What happens in Ferguson and the St. Louis metro area the day after everybody leaves?
It's a question on the minds of nearly every resident, who know the camera crews will eventually fold up their sticks and pack up their vans, the West Florissant McDonald's will transform from an international media filing center into a trivia question. But the local police will still be there, along with the structural inequality and racial disparities that sparked the crisis.
We plan to be there as it all unfolds. For The Huffington Post, this'll involve a first-of-its-kind collaboration with readers, the local community and the Beacon Reader to create what we're calling the Ferguson Fellowship. With reader support, we'll hire a local citizen journalist who's been covering the turmoil and train her to become a professional journalist.
Local resident Mariah Stewart has been covering the Ferguson protests as a citizen journalist with the support of readers through Beacon's platform. With HuffPost readers' support, we can make sure Stewart can continue her work.
Stewart will work directly with HuffPost's criminal justice reporter Ryan Reilly to cover the ongoing story of Ferguson, tracking the federal investigation into the killing of Michael Brown and reporting on the empaneled grand jury. She'll monitor the activity of the local and county police forces once the national spotlight dims, and will learn the intricacies of public records requests in an effort to divine the funding sources and uses of military gear in the county.
Click here to make a contribution and to learn more about Stewart and the Ferguson Fellowship.