I have lived, gone to school and worked in Ferguson for a little over twenty years. Two years ago I bought 911 Hair Salon at 9193 West Florrissant Avenue. Since then, I've put in my hard-earned money and countless hours to revive the brand of 911 Hair Salon. This includes remodeling, branding and marketing a business that — for over two decades — has historically been owned and operated by black women like me.
I feel blessed by what I've achieved. Yet I've also been vandalized, looted and lost business during this crisis in Ferguson and the St. Louis region. This economic downfall has been going on for five months strong. As a single mom, it's been overwhelming trying to balance home, business and now, this.
I believe that we can and will heal from the event that has led to unrest. I pray constantly, telling myself and others that God is in control. I believe counseling sessions will help the people to navigate their frustrations, hurt and anger. Unity expos as well as fun community festivals will hopefully bring all people and groups together. We need career assistance and help with job preparation, too. And the business community here on West Florissant needs a facelift.
Education is also necessary — for our adults, young adults and youth. We have become such a technology-driven world that we forget our basic need to communicate and have understanding. People need to know about our legislative system. Just as important, they need to vote. Who represents your district and what values do they have? Through education, people will know their rights and become empowered.
Last but definitely not least, we need to have the proper people who are willing to do what is necessary to make this happen — people who have the heart and passion for these type of programs. My prayer and hope is for restoration. I believe that with Christ who strengthens us and the right assistance, all things are possible.
About this project: Riverfront Times asked a diverse group of contributors — policemen, rappers, shop owners, clergy — to tell our readers where they see solutions to the region's deep-rooted troubles. It's part of our #FergusonNext collaboration, in partnership with the Guardian's "US Opinion," the St. Louis Post-Dispatch's editorial page, the St. Louis American, Ebony.com and Colorlines. Go to www.fergusonnext.com to see what our partners are doing and to join us in our attempt to answer the question, "No justice, no peace — what now?"