Written by Jason Q. Purnell, PhD, associate professor in the Brown School
Last year, the For the Sake of All project team released a series of policy briefs and a report that analyzed the data around health disparities in the St. Louis region and outlined a set of recommendations to help close the gap. This year, the project is focused on ways to implement those recommendations.
One of the key takeaways from the report is captured by its second recommendation to “help low-to-moderate income families create economic opportunity.” In partnership with FOCUS St. Louis and the Policy Forum at the Brown School, For the Sake of All recently released Discussion Guides and Action Toolkits for both adult and youth audiences. These tools are designed to help community members implement the recommendations.
The Discussion Guide is designed to provide its readers with context, issues, and gaps surrounding economic opportunity in St. Louis. It highlights some key facts, figures, and takeaways from the For the Sake of All study, including:
- In St. Louis, rates of unemployment among African Americans are almost four times that of whites.
- Unemployment is linked to poor health and higher rates of death.
- While education levels among African Americans have improved in recent decades, there is still a significant gap, with 57% of African Americans in St. Louis attaining some college education, compared with 74% of whites.
- In 2012, among African Americans there were 3,143 total deaths among adults 25 and older, 319 (10%) due to poverty, and 262 (8%) due to low levels of education. In that same year, there were 8,618 deaths among white adults age 25 and older, 246 (3%) due to poverty and 292 (3%) due to low levels of education.
The Action Toolkit offers specific suggestions to help people take the report’s recommendations about creating economic opportunity and “Be thought leaders and agents of change in their community.”
The publication offers ideas for ways people can educate and inform, donate, volunteer, and advocate, along with a list of resources, talking points, and media tips to help community members make a difference.
By creating and disseminating these materials, and the accompanying publications aimed at a youth audience, the For the Sake of All team hopes to empower and enable anyone interested in improving the lives of all St. Louisans with the background, knowledge, ideas, and tools to be a part of shaping the future of our region.