This statement is issued in response to the Ferguson Commission Report “Forward Through Ferguson: A Path Toward Racial Equity,” the document of research and recommendations issued by the Ferguson Commission on September 14, 2015.
Listening – really listening – is an act of love. And most often, love demands an active response.
We, the members of the Cabinet of Interfaith Partnership, welcome the report of the Ferguson Commission as the fruit of active and intense listening to a wide variety of voices. Some provide ample statistical evidence of the racial disparities that plague our St. Louis community, while others testify from their own experience to the painful effects that these disparities have had in their own lives.
The report challenges us to hear the voices of those who suffer under the current system and to respond to them. Together, the Cabinet of Interfaith Partnership pledges to do so, and we urge the St. Louis community as a whole to read this report, listen to these voices, be creative in responding to the challenges laid forth, and to work collaboratively to move forward.
While civic organizations and economic-development agencies have long pointed out the economic and social benefits of addressing racial segregation and inequality, we strongly affirm that people of faith have a moral obligation to address the disparities addressed in this report.
Our faith traditions look to different writings and teachings for wisdom and guidance, but every one of them – in its own words – challenges us with the notion that we are, indeed, our brothers’ and sisters’ keepers.
Therefore, we believe that the areas of focus in the report – a justice system that treats all people equally and with respect; a society that looks to the health, education and safety of young people; a regional economy that provides all people with an opportunity to thrive; and a culture that is willing to acknowledge and address racial disparity – are all worthy of our attention.
The report includes 189 separate calls to action and lists the people, agencies, organizations or structures that can address them. Specifically, it calls upon each of us, and we as the Cabinet of Interfaith Partnership encourage everyone to get involved in shaping policies and taking direct action in promoting racial equity.
Let us continue to listen to each other as we work together to heal our community.
Rev. C. Jessel Strong, Chair
African Methodist Episcopal Church
Dr. Paul F. Hintze, Vice Chair
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints