It was 20 years ago today, that Sargent Pepper taught the band to play.
Lennon and McCartney
Those words were written 47 years ago and are still heard today on radio stations throughout our country.
It was 20 years ago today that the City of Ferguson, with the help of 500 citizens from our urban oasis embraced the idea of ‘Diversity’ while adopting the ideas set forth from the Oak Park Exchange Congress, known around the country as the Oak Park Strategy.
It all started when the Oak Park Housing Center opened its doors to promote fair housing, integrating their neighborhoods and preventing white flight. The promise was that housing values would not decline and that people from all races could live together and flourish as a community. The Oak Park Strategy just celebrated their 42nd anniversary and they are still working today to keep this idea moving forward.
The Congress featured speakers that understood the values to be gained by living in diverse communities. For instance, Dr. Robert Archibald, president of the Missouri Historical Society, pointed out that true patriotism in America must include a commitment to racial and cultural inclusivity. “More and more people are deciding they want to live and raise their families in integrated communities, knowing they are involved and making a choice in building their community.” Mayor, Mike James, 1994.
From this strategy, Proud (People Reaching Out for Unity and Diversity) was born. Bill Duncan and Ed Ferguson co-chaired this group in the hope that, “the Exchange Congress will create action on the part of the public to urge local government to take a more proactive direction with regard to diversity and integration.”