Ferguson Commission | St. Louis Public Radio

Ferguson Commission

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There will be another attempt to pass a payday loan bill during next year's legislative session in Jefferson City. State Rep. Charlie Davis, R-Webb City, is planning to refile a proposal he submitted earlier this year but did not receive a hearing. It would place limits on how often a payday loan can be renewed and how much money a person is allowed to take out at one time.

Although the payday loan industry has come under fire for high interest rates and other business practices, supporters say the operations fill a need for people who might not have easy access to money to help pay bills and cover other expenses.
taberandrew | Flickr

The recommendations of the Ferguson Commission are being touted as a potential roadmap to move forward in the St. Louis region after this year's protests stemming from the not guilty verdict in the murder trial of a former St. Louis Metropolitan Police Officer.  Some of the proposals deal with predatory lending, which often traps low-income earners with very high-interest loans.

A protester stands in front of a line of St. Louis Police officers on Sept. 15, 2017.
File photo | Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

As the days of demonstrations over Jason Stockley’s acquittal go on, protesters in St. Louis are outlining the policy changes they say will help create a more equitable justice system and police department.

The main demands involve giving St. Louis and St. Louis County police additional training, equipment and oversight — things that were proposed after a Ferguson officer shot Michael Brown in 2014 but never enacted. That’s because most bills required changes to state law, and the GOP-controlled General Assembly didn’t go for it.

Alderman John Collins-Muhammad, D-21st Ward, speaks as Anthony Lamar Smith's parents, Annie Smith and Darvell Smith Sr., look on.
Jason Rosenbaum I St. Louis Public Radio

As protests continue over the acquittal of former police officer Jason Stockley of first-degree murder, the St. Louis Board of Aldermen is honoring the man he shot and killed: Anthony Lamar Smith.

The Board’s actions on Friday came as St. Louis Mayor Lyda Krewson is embracing the Ferguson Commission report, a collection of dozens of policy recommendations that was laid out after the 2014 death of Michael Brown in Ferguson, as the way forward.

Rebeccah Bennett and Zack Boyers joined St. Louis on the Air tomorrow to discsuss what Forward Through Ferguson is working on.
Kelly Moffitt | St. Louis Public Radio

“We live in the same world, but don’t share the same reality. Realities are as unique as fingerprints.”

So says Rebeccah Bennett, one of two new co-chairs of Forward Through Ferguson.

Forward Through Ferguson is the organization that grew out of the Ferguson Commission, which was created by former Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon in response to events that unfolded in Ferguson following the police shooting death of Michael Brown in August of 2014.

Forward Through Ferguson's Nicole Hudson is joining St. Louis Mayor-elect Lyda Krewson's administration.
Photo courtesy of Nicole Hudson I Lindy Drew

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.

This collage includes pictures of Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon from every year of his tenure.
Provided by Gov. Nixon's office and Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

As Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon’s tenure in the executive branch ends, he's leaving something of a paradoxical legacy.

The Democratic statewide official achieved nearly unprecedented political success for himself, even as his party lost huge areas of support in rural Missouri. After his promises to expand the state’s Medicaid program ran into intractable opposition, Nixon spent a sizable part of his tenure paring back state governmental agencies.

Lydia Adams speaks during the public comment section of the Ferguson Commission meeting. Adams was one of numerous speakers who spoke during Monday's meeting, which took place in Ferguson.
Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio

The Missouri Foundation for Health has announced that it will donate $6 million to address health issues raised by the Ferguson Commission last year. The priorities include gun violence, food insecurity and toxic stress.

Members of the Ferguson Commission lead a moment of reflection on Monday in St. Louis. The Commission held its final meeting in St. Louis.
Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio

Since its inception, the Ferguson Commission faced doubters wondering whether a group of gubernatorial appointees could heal decades-long divides throughout St. Louis. And before she joined on as the commission’s communications director, Nicole Hudson shared some of that skepticism.

Kelly Moffitt | St. Louis Public Radio

On Wednesday, St. Louis on the Air hosted a discussion with Rev. Starsky Wilson and Thomas Harvey about municipal court reform. Wilson was a co-chair of the Ferguson Commission and is president and CEO at the Deaconess Foundation. Harvey is the co-founder and executive director of ArchCity Defenders.

