any opportunities. The world had shown us how much it valued us, and we […]

Finding the king within by Kaylan D. Holloway

One morning, I woke up to “go home ni**er” written on the bathroom mirror. The next morning someone spread cotton balls across the lawn and entrance of the Gaines/Oldham Black Culture Center. Later that day, a professor asked students what city and high school we came from. When I said I had graduated from Saint […]

My Brother’s Keeper Alliance bring HomeGrown STL into its fold

Inspired by HomeGrown STL’s “strong track record of working to improve life outcomes for boys and young men of color,” the Obama Foundation’s My Brother’s Keeper Alliance has named HomeGrown STL a “Community to Watch.” Professor Sean Joe, director of HomeGrown STL, announced the designation last week at HomeGrown’s third annual regional summit, “Building Capacity for […]

My journey from convict to mentor By Demetrius Evans

From age 7 to 33 I was in and out of the juvenile and adult prison systems. I remember a traumatic and lifetime-humbling experience with police officers with our guns drawn and their K-9 dog simultaneously chewing on my ankles. I could have died that day. A police officer could have died that day. I […]

We can build stronger children By Orv Kimbrough

To focus my thoughts, I sought the help of friends by asking, “What is needed for us to create the conditions for more black boys and men to be successful?” Across age, gender and race, the answers aligned along similar themes, from supporting two-parent stable families, to bestowing higher esteem and compensation on the best […]

I chose education as my path By Xavier Blackwell

As a St. Louis native, I wasn’t surrounded by individuals as an adolescent who shared my current mindset that anything is possible. Growing up in North St. Louis on Natural Bridge and Newstead, I wasn’t surrounded by individuals who looked like me and were accomplishing positive goals. Instead, I was surrounded by unfortunate distractions that […]

How I found a way through By Joseph Smart

Outside of going to church and school, I was basically a homebody. I rarely could go anywhere with my friends. When I did go outside, I would always have to stay in the front of the house. I thought that my mother was real strict. It wasn’t until I was older that I realized she […]

Algorithms and African-American life by William F. Tate

During the early 1990s, I served on the faculty of the University of Wisconsin at Madison. As was the custom, I presented the early version of a paper to my colleagues. The paper asserted that the use of mathematics and statistics in our democratic society is often linked to an attempt by one group seeking […]

I try to help out and give back By RaJae Johnson

I am a 20-year-old African-American male born and raised in the ghetto of St. Louis. I graduated from Jennings Senior High School, where I was a three-sport athlete (football, basketball and baseball) and received a lot of local attention for it. I dealt with a lot of stuff because of my skin color, on and […]

Moving ‘Beyond Jobs’ to regional change By Jason Watson

Nobody is shocked that life is dark in parts of our city. But not everyone has walked the walk and lived the life to understand how hopeless it really can seem. Growing up in Walnut Park, in the heart of North St. Louis, the youngest of 10 kids in a single-parent home, I know what […]

We must heal black men to heal our region By Mikel Whittier

Before my first day of kindergarten I bore a scar on my forehead from being hit with a beer bottle. While my mom panicked, I stood there emotionless as blood ran down my face. I had developed the skill to internalize my emotions for protection. I carry memories of observing drug sales and drug use, […]

I am grateful for having kept my pledge by Malik Ahmed

I am grateful to be alive and in relatively good health. Many black men who were born and raised under impoverished conditions don’t live long enough to tell their story of overcoming the many obstacles that clogged their path and the joy of the journey. I am grateful to have been raised by a loving […]

Learning to nurture by Marcel Scaife

I grew up in a two-parent, two-income household in Jennings. I would say I had it pretty good.  In the late 1980s and early ‘90s, Jennings was a great place to be. I can remember my dad taking me to Northland or River Roads to shop. I had white classmates and white neighbors. I understood […]

From destruction to responsibility by Farrakhan Shegog

Growing up, I was told St. Louis makes people tough. It was said people came from all over the country to St. Louis to gain street credit. Today, we have many young black males in St. Louis fleeing to other cities to escape the tragedy of St. Louis. I spent most of my childhood in […]

