Forward Through Ferguson – A Path Toward Racial Equity

Source: Ferguson Commission, 2015

After the death of Michael Brown, Jr. on Aug. 9, 2014, “Ferguson” came to symbolize racial strife and inequality in the United States. From Paris to London to Singapore and throughout this country, the circumstances surrounding and following his death have sharply defined the challenges that demand transformation. The alternative to change is to accept an untenable environment that is fraught with inequities and continued conflict. The Governor asked a group of regional leaders — The Ferguson Commission — to study the situation and prove a path toward change. This is their report.

The Commission’s charge was to address the underlying root causes that led to the unrest in the wake of Michael Brown Jr’s death. Race is inherent in every root cause. Eliminating existing disparities for racial and ethnic populations is a fundamental goal of the calls in this report.

Achieving justice for all requires a commitment to begin an honest review of how consolidation of police departments and municipal courts could commence. Building relationships based upon mutual respect and trust, being transparent about challenging and destructive behaviors and embracing fair and reasonable laws and policies will lay the foundation for unbiased, responsive government.

Our youth present our greatest opportunity to impact positive and lasting change. Addressing our endeavors to the whole child through education, health, encouragement, support and opportunities will fundamentally change their lives now and their futures forever.

Escaping the vicious cycle of economic strife is a struggle at the crossroads of health, employment, education, housing and finances. Families and individuals whose lives hover at the edge of financial stability are devastated when faced with an unexpected or unmanageable financial set back and often never recover. Predatory lending practices shamelessly prey upon people when they are at their most vulnerable.

This report is not in any way an investigation of what happened between Michael Brown Jr. and Officer Darren Wilson in Ferguson on August 9, 2014, nor is it an investigation of the response to the uprising that followed. Other bodies have been responsible for those investigations. Consistent with our charge, this report is a “a wideranging, in-depth study of the underlying issues brought to light by the events in Ferguson.” In other words, we have looked at a wide variety of factors—social, political, historic, economic, educational, and racial, among them—that contributed to the climate in which those events occurred. Some of the things we look at may at first seem unrelated to the events in Ferguson. However, our work and the community feedback has shown that these factors have either a direct or indirect connection to the environment in the St. Louis region, and therefore must be considered when discussing any potential changes that might lead to progress….
The Commission
The Process of Change
Executive Summary