Credit: Lawrence Bryant St. Louis American photo

In a teleconference call Wednesday, several community activists and reporters discussed the impending verdict of the grand jury on the death of Michael Brown and whether police officer Darren Wilson, who shot and killed him in August, will be indicted. They also raised questions about the Ferguson Commission, impaneled by Gov. Jay Nixon, and its impact on law enforcement policy in Ferguson, where Brown was killed, and in the surrounding communities.

Among those on the call convened by PICO National Network and moderated by the Rev. Michael McBride were the Rev. Traci Blackmon of Christ the King United Church of Christ in Ferguson and an appointee to the Ferguson Commission; youth activist and rapper Tef Poe; Patrisse Cullors of Black Lives Matter; youth activist Rika Tyler; T-Dubb-O, a rapper and youth activist; and Ferguson/St. Louis community activist Torey Russell of Hands Up United.

After opening statements from each of the panelists, the reporters focused their questions on the commission, the governor’s recent state of emergency action and what will be the reaction from protesters if there is no indictment.

Ferguson and an appointee to the Ferguson Commission; youth activist and rapper Tef Poe; Patrisse Cullors of Black Lives Matter; youth activist Rika Tyler; T-Dubb-O, a rapper and youth activist;

and Ferguson/St. Louis community activist Torey Russell of Hands Up United.

After opening statements from each of the panelists, the reporters focused their questions on the commission, the governor’s recent state of emergency action and what will be the reaction from protesters if there is no indictment.

Blackmon said the commission hasn’t met yet, and its fi rst meeting is planned for Dec. 1. “It’s an independent body and the recommendations will be binding,” she said.“Our focus will be on

changing behavior, including that of Governor Nixon’s, as well as the policies of the local law enforcement agencies. The commission is expected to have a final report by September 2015.”

Tyler discussed the letter she wrote to President Barack Obama, challenging him to live up to the promise put forth in his “My Brothers’ Keeper” initiative. Poe provided a thorough recap of the

Brown family visit to Geneva, Switzerland, to explain the tragedy to a United Nations panel. T-Dubb-O took exception to the governor’s deployment of the National Guard. “To me, that’s a declaration

of war against the protesters, and it’s a complete lie that the militarization of the police has been peaceful,” he said. “No police have been hurt. Our demonstrations have been peaceful, and if anybody

has been hurt, it’s been us.”

Cullors put the incident in Ferguson in a broader national context, noting that what happened in Ferguson and St. Louis “are not aberrations.” She continued, “What we are witnessing across the nation is a war against young Black people.”

“I agree with Patrisse,” said Russell. “What this is about is much more than Michael Brown, and his death should not be just another chapter in American history. He should not be another statistic.”

When asked about the response of local politicians, T-Dubb-O said they have been missing in action. “Not a peep from any of them, including Rep. Emanuel Cleaver, who has not visited Ferguson,” he complained.

And were they optimistic about the commission?

“This is not just about the Ferguson Commission,” said Tyler. “It reaches and impacts every sector of the nation.”

Poe said the commission was composed of some very good people. “But where is the governor in all this?” he asked. “He should be here on this call rather than tossing the ball to Traci for her to figure it out.”

Blackmon explained that the commission and its work does not negate the grassroots commission and that the world will have to wait and see exactly what the outcome of this body will be.

And the world is waiting for the grand jury.