Heartland group heads to Ferguson to help facilitate peaceful ch - KFVS12 News & Weather Cape Girardeau, Carbondale, Poplar Bluff

Heartland group heads to Ferguson to help facilitate peaceful change

CAPE GIRARDEAU, MO (KFVS) -

Police arrested more than a dozen people in Ferguson on Monday night after protesters blocked traffic during a fourth consecutive night of demonstrations marking the anniversary of the fatal shooting of 18-year-old Michael Brown.

In the midst of what’s happening there, going to Ferguson may not sound like such a good idea; however, some people in the heartland don't care. They're headed that way to promote peaceful interactions between citizens and local government.

The group called Center for Self-Governance encourages people to make their voices heard and seek change in a positive way.

Now, a year after the incident in Ferguson, members of that group from the heartland say they're hoping for continued change.

"How effective is it to going in with a mad, angry fist? Absolutely non-effective,” Jan Farrar said.

Farrar is a leader in the non-partisan organization. She said the training program is all about teaching citizen to seek change in a peaceful, effective, and positive way.

"Citizens must be engaged to keep government in check,” Farrar said.

The group has been doing training in Ferguson for almost a year now, teaching locals effective communication skills and seeing progress.

"[There have been] a lot of successes at the local level,” Farrar said.

However, there's still a lot to be done. On Tuesday night they're meeting with Ferguson area pastors who hope to get the tools they need to equip their communities for change. 

"We are few in number. We need more citizens to become engaged. That's when we are finally going to see the balance of power,” Farrar said.

Farrar said it's the people's responsibility to hold elected officials accountable.

"Article one, section one of the Missouri Constitution says 'All political power is vested in and derived from the people,'” Farrar said.

However, she said, that's only possible when citizens approach that conversation in the right way.

"Communication is just what you and I are doing right now. It's not torch and pitch-forks and anger. You have to be able to communicate, but we have to control instituted government,” Farrar said.

Some people in Ferguson, like local business owners, have already completed Center for Self-Governance training and are now teaching others.

If you're interested in this type of training, click here for more information.

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