FERGUSON, MO (KTVI) – Ferguson residents had one more chance to vent Tuesday night at a town hall meeting run by representatives of the U.S. Department of Justice. It was open only to residents and closed to the media.
About 120 attended, making it one of the smallest in the series of town hall meetings that began in September.
But those who came seemed to feel it was a productive session.
“We broke up into smaller groups and discussed action plans on how to bring the community together and involve youth and bridge gaps,” said 61 year Ferguson resident Roger Herin.
Ferguson mayor James Knowles III said much has been learned from these town hall meetings, including the need to better communicate resources the city offers, like youth programs many residents don`t even know exist.
And while some of the previous meetings have been raucous and rancorous, the mayor feels the tone is changing.
“At that first meeting there was still a lot of venting and anger. There are still frustrations but I just left hugging somebody that was screaming at me for the first three or four meeting so that is the kind of change we are working for, that mutual understanding,” Knowles said.
Longtime resident Deanel Trout, who is African American, says the problems will not be solved overnight.
“We`ve got a lot of work, there is a lot of animosity, a lot
of anger a lot of distrust so hopefully we can pull things together,” Trout said, adding, “I love the community.”
One group which has not had much of a presence at these town hall meetings are young people, so the city is putting together a youth summit to be held November 15.
The mayor also says even though there are no more Justice Department town hall meetings scheduled, he believes there will be more community meetings to continue to discussion in a similar fashion.