Courtesy | Ameren Corporation

Promoting diversity within a corporation is nothing new.

But Ameren Corporation announced Thursday it will make its new "Discussion Across Differences" videos and materials available to other groups, free of charge.

The University of Missouri-Columbia is under the national microscope after a series of racially-charged incidents on campus.
Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio file photo

From Ferguson to Syria: Though separated by more than 6,000 miles, these places were the setting for events that many St. Louisans recalled as they reflected on the news of 2015.

Ferguson, a mid-size city in north St. Louis County, was the first thought of many people who responded to a call for suggestions put out by St. Louis Public Radio’s Public Insight Network. A year and a half since the shooting death of a young man named Michael Brown by a police officer named Darren Wilson, many area residents consider that case, and its aftermath, the top news story of the year.

Rev. Starsky Wilson speaks at the final meeting of the Ferguson Commission.
Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio

Most people had left the room when it was Starsky Wilson’s turn to speak in the final moments of the Ferguson Commission’s last public meeting.

I, thankfully, stayed and listened.

Members of the Ferguson Commission lead a moment of reflection on Monday in St. Louis. The Commission held its final meeting in St. Louis.
Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio

The Ferguson Commission is wrapping up its work examining economic, educational and law enforcement inequities throughout St. Louis.

In its final meeting Monday night, the group did not completely turn over its agenda to Focus St. Louis, as had been anticipated, but created a new bridge entity that will work with Focus. At issue was how to push for change and encourage discussion.

Missouri Department of Public Safety Director Lane Roberts, second from right, discusses upgraded training standards before Tuesday's vote. Ron Johnson on far right
Marshall Griffin | St. Louis Public Radio

Police officers in Missouri will be getting more training in how to interact with potential suspects and the public at large.

The Peace Officers Standards and Training Commission voted unanimously Tuesday for the new standards, which expand the number of hours of training a year to 24 from the current 16 that officers must have to remain licensed.

Mayor Francis Slay and attorney general Chris Koster listen to speakers at a second accountability meeting for politicians on Nov 23.
Rachel Lippmann | St. Louis Public Radio

In a major policy shift, St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay has announced that he could support giving the new civilian oversight board subpoena power, and moving it from the umbrella of the public safety department, under certain circumstances.

The announcement came at a second "accountability meeting" arranged by a variety of activist groups as a platform for politicians to announce exactly what steps they will take to fulfill the recommendations of the Ferguson Commission. Slay was unable to make the first meeting, on Nov. 1.

Ferguson Commission manager director Bethany Johnson-Javois and co-chairman Rich McClure look at some notes before the start of Wednesday's meeting.
File photo by Jason Rosenbaum I St. Louis Public Radio

On Monday, commissioners heard from FOCUS St. Louis, which wants to become what the commission describes as a “core intermediary” or a group that “provides infrastructure and support to advance the work of the Ferguson Commission."

Conference-goers encourage each other to push for the implementation of Ferguson Commission recommendations Saturday Oct. 31, 2015 at St. John's Church.
Camille Phillips | St. Louis Public Radio

With the Ferguson Commission disbanding at the end of the year, whether or not its recommendations are implemented depend in large part on the support of local and state leaders.

The Ferguson Commission has no authority of its own to implement its recommendations.

Left: Audience members at an Ameren employee diversity festival clap when Ameren's $2.5 million donation is announced on Sat. Oct. 3, 2015 in St. Louis. Right: Rev. Earl Nance Jr. of Heat Up St. Louis shakes hands with Ameren CEO Warner Baxter.
Camille Phillips | St. Louis Public Radio

​Updated at 10 a.m. Oct. 4 with more detail on recipients - Ameren Corporation has pledged $2.5 million dollars to programs that support the Ferguson Commission’s priorities to reduce poverty and improve educational opportunities in St. Louis. The commission’s other priorities include justice and racial equity.

Ameren announced the funding Saturday during an employee festival celebrating diversity.

