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HomeGrown STL rallying cry: ‘Build the village that raises the child’

More than 120 people working to improve the lives of black boys and young men in St. Louis participated in the second annual HomeGrown STL Summit on February 8 at the Brown School of Social Work.

“Build the village that raises the child,” said Sean Joe, the Benjamin E. Youngdahl Professor of Social Development, who leads the HomeGrown STL initiative. “You’re part of that village.”

The deadly police shooting of Michael Brown in 2014 highlighted immense regional problems facing the well-being of black boys and young men, spurring the creation of HomeGrown STL, based at the Brown School’s Center for Social Development, to take on long-standing disparities. HomeGrown STL is composed of researchers, service providers, funders and advocates working to strengthen and support the health and development of the 60,000 black males ages 12 to 29 in the city and county.

The region suffers from fragmented efforts, and at the summit Joe urged collaboration and “rapid response” to the boys’ and men’s needs.

“We don’t have a long time for lengthy debates and reanalysis. But we have time for careful planning and action,” he said. “Today’s summit focuses on how we bring this effort to the streets.”


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