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Ferguson Collaborative: Change is too slow and isn’t helping people who need it most

Emily Davis (L) and Felicia Pulliam (R) are members of the Ferguson Collaborative.
Alex Heuer | St. Louis Public Radio
Emily Davis (L) and Felicia Pulliam (R) are members of the Ferguson Collaborative.

One year after the release of the Ferguson Commission’s report, members of the Ferguson Collaborative feel that change is happening too slowly and isn’t reaching those in the community who need it most. Two members of the Ferguson Collaborative, Felicia Pulliam and Emily Davis, spoke with St. Louis on the Air host Don Marsh in advance of a town hall meeting on Sunday titled, “Re-envisioning Public Safety.”

The Ferguson Collaborative is a group of citizens and activists, many of whom are from different organizations, who think it is important to advance a common agenda of social justice and fair policing practices.

“[The Ferguson Collaborative] was a combination of residents, teachers, clergy, and representatives of organizations that came together to lift up the voices of the people who have been most affected by unconstitutional policing in Ferguson, largely the black and working class community, and to empower people in our community to make different choices for the community,” Davis said

“There is resistance from various fronts to doing anything differently,” Pulliam added. “We have to admit that the system works really well for the people it’s designed to work well for.”

Although Ferguson city leaders and the U.S. Department of Justice reached an agreement on a consent decree that demands proper policing practices, to Pulliam and Davis, the promised changes don’t seem authentic.

“The invitation to participate has to be authentic,” Pulliam said. “The relationships that are needed have to be truthful and honest and include people that have been excluded. Those invitations don’t appear and they don’t feel authentic.”

“Although that change is happening it feels like to a large percentage of the community that Ferguson is being forced to change under duress rather than embrace that change that would make the community a healthier and safer place to live,” Davis added.

Authentic communication is one of the goals of the town hall meeting on Sunday at Koch Elementary School. The event is billed as “a space for the community to come together and talk about public safety and government accountability in a new era. How can we use our tax dollars to keep everyone safe by meeting basic human needs?”

“Investing in human capital development, investing in education, investing in creating jobs and lifting people out of poverty makes the community stronger, better, and healthier for everyone,” Pulliam said. “Just so people can understand, this is a win-win, it’s not a one-sided proposition.”

Related Event

What: A Town Hall: "Re-Envisioning Public Safety"
When: Sunday, September 18, 2016
2:00 p.m. - Food and conversation begins
3:30 - 5:00 p.m. - Session
Where: Koch Elementary School, 1910 Exuma Dr., St Louis, MO 63136

St. Louis on the Air brings you the stories of St. Louis and the people who live, work and create in our region. St. Louis on the Air host Don Marsh and producers Mary Edwards, Alex Heuer and Kelly Moffitt give you the information you need to make informed decisions and stay in touch with our diverse and vibrant St. Louis region.

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Alex is the executive producer of "St. Louis on the Air" at St. Louis Public Radio.

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