The 2014 police killing of Michael Brown, Jr. an unarmed black teenager in Ferguson illuminated the racial disparities that have been the cornerstone of life in Missouri since the Missouri Compromise allowed the State to be admitted to the Union as a slave state in 1821.

In addition to St. Louis City the Greater St. Louis area includes 90 other municipalities that comprise St. Louis County.

The Report of the Ferguson Commission highlights many of those disparities.

The report includes the following statistics that inform our mission to work toward racial justice:

Between 2003 and 2012 the number of residents in St. Louis County living below the poverty line has increased by 53%.

In 2012 17% of children in St. Louis County lived below the poverty line and 41% of all children in St. Louis City lived below the poverty line.

The Commission also cites evidence of the effects that racial disparities have on life expectancy. Using statistics from a report compiled by Washington University professor Jason Purnell,For The Sake of All” it it compares life in a predominantly Black zipcode in St. Louis City, 63106 with life in a predominantly white zipcode 10 miles away in 63105 located in the City of Clayton located in St. Louis County.

Life expectancy in the City zipcode is age 67 compared to age 85 in Clayton.

Why We Organize

The August 9, 2014 killing of Michael Brown, an unarmed teenager in Ferguson, MO a municipality a couple of miles outside of St. Louis City illuminated the historic racial inequities that have been the fiber of life in Missouri since its inception as a slave state. In addition to St. Louis City the St. Louis metro area is comprised of 90 municipalities.

The Movement that was rebirthed in the streets of Ferguson led to discovery of how the municipal court system was steeped in racist practices and targeted African Americans.

In the same fashion using information lcited in For the Sake of All, The Ferguson Commission Report cites life disparities between residents of St. Louis City in the 63105 zip code  and residents of St. Louis County in the 63105 zip code. In the inner city zip code the average life expectancy is age 67 and in the suburban zip code it’s 85.

The Ferguson Report provides the following statistics.

Between 2000 and 2013 federal poverty line in St. Louis’ suburbs grew by 53 percent (The Met Center, 2015).

In 2012, 17.8 percent of all children in St. Louis County and 41.7 percent of all children in St. Louis city lived below the poverty line (Anne E. Cayce Foundation).