Bethany A. Johnson-Javois, MSW ’02, is Managing Director of Ferguson Commission

Alumni; Community Engagement

Bethany A. Johnson-Javois, a ’02 MSW graduate and distinguished alumna of the Brown School, has been named Managing Director of Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon’s special Ferguson Commission.  She was appointed to the commission last year and named Managing Director on Jan. 15 to set up and supervise the structure of five working groups whose recommendations will provide the foundation for the final report presented to Nixon.

To devote herself to the commission, Johnson-Javois has taken a leave of absence from her job as CEO of the St. Louis Integrated Health Network.

“I’ve appreciated this opportunity to be on the commission,” she said. “It’s work that I think is needed as a clearinghouse for individuals who really need their experiences validated.  The pain is so real and so human, it’s transcending race and class. People are really hearing the human experiences and realizing it’s their neighbors’ experience.”

“I’ve got to do something” is the response she said many have.

The recent Justice Department report on Ferguson “validates the issues that have been raised,” she said, but also points to a scope of problems far beyond Ferguson.

“The next step is to find ways to admit our uncomfortable truths so we can move forward,” she said.

Johnson-Javois was one of 16 commission members who were announced and sworn in during a news conference held Nov. 18 at the Missouri History Museum in Forest Park.

The independent commission is charged with working to address the social and economic conditions highlighted by protests following the Aug. 9 death of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Mo., and to make specific recommendations for action.