West alumnus becomes youngest Ferguson Commission member

Parkway%27s+twitter+account+shares+the+good+news+with+almost+5000+followers.

Parkway's twitter account shares the good news with almost 5000 followers.

While it is easy to get lost amidst the chaos in Ferguson, one 2012 Parkway West alumnus has made his name known as he took the matter of racial divides in the community into his own hands. Meet Rasheen Aldridge Jr., the youngest member of Missouri governor Jay Nixon’s Ferguson Commission.

“I want to be part of the Ferguson Commission so I can provide concerns and issues of the young people who feel like their voices and lives don’t matter in this world,” Aldridge said. “All lives matter.”

But Ferguson is not the only situation which Aldridge has spoken up about; after protesting for better jobs and wages, he was selected as the recipient for the 2013 Jamala Rogers Young Visionary Award.

“The Jamala Rogers Young Visionary Award serves to recognize and support young adults who have made efforts to promote social justice, equality, diversity and human rights. Award recipients are visionaries responding to society’s most pressing social, political and economic issues,” reads the award’s description.

Aldridge is still fighting for equality in Ferguson, and visited the White House on Dec. 1 to discuss the matter with other activists and the US President himself, Barack Obama.

However, Aldridge was “disappointed” with the visit, as he stated in an MSNBC interview with Andrea Mitchell.

“This is just – it’s a start,” Aldridge said. “I appreciate that the President is definitely starting somewhere, but we really need to figure out some real change, some real solutions on how to hold the police accountable for their actions”

However, on Dec. 4, Aldridge was charged with third degree assault on a city marshal after an altercation Nov. 26.

According to KSDK, “Aldridge is accused of being part of a group of people who chanted, shouted and pushed the marshal.”

St. Louis City Hall subsequently went on lockdown due to security concerns.

The St. Louis Post Dispatch reports that “Aldridge told reporters that he didn’t see anyone touch the guard. He added that the protesters were simply trying to keep the door open and noted that City Hall is a public building.”

Although Aldridge was charged and government plans are still being reworked, there have been plenty of proposed solutions. These include creating a police accountability task force, removing the militaristic aspect of the police force, giving all officers body cameras and holding more community meetings.

Overall, Aldridge hopes the commission will bring about the change that Ferguson needs.

“I hope with the Commission we will be able to solve and come up with real solutions of the problems that are affecting people of all colors and how to make St. Louis a place that people love and feel like they belong in their own city,” Aldridge said.

Upon hearing of West’s peaceful protest on Dec. 5, Aldridge was happy to see students from his former high school take action in the name of equality.

“When I heard Parkway walked out, my high school, I was amazed that they did it and I felt proud to see students from the same high school that I went to actually expressing their First [Amendment] rights to freedom of speech,” Aldridge said. “[They were] coming together collectively to send a message in the right way, not violently or disruptively.”

Aldridge left West with one piece of advice.

“The only way to fix the problem is to come together: everyone of all color, all age, all sex, all religion. I’m proud, Parkway. Keep it up. Go Longhorns!” Aldridge said.