A Study of Underlying Issues

Over the next few weeks, as we near the one-year anniversary of its release, we’re going to be highlighting sections of the Ferguson Commission report that you might have missed — or forgotten.

This selection explains what the report was, and what it was not.

“A Study of Underlying Issues … Not an Investigation of an Incident”

This report is not in any way an investigation of what happened between Michael Brown Jr. and Officer Darren Wilson in Ferguson on August 9, 2014, nor is it an investigation of the response to the uprising that followed. Other bodies have been responsible for those investigations.

Consistent with our charge, this report is a “a wide- ranging, in-depth study of the underlying issues brought to light by the events in Ferguson.” In other words, we have looked at a wide variety of factors — social, political, historic, economic, educational, and racial, among them — that contributed to the climate in which those events occurred.

Some of the things we look at may at first seem unrelated to the events in Ferguson. However, our work and the community feedback has shown that these factors have either a direct or indirect connection to the environment in the St. Louis region, and therefore must be considered when discussing any potential changes that might lead to progress.

“A Narrative … Not a List of Policy Recommendations”

While there are indeed many policy calls to action across this site — in total, there are 189 — this report is not simply a list of policy recommendations.

We have tried to construct a narrative that takes these policy calls to action, which can often be very detailed, very data-driven, and somewhat abstract, and put them into a larger, more human context. The report aims to put a face on the calls to action, and to help you, the reader, see how the current state of affairs, and potential changes in policy, affect you and your neighbors. Ultimately, we want you to understand not only what is recommended, but also why it matters — and what it means for you.

We also want to help you see the connections that link these issues. Sometimes these are obvious, but often they are not. Too many of the issues examined here have been addressed in isolation for too long. When issues are addressed as if they are not connected, we as a region miss opportunities for collaboration, cooperation, and creative problem-solving. This report seeks to place our region’s challenges in a larger context, highlight the connections between them, and encourage the partnerships, alliances, and actions that will be necessary to make lasting change.

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