Willis Johnson | St. Louis Public Radio

Willis Johnson

Rev. F. Willis Johnson on "St. Louis on the Air"
Evie Hemphill | St. Louis Public Radio

After serving his community in Ferguson for more than seven years and emerging as a leader following the killing of Michael Brown in 2014, Rev. F. Willis Johnson is being transplanted to Columbus, Ohio, where he will grow a new church.

Johnson was the pastor of Wellspring Church in downtown Ferguson until it recently closed. He is also the co-founder/director of the Center for Social Empowerment and author of “Holding Up Your Corner: Talking About Race in Your Community.” On Tuesday, Johnson joined host Don Marsh on St. Louis on the Air to discuss his time in St. Louis.

Pastor F. Willis Johnson of Wellspring Church in Ferguson.
Kelly Moffitt | St. Louis Public Radio

If the Rev. F. Willis Johnson were to distill the message of his new book, “Holding Up Your Corner: Talking About Race in Your Community,” into a single phrase it would be: acknowledge, affirm and act.

Centene announced plans for this new claims center shortly after the death of Michael Brown
Centene Corporation

Many organizations are still working to make a difference in Ferguson and North St. Louis County two years after unrest erupted in the city. That includes several foundations and other nonprofits that made promises of funding and commitments to change as part of the healing process. We decided to check in with a few of those organizations to see how well they have followed through on their commitments.

Ferguson-Florissant parent Redditt Hudson (left), attorney Dale Ho, and past school candidate Willis Johnson at a press conference announcing a lawsuit against the Ferguson-Florissant schools on December 18.
Diane Balogh | ACLU of Missouri

Updated Aug. 22 with Sippel's ruling. — A federal judge has ruled that at-large elections for seats on the board for the Ferguson-Florissant School District violate the rights of African-American voters in the district.

Kelly Moffitt, St. Louis Public Radio

After the Ferguson Commission's report was released last week, St. Louisans across the region seemed to be echoing a common refrain: “But what can I do with it?” That was a question that “St. Louis on the Air” host Don Marsh tried to answer at Monday night’s public town hall “Ferguson Commission:  Where Do We Go From Here?”

Rev. Steve Lawler of St. Stephen's Episcopal and Rev. F. Willis Johnson Jr. of Wellspring Church teamed up to organize a week of workshops at Wellspring ahead of the anniversary of the death of Michael Brown.
courtesy Open Road PR

Updated Mon. 8/3/15 at 11:45 a.m.

Two Ferguson churches are teaming up to create an "incubator" for racial and economic justice. St. Stephen’s Episcopal and Wellspring churches are launching the Center for Social Empowerment and Justice with a week of workshops leading up to the anniversary of the death of Michael Brown on Sunday, Aug. 9.

The center will be on the Wellspring campus and provide programming space for several nonprofits dedicated to supporting education and small businesses, including the Ferguson-Florissant school foundation, the Ferguson Youth Initiative and Incubate Ferguson, a business-minded venture started by Rev. Steve Lawler of St. Stephen's Episcopal and the Vine.

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 police officer is silhouetted against Ferguson's police department and municipal court building, during nighttime protests on November 26, 2014.
Durrie Bouscaren | St. Louis Public Radio | File photo

Updated at 1:05 a.m. March 13 with comments from the protest.

The St. Louis region is struggling to make sense of the shooting of two police officers during a protest in Ferguson last night, and the violence has drawn widespread condemnation.

Emanuele Berry, Patricia Bynes and the Rev. F. Willis Johnson discuss Ferguson with 'St. Louis on the Air' host Don Marsh on Dec. 31, 2014, at St. Louis Public Radio in St. Louis.
Mary Edwards / St. Louis Public Radio

Ferguson has emerged as the top local (and national) story of the year. 

The Aug. 9 shooting death of Michael Brown by Ferguson police Officer Darren Wilson has raised questions about policing, poverty, government policy and funding, and safety. But some of the biggest questions have been about race and equality.

Many businesses along South Grand Boulevard suffered glass damage. Nov. 24
Emanuele Berry | St. Louis Public Radio

Late Monday, St. Louis County Prosecuting Attorney Bob McCulloch announced that a grand jury had voted it would not indict police Officer Darren Wilson in the August death of Michael Brown in Ferguson. Protests began soon after the announcement in Ferguson and St. Louis, followed by acts of arson and violence.

Tuesday on "St. Louis on the Air," we tried to get a better idea of how the communities are reacting and what is planned.

Guests

Friday afternoon, Ron Johnson of Missouri State Highway Patrol asks protester to keep the peace in Ferguson over the course of the night.
Durrie Bouscaren / St. Louis Public Radio

In a special, live evening edition of "St. Louis on the Air," we discussed the grand jury's decision regarding the August shooting death of Michael Brown by police Officer Darren Wilson in Ferguson.

Guests

Jim Howard | St. Louis Public Radio

Chances are that your first visit to Washington, D.C. came during a family vacation or as part of a school field trip and you did all those things first-time visitors do: toured the Capitol Building, checked out the Washington Monument, Lincoln Memorial, and maybe visited a few of the museums along the National Mall. 

An audience member shows Ferguson Mayor James Knowles III a rubber bullet wound that he says he received during unrest in the north St. Louis County city. A forum sponsored by St. Louis Public Radio became heated, with ire being directed at Knowles.
Jason Rosenbaum, St. Louis Public Radio

A forum Thursday evening peering into Ferguson’s longstanding tensions as well as the St. Louis region’s racial divisions became angry and heated, with most of a crowd’s ire directed at the town’s mayor.

Audience members expressed searing criticism of Ferguson’s governance and leadership, both of which have come under fire since one of the Ferguson's police officers shot and killed 18-year-old Michael Brown.

How Are Religious Leaders Responding To Ferguson?

Aug 20, 2014
From a march in Ferguson on Aug. 15
Durrie Bouscaren I St. Louis Public Radio / St. Louis Public Radio

As communities seek leaders, members of the clergy are responding.

After the death of Michael Brown, followed by looting, riots, peaceful protests and arrests, local clergy and religious congregations are responding to the turmoil in Ferguson. On Wednesday, we talked to some of those leaders: