In a blunt assessment, the Ferguson Commission report declares that to address the concerns of the hundreds who took to the streets near St. Louis last year, the region must be willing to recognize that that the region’s structural inequities have undeniable racial components.
“We know that talking about race makes a lot of people uncomfortable,” the report, titled “Forward Through Ferguson: A Path Toward Racial Equity,” states. “But make no mistake: This is about race.”
The report declares 47 top priorities, many of which are politically ambitious and delicate goals. Among the commission’s proposals:
* consolidating the police departments and municipal court systems in St. Louis County.
* the creation of a statewide use-of-force database to track police shootings
* the installation of the state attorney general as special prosecutor in the investigation of all deaths at the hands of the police
* increasing the minimum wage to $15 an hour
“St. Louis does not have a proud history on this topic, and we are still suffering the consequences of decisions made by our predecessors,” the report goes on to state. “We are not pointing fingers and calling individual people racist. We are not even suggesting that institutions or existing systems intend to be racist.”
But what remains to be seen is whether local lawmakers can usher in any of the sweeping change that this report calls for.
“We know what’s wrong,” Patricia Bynes, Ferguson’s local democratic committeewoman, told the Associated Press. “People who lived this, we know what’s wrong. … Hopefully there will be solutions that are going to come out of this.”