Mayor Francis Slay and County Executive Steve Stenger
Jason Rosenbaum and Alex Heuer | St. Louis Public Radio

The leaders of St. Louis and St. Louis County say their administrations are tackling the big issues that were highlighted in the Ferguson Commission report.

The commission’s nearly 200-page final report showcased substantial racial, economic and social divides throughout the St. Louis region and provided dozens of policy recommendations. Many of the report’s suggestions require action from the Missouri General Assembly, but some could be implemented by local governments.

Kelly Moffitt / St. Louis Public Radio

At our latest forum at Wellspring Church in Ferguson, we wanted to help those attending visualize their top priority for moving Ferguson forward.

We gave each person attending the event a blue dot. They were asked to then assign the dot to their top priority in one of four areas:  

Wellspring Church in Ferguson, September 21, 2015.
Kelly Moffitt, St. Louis Public Radio

Updated at 1:20 p.m., Sept. 22, with audio - Change can come to the St. Louis region, but people throughout the area have to be willing to do the work.

That was the message Monday night at a roundtable at Wellspring Church in Ferguson looking at the 189 recommendations outlined in the report of the Ferguson Commission.


Want to hear Part Two of the two-part "Ferguson Commission: Where Do We Go From Here?" panel? You can find it here

Tim Lloyd / St. Louis Public Radio

This is Kameel Stanley's inaugural article for St. Louis Public Radio's We Live Here project. We asked her to introduce herself. Here is what she wrote:

Two things have consistently come up since I moved to St. Louis a few weeks ago.

Namely, my roots and my race.

Kelly Moffitt | St. Louis Public Radio

The Ferguson Commission has released its long-awaited report filled with calls to action for St. Louis government, the criminal justice system and the community. Join St. Louis Public Radio for a public town hall on Monday, Sept. 21, to discuss the report’s recommendations and what can be done to make them a reality beyond Ferguson and effect positive changes in the area.

St. Louis County Prosecutor Bob McCulloch was sworn in for his latest four-year term. He's been in the office since 1991.
Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio

After Michael Brown’s shooting death, St. Louis County Prosecutor Bob McCulloch was thrust into the national spotlight based on a relatively simple question: Should he be involved in the case at all?

Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon accepts a copy of the Ferguson Commission's recomendations from co-chairs Rich McClure (L) and Rev. Starsky Wilson during a press conference in Florissant.
Bill Greenblatt I UPI

Two unavoidable questions face St. Louisans now that the Ferguson Commission has made its report: What will change and who will change it? But something fundamental has changed already. Speaking as representatives of our region, the commission members declared – officially, directly and publicly: “We have not moved beyond race.”

Ferguson Commission co-chairs Starsky Wilson and Rich McClure share a laugh at the Deaconness Foundation before publicly presenting the Ferguson Commission report.
Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio

On a special edition of Politically Speaking, Ferguson Commission co-chairmen Rich McClure and Starsky Wilson talk about a blunt assessment of a racially-divided St. Louis.

    

The Ferguson Commission was set up by Gov. Jay Nixon in the wake of Michael Brown's shooting death. It was tasked with examining the underlying racial and economic schisms within St. Louis -- and coming up with policy solutions.

Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon accepts a copy of the Ferguson Commission's recomendations from co-chairs Rich McClure (L) and Rev. Starsky Wilson during a press conference in Florissant.
Bill Greenblatt I UPI

In the turbulent days before a grand jury decided not to indict a former Ferguson police officer that shot and killed Michael Brown, Gov. Jay Nixon was asked why he needed a commission to figure out what ails the St. Louis region. His answer then was personal. His reaction to the actual report issued by the Ferguson Commission is for the entire state.

The Ferguson Commission Report is out, with 44 signature recommendations. The commission divided their calls to action into three groups: Justice For All, Youth at the Center, and Opportunity to Thrive.

Because everything can't be priority one, we want to ask: What would YOUR priorities be from these recommendations?

The Ferguson Commission's final report paints a stark picture of a region divided by race. It suggests a host of policy changes to law enforcement, education and economic development.
Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio

The Ferguson Commission’s final report provides an unvarnished look at how a racially divided St. Louis underserves African-Americans. The report provides a host of recommendations to transform how the region polices and educates itself — and its most vulnerable citizens.

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