Two major events happened on August 9th. Michael Brown was shot dead in Ferguson and the son of Bruce Franks, Jr. (King) was born. Activist. Father. Rapper. On Election Day, when the numbers came in, not only did Franks win, he won with 76 percent of the vote — 2,234 votes, to be exact. That was more votes than anybody earned in that district’s history. The kid from 4300 Gibson, with all these tattoos on his face, the one who raps, that who was in the front lines of Ferguson, won an election in St. Louis, Missouri. State Representative. Most lawmakers in the Missouri House of Representatives are white Republicans. Bruce, 34, represents a St. Louis district where African Americans make just half of what their white neighbors earn and the city has the highest murder rate in the United States.
Faced with the uphill battle of fighting against politicians who don not understand the dire needs of his community do not stop Bruce from proposing a bill declaring youth violence as a public health epidemic. If the bill is passed it would provide critical funding for intervention programs, instead of incarceration. There were 200 murders with victims between the ages of 16-24 coming from communities with lack of resources.
Franks motivation for this bill was the senseless murder of his little brother Chris Davis, who was shot and killed while playing outside. June 7th is now know as Chris Davis Day with a statue erected in his honor. Bruce Franks, Jr. really is a live Black St. Louis Superman.
As a native of St. Louis, I grew up in a city that was so safe you literally could leave your home and car doors unlocked or open without fear of theft or violence. Clearly, this is no longer the case. It’s refreshing that Franks is represents a whole new generation who has had to endure injustices based on color, gender and the misfortune of being poor in America. His inspiration to youth around the country with his bravery on the front lines of Ferguson and sharing the story of his brother Chris are beyond admirable. St. Louis Superman is a must-see and proves that the power of sheer will, determination and honesty still go a long way.
Director/Producers Smriti Mundra, Sami Kahn and Bruce Franks, Jr took time to chat with me about their amazing short which will be a part of the AFI DOCS Film Festival in Washington, DC June 19- 23. Take a Listen…