Dialogue on Ferguson Touches on Ways to Offer Opportunities and Hope

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Washington Adventist University and Saint Louis University recently hosted a Dialogue on Ferguson, Mo., to address ways the community can move forward following the shooting of unarmed teenager Michael Brown and the subsequent civil unrest.

Washington Adventist University Adjunct Professor Dick Wolfe participated in the Dialogue on Ferguson, Mo.

In order to resolve these issues, we need more dialogue among thoughtful people to help find new ways to provide communities like Ferguson with opportunity and hope.

A dialogue on Ferguson, Mo. was hosted earlier this month by the graduate public administration program of the Washington Adventist University (WAU) School of Graduate and Professional Studies and the Saint Louis University Department of Political Science. The dialogue focused on the issues of race, law enforcement and socio-economic status in the aftermath of the shooting of unarmed teenager Michael Brown in Ferguson, a community of 21,000 residents.

Participating in the hour-long call-in discussion were representatives from civic groups, state agencies, community development groups and clergy, as well as from the two universities and the general public.

The dialogue began with a 45-minute discussion moderated by Colin Wellenkamp, adjunct professor of public policy at Washington Adventist University. Participants included Charles Henson, former city council member in Ferguson; Dr. Kenneth Warren, professor of political science at Saint Louis University; Ken Franklin, Morehouse College Alumni Association, chair of engagement; Richard Wolfe, adjunct professor of public policy, Washington Adventist University; Keith Savage, Savage Solutions Group, Multicultural Strategy & Development; and Rev. Robert “Rosy” Rosebrough, pastor at Blessed Teresa of Calcutta Catholic Church in Ferguson, Mo.

“The issues of Ferguson are complex, so the dialogue included emphasis on the need for community and economic development,” said WAU adjunct professor and dialogue participant Wolfe. “In order to resolve these issues, we need more dialogue among thoughtful people to help find new ways to provide communities like Ferguson with opportunity and hope.”

At the end of the dialogue, other call-in participants – many from WAU – were invited to pose their questions and comments.

The discussion touched on the following points: the people of Ferguson have control over their own actions and destiny; employment and economic development activities need to be done on a regional basis, rather than focusing on a specific community; local regional employers need to be part of the process of developing economic resources in these communities; local leaders should step up to fulfill their responsibilities as representatives of all of the citizens who live in their jurisdiction, and they need to meet their civil rights protection obligations; and everyone involved should understand that the process of economic development and implementation is a long-term commitment that requires continuous hard work.

The dialogue on Ferguson, Mo. can be heard in its entirety at http://www.wau.edu/audio-files/dialogue-on-ferguson.mp3.

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Washington Adventist University is part of the Seventh-day Adventist system of higher education, and it has been educating college students since 1904 on a 19-acre campus in suburban Takoma Park, close to the nation’s capital. A total of 1,185 students of all faiths participate in the university’s eight graduate and 32 undergraduate programs. The 2014 edition of U.S. News & World Report ranked Washington Adventist University among the best regional colleges in the north.

Media Contacts:
Angie Crews, 301-891-4134, acrews(at)wau.edu
Donna Bigler, 240-286-1169, dbigler(at)wau.edu

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Donna Bigler
Washington Adventist University
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