Over the last two weeks, Ferguson, Mo., a hardscrabble town of 22,000 northwest of St. Louis that is 67 percent African-American but has a police force of 53, of whom only three are black — has dominated the national headlines. It might seem like a far cry from our bustling East Coast Metropolis of Boston, but there are some who see lessons for us here in the events on the ground there.

"What happens in Missouri affects me here in Boston," said Boston city councilor Tito Jackson. "'An injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere;' those are the words of Martin Luther King."

Jackson represents Boston’s 7th district, including all of Roxbury, and parts of the South End, Dorchester and Fenway neighborhoods.

"This issue was right below the surface in Ferguson, but it’s an issue that’s right below the surface everywhere, because we do not live in a post-racial society," he said.

Ferguson has the sad distinction of being one of six communities since April to have a young black man die at the hands of police gunfire. The dead young man in Ferguson was named Michael Brown. He was 18 years old.

The truth is that we don’t know exactly what happened between Michael Brown and Officer Darren Wilson that afternoon in Ferguson. And we likely never will. An official version of events will be produced and adjudicated, but by then, opinions across the nation will likely be so polarized that there will be no changing anyone’s mind. Councilor Jackson has himself arrived at one certainty: What happened in Ferguson was anything but an isolated incident.

"It’s not a one-off situation," he said. "It matters because a couple of weeks ago Eric Gardner was killed in New York. It matters because a young man from Massachusetts named DJ Henry, a really great kid who was at Pace University, was killed in Westchester County. It matters because the lives, too often, of black and Latino men are not being valued at the same level of other people in our country."

Carlton E. Williams of the Massachusetts American Civil Liberties Union agrees: This is about race — and racism — and no community is immune. That includes Boston.

"We get calls regularly by people saying, 'Look, I was stopped for no reason, I was stopped because the police said I was weaving, I was stopped because I was walking down the street and the police said I fit a description,'" he said.

Williams says it would be a mistake to think a similar incident couldn’t happen here.

"There are people who the police are for, and there are people who are policed," he said. "Give me a map and in Boston I will draw you a line where that changes."

That line tracks right through Jackson’s district. Jackson has high praise for Boston Police programs like its community service officers. But he also said that, just like in Ferguson, the police force here could be more representative of the community it serves and protects.

"We could do better," Jackson said. "I think the Boston Police Department still struggles in areas of promotions of people of color, as well as women, to the ranks of sergeant as well as lieutenant and captain."

And while what happened in Ferguson was a highly charged interaction between a young man and a police officer, the ACLU’s Williams says that at the root of the Michael Brown shooting — and others like it — is something far deeper, more complex, and pervasive.

"The culture and the history of the United States — and that is a difficult and unresolved history of racial oppression," he said.

Jackson points to disparities here in Boston between black men and their white counterparts when it comes to everything from high school graduation rates to employment rates.

"In the richest part of Back Bay, versus the poorest part of Roxbury, there is over a 31-year disparity in life expectancy at birth for males," he said. "That’s where we start."

And make no mistake, says Jackson — events in Ferguson are just the latest reminder that here in Boston, it’s time to start.

"These are real issues that are not just issues of the black community, they’re not only issues of the Latino community, they are issues of the city of Boston, the state of Massachusetts and the United States of America," he said. "And the only way we are able to actually address this and overcome it is if we all have this conversation, and in fact if we have conversations in rooms that actually I’m never going to be in."

And as Jackson points out, Boston is a majority-minority city, and 60 percent of young men under the age of 19 living in the city are African American or Latino.

"The future of the city of Boston — and I would also submit the future of the United States of America — is very directly connected to what happens to and with young men of color," he said.