Ferguson | Not in Our Town


"Let's work together to heal...to create lasting change." —Michael Brown Sr. Photo by Jeff Roberson Before this Thanksgiving holiday, we asked leaders in the Not In Our Town community for wisdom and words. Specifically, in the aftermath of the indictment decision in Ferguson, we asked them: What is your wish for change? Here's what they had to say.
The Not In Our Town group in Bowling Green, OH swiftly responded to the Grand Jury's decision to not indict Officer Darren Wilson for the shooting death of Michael Brown in Ferguson, MO. Here's what the NIOT Committee had to say to its university and town network.
Tension is mounting in the St. Louis area as residents await a grand jury decision about whether to indict the police officer who shot an unarmed teenager six times in Ferguson, MO in August. Demonstrations occur daily, but the faces and voices of a broad cross section of people in Ferguson who are seeking change rarely gain air time. NIOT is posting a series of stories and short films called the Ferguson Conversations.  In this short video, young people share ideas about how to improve relationships with the police.
Today we introduce a short film series called Ferguson Conversations. Not In Our Town's film team has been covering events in Ferguson, Missouri following the fatal shooting of unarmed teen Michael Brown by a police officer on Aug. 9. This tragic event has sparked conversations and marches both in the St. Louis area and nationwide. These first two short films shine a light on the community of Ferguson. 
To pretend that this is only a St. Louis problem, or merely a story about a bad town, is missing the real message of Ferguson. Ferguson is us. This is where we are. I’m on the plane to St. Louis now, and will be there this week in late September to start filming and listening. I know there are really good people, black and white, who want to make change. We need to surface their actions and stories.
This clip from Fox2 St. Louis features a September concert organized by soul singer Brian Owens in the parking lot of his Ferguson church. He hoped the musical event would help Ferguson heal and inspire adults to get involved in the lives of young people.  According to Fox2: Owens worships at the Ferguson Heights Church of Christ and felt compelled to help Ferguson heal. “I hope that everyone will take what happened to heart, put their feet to the ground, put their hands to the plow and really get involved,” said Owens. The Heal Ferguson Concert was a call for peace and unity.  One performer, Nao Yoshioka, traveled all the way from Japan.  Member of the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra also performed.  Owens was moved by a diverse turnout.  He said it’s an example of the power of music. The concert highlighted the Ferguson Youth Initiative.  The program provides mentoring for youth.  It also provides incentives for youth to complete the program. Find the full story here. 
While the investigation continues into the circumstances around Michael Brown’s death, this conversation continues about the larger context, including racial disparities, police-community relations, and protests and actions in St. Louis and beyond.
As the country focuses attention on Ferguson, MO, we wanted to hear from local citizens about what's happening in their community after the shooting of 18-year-old Michael Brown. This report, courtesy of St. Louis Public Radio, surfaces their voices. In the coming weeks, we will continue to share the on-the-ground perspective from community members in Ferguson. —The Not In Our Town team A poster at a memorial for Michael Brown outside the Canfield Green apartment complex. Source: St. Louis Public Radio. 
By Michelle Gahee Kloss, J.D.,  NIOT Director of Community Engagement Not In Our Town works extensively with law enforcement agencies all over the country, providing support to police chiefs, sheriffs, and officers through our films and educational resources. Protesters hold candles during a peaceful demonstration, as communities react to the shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson, MO. Source.