Ferguson Commission Recommendations Coming Alive in St. Louis

By on April 13, 2018

From NextCity:  In the aftermath of the uprising resulting from the police killing of Michael Brown, a young, African-American man in Ferguson, Mo., the Ferguson Commission came up with nearly 200 recommendations that could help improve the state of race relations in the St. Louis metro area. Grassroots organizations are beginning to make those recommendations come alive in neighborhoods across the region.

One of those grassroots organizations is the Dutchtown South Community Corporation, which has been around since the 1970s. Under the oversight of a 14-member plan steering committee consisting of neighborhood residents, the organization has been leading community engagement on the Gravois-Jefferson Historic Neighborhoods Plan.

The Dutchtown community is diverse. Although nearly two-thirds of the residents are black and less than a third are white, it is also nearly 10 percent Latino, a rapidly growing constituency in the neighborhood according to Amanda Colón-Smith, the organization’s executive director. As part of the planning process, Dutchtown South Community Corporation worked with Forward Through Ferguson, a racial-equity-focused organization that came out of the Ferguson Commission’s work.

“I was really excited about working with Forward Through Ferguson,” Colón-Smith says. “They would do an alignment analysis to see if a final product met with the criteria from the [Ferguson Commission] report … we have been working with them throughout, so this [racial equity lens] was applied to the process and not just to the product.”

The Gravois-Jefferson Historic Neighborhoods Plan was recently named one of the first to receive funding from Invest STL, a new regional community development collaborative formed by long-established community development corporations, regional and local banks, and the St. Louis Community Foundation.

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