Living for myself and Demetri by Tyshon Sikes

I grew up without my biological father. Not having that portion of my life caused distress and anger. I was constantly getting in trouble at school and at home to get my anger out. I moved in with my grandfather when I was 4 years old because he spoiled me and I enjoyed being with […]

My Brother’s Keeper Alliance (MBK) Communties to Watch

We are happy to annouce that we are listed as a apart of Obama’s Foundation My Brother’s Keeper Alliance. “The following communities received significant consideration but we are unfortunately unable to financially support them at this time. However, each of these organizations has a strong track record of working on behalf of boys and young […]

Reviving forgotten communities by Cyril D. Loum

Upon arrival in the United States, my parents had their funding as missionaries discontinued because they chose to be with their children away from a war-torn country. This meant that our food came from food banks and clothing from co-ops, which ended up providing us with the necessary resources to survive. Survival also was based […]

Finding – and showing – a way out of the streets by Steve Thomas

I was raised with a disciplinary mother in a home with no father. Having a background in the streets was an involuntary decision. I remember living house-to-house on the floor. The only time I ate was at school or when my friends had food to share. Being a young man who wanted more in life […]

Fulfilling the expectations of a man by Chester A. Deanes Jr.

My parents migrated to St. Louis from Aberdeen, Mississippi, expecting to build a good life for us. A year later, Daddy left us. He sent us Easter clothes and trunks full of toys during Christmas. He was not present and involved, but he sent packages! We eventually moved into the Pruitt-Igoe housing projects. There were […]

Why Didn’t I Kill Him?

Editor’s Note: Luther O. Tyus is a graduate research assistant in the Brown School at Washington University in St. Louis, as well as an eight-year veteran of the St. Louis Police Department and a certified Peace Officer Standards and Training police instructor. The views expressed in this commentary are his own. The first time I almost killed a […]

Disparities in Educational Experiences of Black Youth

A more comprehensive picture of mental health that includes subjective well-being and other positive mental health characteristics could lead to more successful educational experiences among black youth, finds a recent study from the Brown School at Washington University in St. Louis. “We demonstrated the need to use a dual-factor model of mental health among adolescents […]

How I learned to be a leader by Jerrel Sibert

On September 23, 2005, a black male was born in St. Louis, Missouri, and my parents named me Jerrel Sibert. Growing up I was a pretty privileged black kid who always had a lot of toys and entertainment. So I never knew the issues that were going on around me in my own city, like […]

Investment in black males pays off by Kelvin J. Taylor Sr.

While 66 percent of African-American children live in single-parent households, black students attend disproportionately underfunded schools, and black juveniles are 5 times more likely to be incarcerated than their white counterparts, we are neither predisposed nor destined for bad outcomes. The black men in my circle are pastors, bankers, philanthropists, successful entrepreneurs, corporate officers and […]

Beyond fear of the black male by Curtis O’Dwyer

On August 15, 2014, the day after celebrating new beginnings by proposing to my wife, I returned to my city in turmoil. Many mourned the death of Michael Brown. The raw footage on the news and social media outlets depicted outrage and uprising. Ferguson was in a state of emergency, and I was only five […]

Saving our sons – and all our students by Michael P. McMillan

As the new school year begins we need to see what has changed in our educational system, especially for African Americans. For the first time in many years, the responsibility of educating students is returning to the states. The U.S. Department of Education has approved Missouri’s state plan for public education under the Every Student […]

The black man who survived education by Luther O. Tyus

I will never forget what my Riverview Gardens elementary principal, Denis Dorsey, told my parents. He told my parents that I wasn’t smart enough for college. I didn’t have what it took, he said. I was in the second grade, and I had already developed a healthy dislike for school.  Sure, I wasn’t a model […]

Learning to beat the cheat by Mike Jones

When I was 12 or 13 years old, my father gave me some advice that became the compass for my journey through this American life. He said, “Michael, if you’re going to gamble, the first thing you have to do is learn to cheat. Not so you can cheat people, but so you’ll know when […]

My journey to training responsible fathers by Halbert Sullivan

  During my religious upbringing, I was taught, “Train up the child in the way they should go and they will not depart from it.” These words help set the foundation for the work I do. I believe that effective parenting plays a major role in the emotional and psychological development of a child. Children […]