The 16-member Ferguson Commission was appointed by Missouri Governor Jay Nixon to study the causes of the unrest in Ferguson and come up with specific recommendations "to make the St. Louis region a stronger, fairer place for everyone."
The commission is holding its first public meeting today, on the heels of news that officer Darren Wilson has resigned from the police department.
There are questions about what kinds of resources and what authority the commission has. Will it, for example, have the power to subpoena, or compel people to testify?
President Barack Obama also holds a day of meetings at the White House today on the unrest in Ferguson. The president will meet with his cabinet to review federal programs that provide military-style equipment to local authorities.
The president will also meet with young civil rights leaders to discuss "broader challenges we still face as a nation, including the mistrust between law enforcement and communities of color," according to White House officials.
Interview Highlights: Rich McClure and Starsky Wilson
Rich McClure on the mission of the commission
“At its core our commission is charged with engaging in the discussion and in actions and in implementation plans that will make St. Louis a stronger, fairer place. That is obviously broad and general but it will lead to some very specific discussions about economic opportunity, about community-police relations, about educational inequality, about our municipal court system, and about racial reconciliation and healing and dealing with the challenge of racial and ethnic disparities.”
Rev. Starsky Wilson on what the commission will do for the community
“I think the one of the things that is careful to note is that quite frankly, the commission’s work is not to re-legislate the case itself. I think there is more agreement in our community that there is more division than need be, that there are institutional manifestations of such that we can address with policy and that there are spaces whereby we can come on the same page and connect with one another to make our community a better place.”
Rich McClure on the power of the commission
“The power of the commission is to bring focus and to bring attention and to shine a spotlight on these changes and to make recommendations that come from a broadly diverse commission that will involve stakeholders from all sectors and that those views will call for action. Our job will be to focus that spotlight, to call for the action and then to design some implementation and accountability measures so that those actions are monitored going forward.”
- Starsky Wilson, co-chair of the Ferguson Commission and pastor of Saint John's Church in St. Louis. He's also president and CEO of Deaconess Foundation, a faith-based grant making organization devoted to making child well-being a civic priority in the St. Louis region. He tweets @ReverendStarsky.
- Rich McClure, co-chair of the Ferguson Commission. He currently chairs the St. Louis Regional Board of Teach for America.
This segment aired on December 1, 2014.
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