St. Louis nightlife influencers team up to address violence

ST. LOUIS - A lot has happened since last weekend's fatal shooting at Ballpark Village.

The alleged shooter is now in custody, increased security at the downtown attraction, and now St. Louis nightlife promoters teamed up to find a solution to the problem.

“For us to have the opportunity to pull everybody together, it was huge,” Kory Bernaugh said. “You could feel the energy.”

With every one of their events, Ono Ikanone and his promotions partner Kory Bernaugh says they strive for party goers to be safe and have a good time.

The two promoters have nothing to do with the ballpark shooting, but everything to do with figuring out a way to move St. Louis forward.

“Everyone needs to hold themselves accountable,” Ikanone said. “So if you’re going to have fun make sure you are doing it in a safe manner.”

On the heels of the latest tragedy, the promoters say they couldn’t stand by without making strides to solve the lingering problem.

The two of them, along with more than a dozen other club owners, DJs, and media personalities sat down for a candid discussion.

“It was from the youngest promoter that we have, to the oldest that’s been doing it for 40 years plus,” Bernaugh said. “So it was so many lessons and so many stories that some of us didn’t even know, now we know we can go about our business much better!”

Their new campaign is called #DearStLouis.

Its goal – to discuss current issues openly and improve the overall experience in the city of St. Louis.

“We want it to be a stamp of approval so when you see #DearSTL, it’s going to be a safe event,” Ikanone said. “It's going to fun and you’ll be able to mingle with professionals.”

If this initiative saves at least one life or encourages one person to put down a weapon, the promoters say that’s one step in the right direction.

“We don’t feel like we’re the end all be all solution,” Bernaugh said. “But we definitely want to play a big role in shaping the positive narrative for St. Louis!”