ST. LOUIS (KTVI) – The one year anniversary of the Ferguson protests is raising the question: How has the St. Louis region changed? And what might happen in the future?
Activists, academics, politicians and religious leaders took a look at those questions during a symposium at Harris Stowe State University Sunday afternoon.
“We’ve come a long way, but we have a long way to go,” offered Missouri State Senator Jamilah Nasheed as she spoke during the first of four panel discussions. Nasheed pointed to the passage of Senate Bill 5 as a major step forward. The new law prevents municipal courts from locking up traffic offenders because they have not paid assessed fines. It also limits the percentage of a town’s budget that comes from traffic offenses.
Ferguson activist Johnetta Elzie remains critical of police departments. “I knew the world was racist, I knew it. I knew what anti-blackness was a year ago, but I didn’t know it was this deep,” she told the audience. Elzie lead protests in Ferguson and also spent time in Baltimore. She says she now cares about legislation and policy and is learning “the many ways that structural racism affects everything in your life.”