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Search for Positive Change in Ferguson

  • Chris Simkins

A grand jury in Missouri continues to hear evidence in a case involving the fatal shooting of an African American teenager by a white police officer in the town of Ferguson on August 9. The shooting of Michael Brown, of which eyewitnesses give differing accounts, touched off days of violent demonstrations, resulting in more than 100 arrests. In Ferguson, life is slowly returning to normal as people look for ways to bring positive change to the community.

"I hope everybody can be able to pick up and move on," said one local.

Residents in this predominately African American community are getting on with their lives but not forgetting 18-year-old Michael Brown. They still wonder about the circumstances surrounding the unarmed teenager's shooting by white police officer Darren Wilson, as Brown was walking to his grandmother's house in this neighborhood.

John Bonds said that despite the passage of time, people shouldn't forget about the victims of the shooting.

"Pray for both families. Officer Wilson and Michael Brown's family. Two families are destroyed and a community,” said Bonds.

People in Ferguson are rebuilding and fixing damage from the days of violent demonstrations, and the looting and burning of stores. Many here are now waiting to see if a grand jury will bring criminal charges against officer Wilson.

Resident James Thomas said regardless of the outcome of the case, something needs to be done to address excess force by police against African Americans.

"I would hope that police would take a different angle in dealing with people. Maybe get to know people maybe not to look at especially my race and associated it with crime or that we are in violation of something. I just want them to take a whole different attitude towards the community," said Thomas.

Ferguson community leaders say more job opportunities are needed for African Americans. Keysha Nelson said investing in young people will have long term benefits.

"I hope every business in Ferguson give these children a chance, give them a chance at an education, give them a chance at jobs. I would also like for them to give them a chance at being apprentices and allow them to have a better quality of life because their quality of live gives all of us a better quality of life," said Nelson.

In addition to creating more jobs, community leaders say blacks have to get more involved in the political process and vote for people who are determined to make this city better place to live.