The Nelson A. Rockefeller Center for Public Policy and the Social Sciences

Public Program Recap: "Lessons Learned in Ferguson and Their Implications for the Country" with Rev. Starsky Wilson

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Recently, the Rockefeller Center sponsored a Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration Lecture at Dartmouth entitled "Lessons Learned in Ferguson and Their Implications for the Country" and presented by Rev. Starsky Wilson on Friday, January 16. The event is summarized below.

There were over 225 faculty, staff, students and community members in attendance at “Lessons Learned in Ferguson and Their Implications for the Country” with Rev. Starsky Wilson this past Friday evening. Co-sponsored by the Tucker Foundation, this public program was one of the many events taking place during the weekend-long Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration at Dartmouth College.

Rev. Starsky Wilson

Rev. Wilson, who was introduced by colleague and Rockefeller Center Director Andrew Samwick, spoke about the significant and tragic events that took place in Ferguson, MO this past August. In particular, he discussed the inefficiencies of our current judicial system as well as the philanthropic role that his church currently plays in the ongoing movement towards social change. Wilson noted that there are many different factors  currently in play in the movement, and any substantial, visible change will take patience, cooperation, and hard work to achieve.

Following the talk, several students and community members asked Rev. Wilson about the future impact of Ferguson. He emphasized the importance of young people in influencing politics and public policy, especially in the upcoming election. In continuation with the celebration of Martin Luther King Jr., Rev. Wilson preached on “Selma to Ferguson: Why We Can’t Wait” the Sunday following the public program.

The Reverend Starsky D. Wilson is president & CEO of the Deaconess Foundation, a faith-based grant making organization devoted to making child well-being a civic priority in the St. Louis region. Wilson earned a bachelor of arts in political science from Xavier University of Louisiana, master of divinity from Eden Theological Seminary, and is pursuing the doctor of ministry degree at Duke Divinity School.

Rev. Wilson was recently selected by Missouri Governor, Jeremiah Nixon, to co-chair the Ferguson Commission, created to study and make specific recommendations for how to make progress on the issues raised by events in Ferguson. He also serves on several local community boards, including the United Church of Christ Cornerstone Fund, YMCA of Greater St. Louis, FOCUS-St. Louis, Teach for America-St. Louis and the Mayor's Commission on Children, Youth and Families.

Rev. Wilson is also pastor of Saint John's Church (The Beloved Community) in St. Louis. He has led congregational activism on myriad issues, including youth violence prevention, Medicaid expansion, public school accreditation, and voter mobilization. Through the church, Pastor Wilson established The Beloved Community Conference and Sojourner’s Truth: A Celebration of Preaching Women as signature outreach efforts. A member of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc. and Eta Boule of Sigma Pi Phi Fraternity, Starsky is married to Dr. LaToya Smith Wilson and has three young sons.

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