Nearly a hundred newspapers across the country (and countless blogs and forums) have picked up a story about my decision not to name an “Ike Turner Day” in the City of St. Louis, when Mr. Turner headlines the annual Big Muddy Blues Festival on Laclede’s Landing in September
In the normal course of events, I probably would have. After all, I am presented with hundreds of requests for proclamations a month. I sign almost all of them, which is why so many St. Louis homes and businesses display mayoral certificates — and why they are rarely noticed by the media.
This one, though, was different.
Ike Turner is a great musician, but it is for his troubled history as an abusive spouse that most younger people know him. To my knowledge, he has never expressed any remorse for that past nor made any amends. And, that’s too bad. A person of his stature in the music and entertainment world would be a powerful voice calling attention to the issues of domestic and family violence.
The St. Louis Family Justice Center provides one-stop medical, legal, counseling, and shelter services for local victims of spousal, senior, or child abuse and their families. The partner organizations that staff it, including the St. Louis Police Department and the St. Louis Circuit Attorney’s office, do a wonderful job there. But, the good work is limited by its budget — and its budget perennially lags the need.
I would not sign a proclamation naming an “Ike Turner Day in St. Louis” to mark a performance, however memorable, at a music festival. I would, however, sign one honoring a Turner visit in support of the work of the Family Justice Center. They certainly deserve it — and a hundred newspaper stories of their own.