Labor and Employment associate Nelson Williams has joined the Board of Directors for Forward Through Ferguson, the nonprofit successor of the Ferguson Commission. Nelson is the 11th member to the join the board, which has since its inception sought “unflinching and unusual leaders to work toward racial equity.”
Nelson and the other board members, including leaders from the nonprofit, business, education, and law enforcement arenas, are tasked with promoting and achieving the 189 Calls to Action articulated in the Ferguson Report, released in September 2015. In its first year of work, Forward Through Ferguson has achieved a number of milestones, including presenting at more than 130 regional organizations and conferences; launching an infographic series to visualize data about racial inequities; and organizing an assembly of 25 regional school districts to focus on the elimination of out-of-school suspensions for early-elementary students.
Nelson’s interest in equity and inclusion began at a young age and continued throughout college, where he was co-director of Duke’s Center for Race Relations. Since moving to St. Louis in 2007, Nelson has continued that interest, serving on the board of directors for the Shearwater Education Foundation, on the diversity committee at Thompson Coburn, and as a big brother for Big Brothers and Sisters of Eastern Missouri.
“As an employment attorney, I have a unique understanding of the ways in which the law, race, and equity often interplay both within and outside of the courtroom,” Nelson said in a statement for Forward Through Ferguson. “While the law is my chosen field, I have a passion to create change and empower others to tackle the challenges that our community and nation face. Inaction is not an option.”
Originally from Waterford, Connecticut, Nelson has B.A. in Spanish and cultural anthropology from Duke University, and a J.D. from Washington University School of Law. He is a 2015 honoree of the St. Louis Business Journal’s 30 Under 30 awards.
Thompson Coburn was one of the first corporate donors to support the Ferguson Commission and the United Way’s Ferguson Fund.
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