Black Conservatives Desire to Spark Change in Ferguson, by Jerome Danner

Five years ago, a small town by the name of Ferguson, Missouri, got national attention for the wrong reasons. The media flocked to the area after a police shooting, which resulted in the death of an African American young man by the name of Michael Brown, took place. When the story hit the airwaves and began to take off everywhere, it brought the attention-grabbing issues of racism and police brutality to the forefront of the American consciousness yet again.

Jerome Danner

Jerome Danner

However, this town, located in the Greater St. Louis metropolitan area, faced other issues that included economic development and economic empowerment.

There are times when well-known matters need thoughtful solutions to rectify them. Well, a group of black conservatives decided that they wanted to extend a helping hand to the mayor and council members of Ferguson to see if they could give them strategies to use in making a difference in this particular community.

Recently, members, Stacy Washington and Chris Arps, of Project 21 – an initiative of the National Center for Public Policy Research – held a press conference in Ferguson to announce that they would be sharing their Blueprint for a Better Deal for Black America to the Ferguson politicians for their consideration in impacting change in their area. This document entails different areas of focus and key recommendations that they believe will benefit African Americans in attaining the American dream, such as promoting k-12 educational choice, reducing black unemployment, improving public safety and community-police relations, among other proposals for change.

The Project 21 members appear to be hopeful in their presentation to the council members and the town’s mayor. Mr. Arps pointed out that they hope to help with bringing “healing” to this area with his remarks:

Today, Project 21 is offering ideas to help Ferguson heal wounds, encourage opportunity, and help usher in a new era of black prosperity.

Ms. Washington wanted them to know that Project 21 did not look for credit, but wanted a partnership to impact change. She made this known with her statement:

We have these key areas of focus and key recommendations, and what happens is: you read them, you take them, you leave them. Whatever you like, go with it. Whatever you don’t like, leave it there. We don’t look for credit, we’re just looking for partnership.

Mayor James Knowles III appeared to be sincerely supportive of Project 21’s desire to partner with him and his town in making a difference for their citizens. If Ferguson’s leaders are sincere in their desires to help their economically-underdeveloped residents, namely their black population, then there is hope that change may come with implementation of Project 21’s ideas and proposals. Of course, time will tell.

Watch the press conference here:

Jerome Danner, a member of the Project 21 national advisory council, is a graduate of the University of West Georgia with a degree in anthropology. He currently works as a middle school teacher. Follow him on Twitter and Facebook for more of his thoughts and commentary. This was originally published by Western Free Press.

New Visions Commentaries reflect the views of their author, and not necessarily those of Project 21, other Project 21 members, or the National Center for Public Policy Research, its board or staff.

Project 21, a leading voice of black conservatives for over 25 years, is sponsored by the National Center for Public Policy Research. Its members have been quoted, interviewed or published over 40,000 times since the program was created in 1992. Contributions to the National Center are tax-deductible and greatly appreciated, and may be earmarked exclusively for the use of Project 21.