ST. LOUIS (KPLR) - It took close to a year, many public hearings, and countless hours for the Ferguson Commission to release its recommendations for change and to address racial inequities highlighted by mass demonstrations after the Michael Brown shooting that took place in August 2014.
More than a thousand faith leaders and activists gathered for a strategy session at Saint Louis University Sunday to announce their plans to hold elected officials accountable to those recommendations for racial equality and social change. The Saint John’s Church four-day Beloved Community Conference culminated with a call to action at the public accountability meeting.
"The ball is in the court of legislators. We have to begin to look at that report and figured out what we can take from that report and make those pieces of legislation reality to many people that want to see change in the St. Louis area," said Missouri State Senator Jamilah Nasheed.
The Ferguson Commission, appointed by Missouri Governor Jay Nixon, was tasked to find answers and come up with policy recommendations and, after nearly a year, the group released its final report.
“So where we go now is we call on those accountable bodies that we identify in the report to actually move the things that the 2,000 citizens that were a part of the commission process to make the actual policy, so we will hold them accountable – elected officials and civic leaders who don't do that, and we celebrate those who do,” said Rev. Starsky Wilson, co-chair of the Ferguson Commission and pastor at Saint John’s Church.
For six years, the Beloved Community Conference at Saint John’s Church has been an occasion to enrich local ministries and organizations with theological frameworks and hands-on tools for social justice work.
The group of community leaders is making sure to partner with various advocacy groups to move several key policy recommendations forward, including increased quality and quantity of police training, updating racial profiling statutes, civilian oversight of police, and minimum wage increase.
The Ferguson Commission has no authority of its own to implement their recommendations.
Community organizers will have to take a wait-and-see approach to find out if state and local lawmakers will pass legislation that supports the priorities outlined in the Ferguson Commission’s report.