Looking Beyond Ferguson

Mary McClymont, president of the Public Welfare Foundation, was among a distinguished group of more than 100 political, business, nonprofit, academic, and other leaders, who signed a letter to President Barack Obama this week, urging his administration to address issues of policing in low-income communities, particularly communities of color. The letter was sent in the wake of the fatal shooting of 18-year-old Michael Brown, an unarmed black youth, by Darren Wilson, a white police officer in Ferguson, Missouri on August 9. The shooting has sparked renewed conversations across the country about police-community relations and especially how youth of color and police officers perceive – and mistrust – each other.

Among other things, the signers urge the Obama Administration to suspend programs that transfer military equipment to local police departments and, too often, turn local communities into “military combat zones instead of communities where people strive to live, learn, work, play and pray in peace and harmony,” as the letter states. The signers also ask the Administration to “quickly establish a national commission to review existing police policies and practices and identify the best policies and practices that can prevent more Fergusons and vastly improve policing in communities across the nation.”

The Public Welfare Foundation supports efforts to advance justice and opportunity for people in need. Through its Criminal Justice Program and its Youth Justice Program, it supports other nonprofit groups that are working to reduce the over-incarceration of adults and juveniles as well as address racial disparities in adult criminal justice systems and in juvenile justice systems nationwide.

A banner ad is running this week on the National News home page of the online version of The Washington Post that directs viewers to the letter.

Register your own support for the recommended actions in the letter here.


The Public Welfare Foundation supports efforts to advance justice and opportunity for people in need. These efforts honor the Foundation’s core values of racial equity, economic well-being, and fundamental fairness for all. The Foundation looks for strategic points where its funds can make a significant difference and improve lives through policy and system reform that results in transformative change. For more information, visit Follow the Foundation on Twitter or on Facebook.

Stay Informed with our eNewsletter