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Next Steps

*Note:In the final Ferguson Commission meeting on December 7th, 2015, the Commission affirmed that retaining key resources from the Commission work was crucial to the continuity of community trust and institutional knowledge. The Commission’s motion called for a handful of former Commissioners and key staff to form Forward Through Ferguson, an entity – named after the report, Forward Through Ferguson:A Path Toward Racial Equity – designed to be a catalyst for the infrastructure needed to make lasting positive change in the St. Louis region as outlined in the report.

Monitoring and Measuring Progress

The Ferguson Commission is committed to policy and practice calls to action that address racial
disparities in the St. Louis region. But it is not enough to produce calls to action and hope for progress.

How will we know if the calls to action identified here are being implemented—and if they’re working? Developing a way to measure and monitor important information over the short and long term will be essential to holding our region accountable.

The Commission suggests using the following indicators as a starting point for these measurements, but calls on scholars who understand the importance of involving community partners and practitioners in all aspects of evaluation and communicates findings in a way that is understandable and useful. We offer the metrics below for consideration:

Evaluating Implementation (Process Metrics)

Process metrics are based on progress made toward implementing the signature calls to action. In order to know how we’re advancing or what’s not working, it is important to develop an action plan, establish goals to be reached, and a timeframe to get there. This is a short- term measure of success.

Evaluating Impact (Impact Metrics)

Impact metrics are guideposts that track how the needle has moved toward improving life circumstances for the audience that the call to action was intended to affect. A set of specific community metrics that can be tracked to measure progress will be developed for each signature call to action. This is both a short-term and long-term measure of success.

An oversight body will track progress on implementation and impact, and keep the public informed on how the accountable bodies are advancing down the path toward positive change.

What’s next for the Ferguson Commission?

Now that the report has been launched and signature priorities identified, the next step is building an infrastructure to make the vision a reality.

By this we mean determining the structure, scope, and leadership of an organization or partnership that will carry on the day-to-day work necessary to turn these calls to action into transformative change for the region.

Such an organization is needed to sustain momentum and keep the region’s eye focused on execution of these signature priorities of Justice For All, Youth at the Center, and Opportunity to Thrive. This will require bringing together and engaging government entities, civic organizations, corporations, and residents; holding the accountable bodies accountable; and making sure that the set agenda created by the community stays intact.

The process of determining these next steps—of making a recommendation regarding that organization—will begin immediately following the release of this report, will be done publicly, and will conclude before the Commission’s sunset on December 31, 2015.

Community Ownership

As we said earlier, this report is not an ending, but a beginning. While we’ve already achieved a great deal, the work that’s been done so far has underscored the work that remains to be done.

But while the shape of the task ahead has come into focus, so has something else:the will of the people.

What we have seen these last ten months has been a revelation. We have seen a sense of ownership in the region, felt by all who engaged. We have felt a sense of urgency to act now, and not put off the problems to another day. This urgency has been an extension of the passion with which young leaders, activists and organizers have lifted their voices to call for answers and solutions. We have sensed excitement inspired by seeing new faces together at the table for the first time, and by seeing the energy, ideas, and enthusiasm generated when those people rally together behind a common goal.

Cautiously at times, enthusiastically at others, what the people have said to us again and again is that they believe change is possible. They believe this is our moment.

They know what’s at stake. They know the eyes of the nation are upon us. They have heard the skeptics and the doubters.

But the people believe, and we believe, that our region is up to the challenge.