A Path Toward Racial Equity

After the death of Michael Brown, Jr. on Aug. 9, 2014, “Ferguson” came to symbolize racial strife and inequality in the United States. Throughout this country, the circumstances surrounding and following his death have sharply defined the challenges that demand transformation. The alternative to change is to accept an untenable environment that is fraught with inequities and continued conflict. The Governor asked a group of regional leaders — The Ferguson Commission — to study the situation and prove a path toward change. Forward Through Ferguson (FTF) was established as a 501(c)3 to be a catalyst for lasting positive change in the St. Louis region as outlined in the Ferguson Commission Report. Embracing the Commission’s mandate, FTF centers impacted communities and mobilizes accountable bodies to advance racially equitable systems and policies that ensure all people in the St. Louis region can thrive.

Justice for All

“I have felt the racism. I’ve been a part of car stops. Even as a police officer, I’ve been stopped for no reason at all.”

Byron has a complex set of experiences from growing up in North St. Louis and experiencing racism, as well as decades of public service as a police officer. This dual perspective has given him a unique insight into how policing can be reformed.

Of cases in which an arrest warrant was issued in Ferguson, Black residents accounted for

Byron M. Watson is a veteran police officer with over 30 years of experience, and served with the St. Louis County Police Department from 1981 to 2008. He is also a member of The BackStoppers, a St. Louis-based nonprofit that provides financial assistance to the families of fallen law enforcement, firefighters, publicly funded paramedic, and EMTs.

Watch Byron's Video Story 
Youth at the Center

“We won’t get beyond where we are without having to have some very hard and courageous conversations with one another about our current state and our current reality.”

When educational equity and access is framed as a civil rights issue in the context of the disparities that exist in St. Louis, it is imperative that we create a vision for St. Louis education that nurtures and develops our youth, and provides teachers and districts with the appropriate resources they need.

Disparity in graduation rate for Black students versus White students in Missouri

Dr. Sharonica Hardin is the Assistant Superintendent of Human Resources and Leadership Development at Ritenour School District. She reflects on the current educational disparities, and how systemic changes in education in the region can empower youth to succeed.

Read Sharonica's Story 
Opportunity to Thrive

“We have to invest in human capital and become focused on that. That means every child is nurtured all the way along until they enter the world of employment. That’s where we’re really failing.”

A focus on developing and investing in human capital will move the region forward while simultaneously strengthening the economy. This requires an interdisciplinary approach to tackling economic problems, seeking to create an environment where everyone has the opportunity to succeed.

of Black American household are homeowners compared with 73% of White American households.

Don Logue has worked first hand with the healthcare needs of individuals and their families, particularly those on Medicaid. This coupled with experiences in economic development and housing have provided him with a greater appreciation of the complexities of community development. He is currently focused on the integrated delivery of housing, food, pharmacy, and clinical services in mixed-use environments, including virtual health applications.

Read Don's Story 
Racial Equity

“This interconnectedness has led to a kind of community-building that I haven’t seen before – unlike anywhere where I’ve lived.”

Movements often center around single identities, even though its participants may come from a wide-swath of backgrounds and traditions. Finding the interconnections between various struggles can be a powerful tool for improving conditions for all people, inclusive of a variety of identities.

Billion dollar boost to the St. Louis economy if racial wage gaps were eliminated.

Mustafa Abdullah is an East Coast native and Muslim who came to St. Louis a few years ago to work with the American Civil Liberties Union of Missouri. The following interview excerpts show how he’s been touched by the past year’s events on different levels. He also talks about the ways he’s seen folks near and far, from many walks of life, come together to create a region that’s better, stronger, and more equitable for everyone who lives here, regardless of religion, race, or ancestry.

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Through our collection of research
in creating this report one thing became clear:

The St. Louis region must face its reality in order to thrive.

Read the Report