FERGUSON, Mo.– On the eve of the one year anniversary of Michael Brown’s death, there are mixed messages in his hometown of Ferguson, Missouri.
Nowhere is the gap between healing and deep-rooted frustration more evident than the intersection of West Florissant Avenue and Canfield Drive.
This is where members of the Billy Graham Rapid Response Team sing, preach while young people throughout this small city of twenty-one thousand people, including Tomalar Mosley continue to tell us, they question the progress made over the last year.
“I moved out of Ferguson. I was staying over there. I moved,” said Mosley.
Tomalar Mosley was outside of a job fair Saturday. This was among our first stops - keeping in mind the problem of high unemployment, and a host of other issues that weigh heavily both here in Ferguson…and so many other communities in our own region.
For the first time in a long time, Brian Barnard says employers came looking for help - right in his own backyard.
Ella Jones -- one of the three Black newly elected members of City Council -- says too many of Ferguson’s young people get tripped up - that is, arrested or worse, in the criminal justice system following their interaction with the police.
“We must to continue to communicate with one another,” said Councilwoman Jones.
From Eric Garner on Staten Island, to Michael Brown in Ferguson, to Walter Scott in South Carolina, to Sandra Bland in Texas.
Councilwoman Jones says it’s going to take cooperation to bridge that communication gap.
“We have to make certain that when law enforcement interacts with the African-American community that they have to understand the culture. If you don’t know anything about someone, and you just try to enforce your way -- it’s not going to work,” said Jones.
She adds, “Residents need to do their part. We have to learn to respect authority. When you’re stopped, you don’t’ need to give them a lot of mouth. Just do what they ask you to do.”