Story Stitchers artists promote healing from CVPA shootings | Media Pyro


A St. Louis young artists’ nonprofit is teaming up with a north St. Louis church and a trauma surgeon this weekend to promote healing from last week’s deadly school shooting.

A St. Louis story Saturday visited the St. Philip’s Evangelical Lutheran Church Harvest Festival at Summer High School in the Stitchersville neighborhood to express their pain from the shooting at Central Visual and Performing Arts High School.

“No one wants to suffer alone,” said Brandon Lewis, Story Stitchers youth program coordinator. “I feel like part of an artist’s job is to express themselves for people who don’t have talent, because when they hear a song that says exactly what they’re feeling or that they can totally relate to, it makes them. Feel good.”

The gunman killed a student and a teacher and injured several others.

Summer High School invited a group of young people who fight gun violence through song, dance and other artistic expression.

While the kids jumped on the moon bounce and the adults grilled hot dogs, the performers performed original songs and dances.

“Despite the odds, I decided to turn the tables,” sang the duo. “Know that we matter.”

Several members of the group, including Lewis, are CVPA graduates. But Lewis said students at other high schools in the area were hurt by the shooting.

“Everyone can be a victim of a school shooting,” he said. The fact that it happened in the CVPA means it “could happen to anyone, anywhere,” Lewis said.

Trauma surgeon Dr. LJ The picnic also featured a lecture on the psychological damage gun violence causes.

Trauma surgeon LJ Punch addresses the crowd at the St Philip's Church Harvest Festival on October 29.

Sarah Phantom


St. Louis Public Radio

“Right now, they want adults to care,” trauma surgeon LJ Punch said at the St. Philip Harvest Festival of Children Affected by Gun Violence. “They’re like, ‘How are you not losing your mind?’ That’s why I say, ‘I’m losing my mind, it’s a big deal’.

“When all this powder, fire and missiles cut into one’s flesh faster than the speed of sound, it cuts to the soul,” Punch said.

“The trauma caused by a shooting is different from personal trauma,” he said. Unlike when one has an argument with a person, there is an opportunity for closure. That is not possible with bullets, he said.

After the lecture, Punch founded the Community Health Organization TQuestions were taken from the audience about how to deal with the effects of gun violence.

“Kindness, generosity, listening, being still, not judging, telling them in every possible way that they are safe now, is a very powerful way to help people,” he said.

Punch said adults and children should first pay attention to what their body needs – be it sleep, rest or food. They need to remind themselves that the tragedy is not their fault.

Adults, he added, need to show young people that their pain is taken seriously.

“Our creative safe havens have been destroyed,” Punch said. “I don’t know what’s more precious – that’s all I can say. Children need to know how much we care.

Follow Sarah on Twitter: @petit_smudge


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