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Nixon announces Ferguson Commission

Saint Louis, Mo. — Gov. Jay Nixon announced today that his office will organize a special commission to study various issues and provide specific solutions for the socioeconomic turmoil highlighted in the unrest in Ferguson, Missouri.

The Ferguson Commission will be comprised of about 15 or individuals that anyone can officially nominate and submit to Nixon’s office. The Democratic Governor will ultimately appoint it’s members and said he will sign an executive order laying out a clear timeline with specific goals.

“My fervent hope — and my belief — is that we will find thoughtful people from every walk of life, ordinary citizens as well as empowered leaders in business, education, public safety and our faith communities, who are willing to serve their state when it needs them most.”

Gov. Jay Nixon
Gov. Jay Nixon

Nixon said the commission would not be tasked with any duties specifically related to the shooting death of 18-year-old Michael Brown by Officer Darren Wilson. Instead, the commission will first conduct “a thorough, wide-ranging and unflinching study of the social and economic conditions underscored by the unrest in the wake of the death of Michael Brown.”

Nixon said that after identifying issues and experts to work on them, the commission would be responsible for offering specific solutions to the region’s woes.

The announcement came during an uncharacteristic speech from Nixon, who so fart has constrained many of his public appearances on the subject of Ferguson to brief, official announcements. Nixon spoke for several minutes on the unrest throughout St. Louis more broadly than perhaps ever before.

“In the small Missouri town where I grew up, railroad tracks were the racial dividing line,” Nixon said. “Whites on one said, blacks on the other. Separate and unequal. It was the way things were.”

Nixon told reporters following the announcement that the commission’s task was bigger than just Ferguson, and that he felt the issues highlighted by the recent protests were regional and not local.

Nixon said too often all parties involved were “talking past each other,” and urged a more open mind.

“We must open our hearts and minds to what others have seen, what others have lived, and respect their truth,” Nixon said.

Nixon’s announcement come as rumors continue to swirl that the grand jury will soon decide not to indict Wilson in Brown’s death. Nixon said his commission would be announced and would continue to work regardless of what happens in the Brown investigation. Nixon also hinted that he believe the perception of inaction was a serious problem for Missouri leaders.

“Sometimes, silence is speech,” Nixon said when asked by one reporter what “stuck out” to him in the aftermath of Ferugson. “Sometimes when one person is really upset and they talk in a loud tone to somebody else and somebody else doesn’t say anything, the person that’s doing the talking thinks they are not listening. But sometimes the person not saying anything is actually listening, but because they don’t have the words or the concrete things they can do they’re afraid to say what they feel.”