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Preview: Ferguson Commission's First Meeting Will Emphasize Listening

Screen capture from official Ferguson Commission website, stlpositivechange.org

Gov. Jay Nixon’s Ferguson Commission meets for the first time from noon to 5 p.m., Monday, at the Ferguson Community Center.

Although the meeting is five-hours long, Ferguson Commission co-chairs Rich McClure and the Rev. Starsky Wilson recommended that the public stay the whole time in order to get to know the commissioners and have the opportunity to contribute to the discussion.

McClure said the commission’s purpose is to listen to the public just as much as it is to make recommendations.

“As we have gone through the events of Ferguson, it has shown a very vivid light on the challenges we face. And so this is in significant part about listening, and listening deeply and carefully,” McClure said.

One of the main purposes of the commission is to address the way race can divide the region. That can be a difficult subject to address, but Wilson said having a list of racial and ethnic disparities gives the discussion a starting point.

Wilson said he thinks the commission can help heal the regional wounds brought to light in the months since the Aug. 9 shooting death of Michael Brown by Darren Wilson, who at the time was a Ferguson police officer. Wilson resigned his position on Saturday. 

“It’s my hope that the commission can model the kind of relations that will be required for personal healing. It’s also my belief that systems manifest our communal breaches,” Wilson said. “In much as we come up with practical policy solutions that can help to reform, reshape some of the systems that may cause wounds, and we can get some of those implemented, then I think we can move toward communal healing.”

The public can also submit suggestions for the commission on its website, STL Positive Change.