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St. Louis activists protest death and inequality with banners on I-70

Jenny Simeone | St. Louis Public Radio
St. Louis Action Council members hang a banner that says "Invest in North City" over the Adelaide overpass on Interstate 70 facing westbound traffic.

Community activists draped banners over several overpasses over westbound Interstate 70 on Wednesday to call attention to neglected parts of St. Louis and protest police killings of black people.

Each banner greeted commuters heading into St. Louis County with messages like “Black Lives Matter,” “Police Stop Killing Us” and “Invest in North City.” Kayla Reed, one of the organizers with the St. Louis Action Council, said they chose I-70 because it allows drivers to pass quickly through areas with high rates of unemployment, infant mortality and crime.

Credit Rodney Brown | St. Louis Action Council
One of the banners activists hung over I-70 calling for more investment in transportation, housing, and jobs.

“Everyday, people leave downtown or come in from Illinois drive into the county and they pass the part of the city that’s full of abandoned houses, where there’s the highest infant mortality rate, the highest murder rate, the highest high school dropout rate, the highest unemployment rate,” Reed said.  

“This is all in North City and everyday people drive through it but they don’t stop and actually see the problems," she said. "So we wanted people on their ride home to remember that there are people who need resources and that we need to be advocating for them.”

The St. Louis Action Council activists describe the collective as community members who leverage protest and political education to advance demands to help black people in the area.

The banner drop marked the end of a larger national effort that activists in St. Louis and across the nation have called “Black August.”

Follow Jenny on Twitter @jnnsmn