11-Year-Old Boy Educates St. Louis County Council About Race Relations
When 11-year-old Marquis Govan stepped to the podium at a recent St. Louis County Council meeting, none of the councilmembers were prepared for his succinct analysis of what took place after Michael Brown's fatal shooting last month.
"I would just like to say that the people of Ferguson, I believe, don't need tear gas thrown at them," he said. "I believe they need jobs."
In just two minutes, Govan discussed the economy, race relations and municipal responsibility. Though much of the news coverage focused on the looting and unrest that took place after Brown, 18, was shot, Govan said the council needs to focus on why that happened.
"You're paying attention to the wrong things," he added. "You're paying attention to the looting and things like that, when the real issues aren't being solved. There's a reason why those people are out there."
Here is more from CBS News:
"I thought he was right on, he's exactly right," said Hazel Erby, who chairs the council (and whose district includes Ferguson). "You know, the jobs, education, all of that had everything to do with what happened in Ferguson."
[CBS reporter Jane] Pauley asked Govan, regarding the protests in Ferguson, "What I saw on television was basically your backyard. What did it feel like to watch those protests that inspired you to write that speech?"
"There has always been a problem, even when Ferguson never happened," Govan said. "The minority community, we need more African-American police officers."
Pauley asked if anyone in his school aspires to become a cop. Govan said no.
"Look, let me tell you why: From the beginning we've felt abused by these people. Why would you go up to serve among the abusers? It doesn't make any sense."
Watch Govan in action below: