The eyes are still on Ferguson. People still want justice. The happenings of Ferguson have exposed the rotten underbelly of America for what it is.
Groups seek a response to Ferguson that lasts
By Doug Moore
Marches, protests and prayer vigils have been a constant in the region for more than two weeks, and as a grand jury pores over evidence in the Michael Brown killing, similar actions are expected to continue.
But other responses to the police shooting, designed to be more long-lasting, have popped up. They include getting more African-Americans engaged in their communities and challenging people to leave their comfort zones and talk about race.
On Wednesday, a storefront on West Florissant Avenue opened as the office of #HealSTL, which grew from a Twitter hashtag, and is being developed as an outreach center, including offering voter registration.
It’s on the same busy strip that has been the center of unrest, including looting, tear gas, arrests and a curfew.
“This has been a Twitter story,” said the effort’s organizer, St. Louis Alderman Antonio French. “It has touched so many people because of social media.”
French said the new group was focused on teaching the community how to get involved in local government. Right now, the startup is being funded by selling $9 T-shirts. But formal fundraising will begin soon, French said.
Next week, billboards are going up across the region asking “What Can We Do Better?” and “Start The Conversation,” a campaign launched by the Diversity Awareness Partnership. Meanwhile, a group of prominent young African-American leaders has put together a list of demands, including the city of Ferguson’s hiring at least 10 more black police officers by Jan. 31.
The city is 67 percent black, but only four of its 58 police officers — 7 percent — are African-American.
“We cannot continue to run from dealing with race in our region,” said St. Louis Treasurer Tishaura Jones, a member of the newly formed Young Citizens Council of St. Louis.