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Advancing Racial Equity Through the Power of Storytelling

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Life in St. Louis’s most vulnerable neighborhoods amid the coronavirus  


Requiem For A Friend And Neighbor

Requiem For A Friend And Neighbor

Valerie Nichols “was the type of worker you didn’t know you needed until she wasn’t there,” writes Stu Durando in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. Stu had been keeping track of Ms. Nichols as part of Before Ferguson Beyond Ferguson’s 63106 Project, which shines a light on our region’s most vulnerable residents in the time of the pandemic. These stories by turns have been inspiring and heartbreaking. This one is both. Our work is produced in partnership with the Pulitzer Center.


A most essential worker

A most essential worker

BFBF storyteller Leyla Fern King shares chapter one in the story of Misha Marshall and her family. Misha — or Mama Misha as she is known to some — is a medical technician who has gone above and beyond to care for the people around her as well as far and wide.
Life Support

Life Support

Beverly Jones can hardly wait to get back to the neighborhood she knows and loves. It’s a neighborhood that’s hard to love and in the time of the pandemic even more difficult. “I don’t have time to be sick,” Jones said last month, “because I am helping everybody else.” But last week, Jones contracted COVID-19.


School leaders face pressure to address racial disparities as they try to reopen schools

Before Ferguson Beyond Ferguson is on the case for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch

While school district administrators across the region are in the throes of trying to safely start school in a raging pandemic, they are also facing pressure to act on racial equity issues that have been festering for decades. 

Click here to read the story as presented in the Post-Dispatch.

Update: Clayton Superintendent Sean Doherty to step down at end of school year.

For more depth click here for interviews with social justice warriors bearing witness to their experiences.

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Pandemic-related Resources

Rebeccah Bennett, founder of the InPower Institute, provides candid and useful guidance to Black St. Louisans on how to deal with the pandemic. It is offered through PrepareSTL, a portal for all things related to COVID-19.

Image of a woman with a mask

Read this clearly-written and well-presented package from Forward Through Ferguson and Washington University’s Prevention Research Center on how the pandemic falls most heavily on Black residents. It’s a multi-part series with interactive graphics that is continually updated with fresh data and insights.

About the 63106 project

A few years ago, we started a non-profit, called Before Ferguson Beyond Ferguson, a racial equity storytelling project. We sought to tell the story of local African-American families that have struggled over generations in our town to gain their purchase on the American Dream.

The stories were aimed at creating a culture of understanding and empathy in our community that would support the racial equity recommendations of the Ferguson Commission.

Then the pandemic came along and we put our project and into overdrive. We created the 63106 Project, which focuses on families in neighborhoods with the most problematic social determinants of health.

What our project attempts to do for the community is to connect the heart and the mind. We now know what the pandemic is. We also know why it is. But here we are telling readers how it is in these particular neighborhoods, for these particular people.

Before Ferguson Beyond Ferguson operates because of generous donors.

Thank you for your support.

Our Media Partners & Sponsors

Thank you to our our donors:

Bartholomew, Shevlin & Cook, LLP – Buckingham Strategic Wealth Pillar Grant – Carolyn Losos – Michael and Lecie Lowenbaum – Sybil Mervis – Pulitzer Center – Richard and Josephine Weil

And to our media sponsors and community partners: