Janeatha Evans and her daughter used to live in the Canfield Green Apartments.
She’s lived in Ferguson, Missouri, for five years now, having moved from another location in North County.
And on this day, she joins a dozen parents, grandparents, teachers and more than 60 children at the Ferguson Municipal Public Library to bring some normalcy to their lives.
Evans, like many in Ferguson, are adamant about what their community is. And what it is not.
“It’s not this,” Evans said, quickly adding, “This is Ferguson … right here.”
Evans moves her hands about as if to encompass the entire room of education and opportunity. And in every way, she’s right. Ferguson, at a little over 21,000 residents, may be two-thirds black. And it may have a disproportionate amount of white-to-black police officers. But on this day, in this library, everyone colors, plays, talks and sits side-by-side while anger brews a mile away.
Evans worries about her daughter and her future in the community, as it relates to police, specifically.
“She’s scared of cops; I don’t want her to be,” Evans said.
Outside influences have hampered so many parts of this process that those dug into the community feel like their sense of themselves is slipping away.
Many news outlets, including Fox News, are reporting that of the 78 people arrested Aug. 18 during protests on W. Florissant Ave. in Ferguson, only four were from that town, with many showing IDs from Illinois and Texas.
Dr. Gloria has been a teacher in the area for 50 years, many as a vocal instructor in the Ferguson-Florissant School District. She and a fellow teacher helping at the library, Laura, were out front ushering in neighborhood kids to a learning environment graciously offered up by the public library and organized by Carrie Pace and many volunteers.
Gloria says there is too much outside influence.
“President Obama, now Eric Holder is coming…it’s too much,” she said. “Has it really come to that?”
Added, Laura, “All of the sudden we don’t know how to handle ourselves?”
Sandy Jablonski, a Ferg-Flor aide in attendance with her granddaughter, Grace, has lived in Ferguson since 1981, with all four kids going through the schools.
“We’ve been through tornadoes and picked up, cleaned up after that,” she said.
Evans is ready to take back her city.
“It’s not a thing about black and white,” she says. “This is a community thing.”