We applaud the Ferguson Commission for the brave, insightful report it released Monday. We are particularly thankful for the excellent work of Commission co-chairs Rev. Starsky Wilson and Rich McClure—along with the other 16 members of the Commission—for the thousands of volunteer hours they invested in the report. Members of the community from across the region, from different backgrounds and with vastly different perspectives, came together to have difficult conversations about how we address racial inequity. The Commission’s deliberative, inclusive process is an example of St. Louis at its best.
The Forward through Ferguson report continues the crucial conversation for the St. Louis region that began last August. While the problem we face is an American one, this is a St. Louis solution to build a stronger region for all who live here.
We call upon all residents in our region to read the report at http://forwardthroughferguson.org/. The effort begins with each of us, individually, learning more about the challenges that some of our citizens face every day. We need to have courageous conversations with our neighbors across the region.
The business community and the St. Louis Regional Chamber are identified in the report’s Signature Calls to Action. We are ready to answer this challenge. On some issues, such as enhancing collaboration between educational institutions and employers, the Chamber has already been hard at work. We will also advocate for good policies in areas where we are not pointed to as an accountable body. The Chamber has been a vocal champion for municipal court reform and Medicaid expansion, and we will continue to promote policies that increase prosperity for all in our bi-state region.
Last year I said that the world will judge us on what we do going forward. If we commit to having the tough conversations and to implement many of these brave recommendations, the St. Louis Region can be a model for how to address racial and equity issues in the 21st Century.