FTF Co-Chairs and Community Partners Call for Swift Policy Action
Residents Call for Policy Change, Regional Leaders Must Rise to the Challenge
Forward Through Ferguson co-chairs, Rebeccah Bennett and Zachary Boyers, and 30 community partners call on policy and decision makers to deliver swift action on Ferguson Commission Calls to Action.
“Unfortunately, we’ve been here before.”
“The names of the dead are different, and the names of the officers who shot them are different, but even though many proclaimed our region would be different after #Ferguson, so much of what we are confronting right now is the same.” they write.
They continue, “We are back in this very same place because while Ferguson woke up our region, and our nation, to the brutal realities of injustice and racial inequity, the policies that govern our region today are still the same.”
“[…] If we truly want to have justice for all, then we must change law enforcement practices, municipal court systems, and the policies that shape them.”
Later in the statement they identify specifics asks for three stakeholder groups:
Elected officials and those with policy power:
- Leverage the Justice for All Calls to Action of the Ferguson Commission report, prioritizing the 7 urgent policy areas attached to this statement, to develop community-informed and responsive policies that can transform the way law enforcement and courts engage with citizens, especially people of color.
- Let your decisions in the coming days, weeks, and months be real and authentic responses to concerned citizens’ demands and vision for a better St. Louis.
Concerned citizens, organizations, and coalitions:
- Your advocacy, protests, and voices will be the impetus for change. Persist. Remain unflinching in your advocacy.
- Develop a shared vision for true policy transformation. Let’s use the Calls to Action from the report as our roadmap and engage the groups above and below in partnership while also holding them accountable.
Civic, business, and philanthropic community:
- Invest in policy and systems change solutions that address root causes. We cannot continue funding models of the past in the hope of different outcomes. Prioritizing solutions that target root causes will alleviate the challenges our region faces.
- Establish a 25-Year Racial Equity Fund to ensure regional sustainability of the work.
We encourage you to develop a search process that will:
- Have a national scope, inviting applications from across the country;
- Seek input from the grassroots organizing community and other community groups on the characteristics they hope to see in the next chief;
- Seek input from community members through public forums that are accessible to communities across the entire city;
- Include community members and leaders in resume reviews and candidate interviews;
- Incorporate the relevant calls to action from the Ferguson Commission Report as part of the interview process;
- Seek to find a candidate who understands and is committed to implementing holistic community policing in the City of St. Louis.
They conclude, “To reach a different outcome we must do the work necessary now to make the St. Louis region an equitable place for all of its citizens—a place where police do not ‘own the night,’ but serve and protect as one part of a holistic, community-based approach to public safety.”
“We stand ready to publicly call out those who shirk their responsibility to help keep all of the citizens of our region safe. Together, we can achieve Racial Equity. Together, we can make St. Louis a region that is just for all.”
“Will you join us?”
Forward Through Ferguson Co-Chair
Forward Through Ferguson Co-Chair