The Caldwell Family - Finding our way

Before Ferguson Beyond Ferguson begins with the Caldwells, the first of a series of stories about how St. Louis families over many generations have struggled to get a quality education and gain their purchase on the American Dream. For a hard copy of the booklet email

Before Ferguson Beyond Ferguson, the St. Louis-based racial equity storytelling project, has added 12 board members to strengthen its representation of thl spectrum of the people of St. Louis. |

Now in its third year, the journalistic organization has produced dozens of stories in print, online, and on radio for its St. Louis mainstream media partners. The stories focus on the challenges families of color have faced for generations in gaining their purchase on the American Dream.  

The new members are:

Zach Bayly, a native St. Louisan and student at Columbia University, who was recently accepted to the  Urban Teachers program. The program is aimed at accelerating student achievement and disrupting systems of racial bias and inequity.

Sylvester Brown Jr., a veteran St. Louis journalist/columnist, currently serving as the inaugural Deaconess Fellow at The St. Louis American. The fellowship is funded by the Deaconess Foundation as part of its support for Black-led COVID-19 relief efforts.

Evita Caldwell, public information officer for the St. Louis Police Department. Caldwell and her family were featured in a BFBF story about the Preservation Square neighborhood where she grew up and attended school.

Elaine Cha, storyteller/journalist for Big Brothers Big Sisters of Eastern Missouri. Cha has broad experience as a producer of multimedia content that illuminates real-life experiences of people who live in marginalized communities.

Brandon Ford, a student at Northwestern University, who has been active in seeking better treatment for students of color in the Clayton School District.

Jung Bum Kwon, assistant professor of behavioral and social sciences at Webster University. Kwon brings experience in teaching and researching social-cultural dimensions of race, public policy, and political economy.

Miya Norfleet, director of digital communications and media relations at Big Brothers Big Sisters of Eastern Missouri. Norfleet has worked on documentaries as a freelancer and in a previous position at the Nine Network of Public Media.

Linda Peterson, a counselor at Hixson Middle School in the Webster Groves School District, and a leader in shaping the district’s policies regarding racial equity and inclusion.

Maalik Shakoor, a St. Louis-based film actor, producer and director, with a degree in film production from Webster University.

Denise Washington, a CPA who works in Human Relations at the St. Louis Federal Reserve. Denise, her husband, Theodore Washington III, and extended family were featured in a BFBF story as part of our racial equity storytelling project.

Theodore Washington III, a social studies teacher at Ladue Middle School, who has also taught in the University City and East St. Louis school districts.

Erika Whitfield, a writer and language arts educator at Clayton High School who has also taught in the St. Louis school district. Whitfield has written extensively on social justice issues in the classroom, with one of her commentaries appearing in the Washington Post

They join founding board members:

Sally Altman, co-founder of BFBF, who serves as an advisor for organizations involved in public health, social justice and racial equity.

Harvey Citerman, an advisor to CEOs and management teams in developing business and financial strategies.

Mitch Margo, an author, former journalist, and currently a principal in the St. Louis law firm of Curtis, Heinz, Garrett & O’Keefe, PC.

Jean Weiss, executive director of Code Savvy, an organization that helps children gain access to new pathways in technology and entrepreneurship.

Richard H. Weiss, co-founder of BFBF and executive editor, who worked as a reporter and editor at the St. Louis Post-Dispatch from 1975-2005.

“Our board brings an array of skills and experiences that will help guide our organization as it grows and takes on new projects in the coming years,” Weiss said.  “We include GenZers, Millennials, Gen Xers, and Baby Boomers. Our board members have grown up and worked in different kinds of neighborhoods all across the region.   

”BFBF is able to provide content at no charge to its St. Louis media partners, thanks to grants from the Pulitzer Center and an array of foundations and individual donors. The media partners include the Catholic Health Association’s Health Progress magazine, KTRS-AM, Riverfront Times, St. Louis American, St. Louis Magazine, St. Louis Post-Dispatch, and St. Louis Public Radio.

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