I was born and raised in a St. Louis suburb just a few exits down I-170 from Ferguson, Missouri.
It's hard for me to watch the tragic unfolding of events there. It's hard to imagine these images from a once-quiet community where some of my relatives once lived. And, it's hard not to wonder what lessons we might take from all this which could be applicable to Southwest Louisiana.
Many viewers here and across the nation have already formed their opinions, in large part based on pre-existing biases and perceptions of events as filtered through various news media. The unfolding of the investigation into the death of Michael Brown and resulting jurisprudence will no doubt shape the next few weeks up there. The Ferguson story is a long way from over.
But this we know. The roots of this story didn't begin two weeks ago. They began years, decades, perhaps even a century or two ago. They shaped Greater St. Louis into one of the most geographically, economically and racially fragmented regions in the country. Perhaps had more thought and dialogue occurred a while back, Ferguson might not have tipped from peace to war.
The very first editorial I ever did here was about the fragmentation of our own region, also geographically, economically and racially.
Now, we are not Ferguson, but we hope that city provides a wake-up call to define and mend these divisions, and where necessary build trust sooner rather than later. As with our nation, only if we stand united can we ensure peace and prosperity for all citizens of our Better Southwest Louisiana.
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