Rich McClure | St. Louis Public Radio

Rich McClure

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."

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'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.

Attorney Al Gerhardstein speaks at Wednesday's meeting of the Ferguson Commission. Gerhardstein helped fashion a collaborative agreement to alter the Cincinnati Police Department.
Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio

With only a few days before they release their final report, members of the Ferguson Commission got something of a reality check from Al Gerhardstein.

Gerhardstein is an attorney who helped negotiate a landmark agreement in Cincinnati that brought massive changes to the city’s police department. As he looked at some of the commission’s recommendations to overhaul the region’s law enforcement agencies, Gerhardstein worried aloud that he was experiencing déjà vu.

A focus group moderator writes down participants' thoughts on racial and ethnic relations in St. Louis, after a meeting of the Ferguson Commission.
Durrie Bouscaren | St. Louis Public Radio

After months of deliberation and debate, the Ferguson Commission produced roughly 200 initial recommendations — an ambitious output for an entity charged with the job of issuing a report.

But Bethany Johnson-Javoism, the Commission's managing director, said the group’s “calls to action” are purposefully aspirational.

Michel Martin led a two-hour discussion March 23, 2015, about changes in the St. Louis region seven months after Michael Brown's death. This was the second Ferguson and Beyond forum that Martin has moderated, both at Wellspring Church in Ferguson.
Jason Rosenbaum / St. Louis Public Radio

Since Michael Brown was shot and killed last year, people within the St. Louis region have been immersed in social and public policy introspection.

Michel Martin at microphone
August Jennewein / University of Missouri–St. Louis / St. Louis Public Radio

Seven months after the shooting death of Michael Brown in Ferguson drew national attention to racial disparities, St. Louis Public Radio is hosting a second community forum, Ferguson and Beyond: Continuing the Community Conversation.

A participant listens to the discussion during a focus group following the Ferguson Commission meeting.
Durrie Bouscaren | St. Louis Public Radio

Using a PowerPoint voting system, more than half the people attending the Ferguson Commission’s seventh meeting on Monday night said that no, they don’t think racial tensions in the St. Louis area will ever be fully eliminated.

Jason Rosenbaum, St. Louis Public Radio

At the second meeting of the Ferguson Commission, St. Louis Police Chief Sam Dotson was supposed to make a multi-faceted presentation on policing – and what changes were being contemplated for his department.

But Dotson’s plans changed in a hurry. He faced intense public antagonism at Monday’s meeting, which focused on the relationship between citizens and police.

Screen capture from official Ferguson Commission website, stlpositivechange.org

The 16-member Ferguson Commission, created by Gov. Jay Nixon, met for the first time Monday in Ferguson.  

“It’s a long meeting, but we needed to listen carefully and we needed to get the administrative processes of the commission in place,” commission chairman Rich McClure said of Monday’s six-hour meeting. McClure shares leadership responsibilities with chairman The Rev. Starsky Wilson.

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

If the Ferguson Commission wanted a frank discussion of St. Louis’ racial divide, Lydia Adams was ready to deliver it. 

“This Michael Brown case bust the discussion of race wide open in this nation and it needs to keep happening,” Adams said. “Because when you don’t talk about things, nothing happens. Talk about it to the point where it makes you uncomfortable.”

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: At the start of Thursday’s regional education summit to determine the best way to help more St. Louis area residents earn college degrees, Danny Ludeman stepped to the microphone, took off his jacket and rolled up his sleeves.

That pretty much summarized the message of speakers for the next five hours: Everybody involved – from education, business, government, civic groups and others – needs to get down to work quickly if they want to meet a goal of having the area move into the top 10 nationwide in college degrees by the year 2025. It is now ranked 14th.