St. Louis Mayor-elect Lyda Krewson has hired a woman who’s twice worked to help institute policy changes in Ferguson after Michael Brown’s 2014 shooting death.
Nicole Hudson will serve as a senior policy advisor, directing Krewson’s racial equity and priority initiatives. She’s been the leader of Forward Through Ferguson, a nonprofit set up to help others follow through on the Ferguson Commission’s recommendations.
Hudson’s departure from Forward Through Ferguson, which came about after the commission dissolved in 2015, comes as the group is mapping out how to implement the commission’s dozens of recommendations, including changing how police do their jobs and how African-Americans are educated and receive health care.
“We are just now starting to hit the ground with some fundraising,” said Hudson, who was the commission’s communications director. “We’ve had some pretty significant private gifts. We’ve had a couple of corporate gifts. And we start to do the asks, we have more yeses than we have had no’s — which is a great sign.”
Hudson said Forward through Ferguson is also planning to provide a “report on the report,” which checks up on how whether the report’s recommendations are being fulfilled.
“Obviously strategically working with Forward Through Ferguson would be a key part of my role there at City Hall,” Hudson said.
Hudson said she was drawn to join Krewson’s administration to provide a “platform for execution that otherwise wouldn’t be there.” And Krewson said Monday that elected officials need to make sure the commission “is not just another report that’s on the shelf – that we actually make a concerted effort on every level to implement the recommendations of the Ferguson Commission.”
“It’s one thing to say you’re going to make decisions through a racial equity lens,” Krewson said. “It’s a whole other thing to actually implement a program and a staff member who’s very integral to that. And that’s what we’re going to do.”
Hudson said she’s leaving Forward Through Ferguson at an opportune time.
Forward Through Ferguson will name an interim leader while seeking out a permanent replacement for Hudson, according to Rebeccah Bennett with Forward through Ferguson.
Hudson’s transition to City Hall is a positive step for implementing the commission’s recommendations, Bennett said, adding that it “means that there is political leadership, political agency, political resources that would be committed to helping to accelerate progress.”
“Nicole is not a woman to be trifled with,” Bennett said. “And so, while I cannot speak to Lyda Krewson’s intentions, my sense is that what she wanted was someone who was a change agent and whose focus is on regional transformation. And that’s exactly what she got.
“My hope is that this really turns into a real opportunity to do the heavy lifting around racial equity, which quite frankly requires not only civic leadership but political leadership as well.”
Hudson will join Krewson’s administration in several weeks. Krewson will take her oath of office at noon Tuesday.
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