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Media Advisory: Upcoming Art Exhibition Honors Stories of Women Whose Loved Ones Have been Killed by Police and Died in Jail  

January 13, 2023

Upcoming Art Exhibition Honors Stories of Women Whose Loved Ones Have been Killed by Police and Died in Jail  

For years, St. Louis has made national news as a place where people are frequently killed by police and die in jail custody. Within this particularly lethal landscape, surviving loved ones – particularly Black women and women of color — are often the ones who pick up the pieces, support their families, and lead the fight for justice. Yet, the struggles of women survivors are usually overlooked, as the challenges they face continue after the camera crews leave and headlines subside. In hearing their stories, ArchCity Defenders (ACD) saw a need to shift the conversation around fatal state violence to center the experiences of women survivors. This takes shape as the art exhibition, “Bound by Blood,” the accompanying publication, “In Her Words: The Impact of Fatal State Violence on Black Women and Women of Color Left Behind,” and the opening night event.

What: Opening night for the exhibition “Bound by Blood,” publication release, and keynote address by Andrea Ritchie 

  • On January 20, 2023, the public is invited to attend opening night of the multimedia exhibition, “Bound by Blood,” which features a series of portraits and video stories told by Tammy Bufford, Toni Taylor, Gina Torres, Khorry Ramey, Wanda Parker, and Maria Miller – women whose loved ones were killed by police or died in custody, and Lexii Alexander, an incarcerated Black transgender woman whose life is constantly jeopardized. 
  • On opening night, the program will begin with a libations pouring in honor of those killed by police and who have died in jail, followed by a short video compilation of the stories told by the women featured, and a keynote by distinguished writer, lawyer, and activist Andrea Ritchie. The event rounds out with an open gallery and live music from the Bosman Twins.  
  • A limited, first edition of the publication, “In Her Words: The Impact of Fatal State Violence on Black Women and Women of Color,” will be available.  

Registration for opening night is required for members of the news media and general audience, and may be done online here. This is a no cost event. Please note, some content contains descriptions of state, racial, and sexual violence. 

When: Friday, January 20, 2023. Doors open at 5:30pm, the program runs from 6 – 7:30pm, and concludes with an open gallery between 7:30-8:30pm.   

The “Bound by Blood” exhibition will be available for viewing between Saturday, January 21, 2023, and Friday, February 3, 2023, during The Luminary’s gallery hours of 9:00am – 3:00pm. 

Where: The Luminary, 2701 Cherokee St, St. Louis, MO 63118

Background: Nearly two years ago, on January 18, 2021, ArchCity Defenders released a report, “Death by the State: Police Killings and Jail Deaths in St. Louis.” While the research findings and public data show that Black men experience higher rates of death by fatal state violence than any other demographic in the St. Louis Region, ACD’s work with numerous impacted families over the years has made it increasingly clear that survivors and those left behind, particularly Black women and women of color, also face a myriad of life-altering consequences. 

Overwhelmingly, these women are bound to a shared experience by blood. Their perspectives illustrate why we need to deepen our understanding of fatal state violence, whom it impacts, and how.  

The exhibition “Bound by Blood” is a collaboration between ArchCity Defenders, My Friends and I, and The Luminary.  


ArchCity Defenders is a holistic legal advocacy organization committed to combatting the criminalization of poverty and state violence, especially in communities of color. ACD’s foundation of civil and criminal legal representation, social services, impact litigation, policy and media advocacy, and community collaboration achieves and inspires justice and equitable outcomes for people throughout the St. Louis region and beyond.  

My Friends and I is a hub for visual storytelling and video production created by Cami Thomas in 2016. Based in the South Side of St. Louis, Missouri and operating under the motto of “creation for creation’s sake” each visual production combines the creative perspectives of a rich, inspired, and diverse community of artists from the Midwest. 

The Luminary is an expansive platform for art, thought and action. Since its inception The Luminary has been a home for exceptional art that engages the pressing issues of the present. Through an active roster of exhibitions, residencies, performances, publications and gatherings, we act as a point of convergence for diverse publics. We cultivate thoughtful platforms for exchange, support forward-moving art and ideas, and attempt to model a more equitable and interconnected art world as an institution of our time. 


Media Contacts:
Angelo Vidal, Communications Fellow, ArchCity Defenders
(314) 861-7681

Z Gorley, Communications Director, ArchCity Defenders
(314) 898-8185