Young people share insight, observations and solutions with Commissioners
ST. LOUIS - Impassioned youth shared their hopes, dreams and concerns with the Ferguson Commission in an interactive, dialogue-filled meeting of more than 140 young people, parents and teachers at a Youth Summit on Saturday at St. Louis Community College - Florissant Valley.
While they came from different schools, places and communities, they shared the same belief: Young people need to be heard, and their voices matter. Here’s what some had to say:
"I want a better tomorrow for my little brothers and sisters, I want a better tomorrow for my community. I want a better tomorrow for St. Louis, for Ferguson. I want a better tomorrow for the United States." – Clifton Kinnie, 17, Lutheran North High School
"Peace looks like having someone not shoot at you." – Bisa Adero, 15, Grand Center Arts Academy
"It’s very refreshing to hear the work we’re doing is not for nothing, the young people are being inspired. We don’t necessarily do it for ourselves, we do it for our children, the people under us. They don’t have to be afraid -- if you feel strongly about something, it’s ok to stand up, it may be hard, but persistence is key." – Rockit Ali, 22
"A lot of times I’m called ‘the youth’ in the protests – the age group 18 to 24 – but I don’t think they’re thinking of that 13 to 18 group – and how those developing minds view society. We’re not, often times, checking in on them," – Kayla Reed, 24
"We need some positive leaders in our generation to take a step forward and start changing the communities. It all starts at home. If you change the community around you, that sets the tone for the surrounding areas to follow suit." – Jayde Brown, 17, Pattonville High School
Saturday’s meeting also included an introduction of newest Commission member Sgt. Byron Watson, discussion and passage of a Commission budget and presentations from the municipal courts and citizen – law enforcement relations working groups.
"Hearing the young people speak today is exactly why I took this job. This is my place," said Commission managing director Bethany Johnson-Javois during her presentation. "I believe in our charge, and I believe we can positively impact our region."
The Ferguson Commission’s next meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, Jan. 20, from 5 to 8:30 p.m. at Westview Middle School, 1950 Nemnich Road, St. Louis 63136.
The Commission is an empowered, independent and diverse group that is studying the underlying social and economic conditions underscored by unrest in the wake of the death of Michael Brown. Members include: co-chairs Rev. Starsky Wilson and Rich McClure, managing director and commissioner emeritus Bethany Johnson-Javois, and commissioners Kevin Ahlbrand, Rasheen Aldridge, Jr., the Rev. Traci Blackmon, T.R. Carr, Gabriel E. Gore Jr., Dan Isom II, Becky James-Hatter, Scott Negwer, Brittany Packnett, Felicia Pulliam, Patrick Sly, Grayling Tobias, Byron Watson and Rose Windmiller.
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