I am rolling out a project named BeforeFergusonBeyondFerguson that highlights the challenges St. Louis families have faced over many generations in getting a quality education and securing their purchase on the American Dream. It grew from my work with Forward Through Ferguson, an organization formed in the wake of social unrest and with the goal of achieving racial equity in our region. I have moved on from FTF, but support the organization’s calls to action and believe in using stories as catalysts for engagement and change.
Accordingly I have gathered a diverse and talented team to produce a dozen stories that shine a light, engage the mind, and touch the heart. Approximately quarterly and for the next three years, I will be sharing a fresh story with you here, and also on a special website BeforeFergusonBeyondFerguson.com, and through our media partners: KSDK, KTRS-AM, St. Louis Magazine and St. Louis Public Radio.
We start with the Caldwell family, which is now available on the website as a downloadable PDF and soon in booklet form. We will tell of experiences like theirs not just in print, but in other interesting and dynamic ways. We’ll take our stories and members of the families involved into homes, places of worship and wherever people are inclined to listen and speak up. We are not out to make people feel guilty. Instead we aim to give them a sense of possibility. We will promote the concept of #onethingicando. After our families share their stories, audiences will hear from our non-profit community partners about how they can apply their interests and skills to advance the cause of racial equity.
I am asking you for your help, and it won’t cost you a dime. Please share this post with your friends. We are looking for schools, places of worship and community organizations that might host one of our presentations. We are also looking for families with an interesting and compelling story about how they and their forebearers met the challenge of getting a quality education in a region that made it so very difficult for so many.
You can also help by adding a comment. I am quite sure our team can learn a lot about to do this work from your feedback.
Humbly and gratefully,
Richard Weiss, a longtime editor in St. Louis, is introducing a storytelling project focused on what came before the Ferguson protests and what lies ahead. He introduced the project with this note on Facebook. The first piece, running in St. Louis Magazine, tells the story of the Caldwell family.