Tony Neal, Center for Educational Equity

On the race conversation in St. Louis:

There’s a heightened awareness around race issues. People are starting to have the conversation. I think before there were pockets of conversation that were going on but no serious conversation about what can be done to change policy, practice, and procedure.

On police civilian interactions with people of color: 

A big issue is getting involved in the community. Many police officers who police these communities don’t live there. At one time in certain communities in St. Louis city, if you were a police officer you had to live in that area, like community policing. So when you live in the community and work in that community it becomes a part of who you are. If you don’t live there, it simply becomes a workplace. I think that was one issue particularly with Ferguson. None of the police live in the community so it becomes a thing of “oh that’s where I work and go to make arrests, and very much go to do heinous things to people of color and then I get to leave.” I think some of that has to change.

On Protesting:

I didn’t lose anything. I gained a sense of togetherness. I was so proud of our young people, out their on the front lines unlike the narrative that was shown or portrayed through television, what I saw in the young people was the coming together, organized and planned. It was well orchestrated on their behalf. It’s nice to have young voices and young leadership.

Ferguson Is…healing. The impetus of transformation. Ferguson is building new communities. It’s a good place to be. Good place to live. It will make a comeback.

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