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Community Relations Group Works To Find Common Ground On Ferguson Issues

Emanuele Berry

A handful community leaders publicly introduced the “Joint Community Relations Group” at Greater St. Mark Family Church on Wednesday. The people involved have been meeting privately during the past several weeks to discuss “strategies and tactics” to deal with the issues surrounding Ferguson.

The group consists of more than 50 politicians, police officials, clergy and activists.

Patricia Bynes is the Democratic Committee Woman for Ferguson Township and a member of the Joint Community Relations Group. She says the organization hopes to find common ground and joint solutions for the many issues that have come to the fore since the shooting of Michael Brown in early August.

“We all need to come to the table, because there are duplications of efforts,” she said. “There are people who are putting a lot of heart and soul into this, and we might not all need to work as hard if we can start aligning a lot of these efforts.”

Patricia Washington, director of communications for the office of the county executive and a group member, says even though there are many different people involved who have varied opinions, they share a core common beliefs.

“And that is that all lives matter,” She said. “Every voice, every opinion has value. And it will take all working together to strength this community.”

Washington said, although the group formed because of Ferguson, the members want their work to impact the greater community.

“The ultimate goal is to develop short- and long-term strategies to build our community and to extend beyond the immediate issues in Ferguson.”

Washington said that the federal Department of Justice has offered support and facilitation to the organization; however the groups is run by leaders in the St. Louis community.

Beyond finding common ground among organizations, the group also wants to share reliable information with the community, through a Facebook page and twitter account.