Kansas City mayor appoints members for Commission on Reparations
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (KCTV) - Mayor Quinton Lucas has established a “Commission on Reparations” to study and make recommendations to the city on reparatory justice for past harms and discriminatory practices against Kansas City’s Black community.
Ordinance # 220966, sponsored by Councilmember Melissa Robinson, states it is “expressing apologies on behalf of the City of Kansas City and declaring the City’s intent to make amends for its participation in the sanctioning of the enslavement of Black people and any historical enforcement of segregation and accompanying discriminatory practices against Black citizens of Kansas City, encouraging others to join the City in this effort, and establishing a commission within 90 days to be known as the Mayor’s Commission on Reparations to advise the City regarding reparation issues.”
The committee member appointees are:
- Terri Barnes, Chair, Non-Profit Leader and President, the Nia Project
- Linwood Tauheed, Associate Professor of Economics, UMKC
- Cornell Ellis, Educator and Founder of Brothers Liberating Our Communities (BLOC)
- Dionne King, Consultant, DMK Consults
- Madison Lyman, Student, Lincoln College Preparatory Academy
- Ryan Sorrell, Journalist and Founder of the KC Defender
- Kenneth Ford, Author, Descendent Freedman Alliance (DFA)
- Fritz Riesmeyer, Partner, Seigfreid Bingham
- Bridgette Jones, Physician and Professor of Pediatrics, University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Medicine
- Kelli Hearn, Housing Leader, Program Officer at LISC Greater Kansas City
- Will Bowles, Advocate, Kansas City Black United Front
- Danise Hartsfield, Executive Director, Communities Creating Opportunities
- Ajia Morris, Urban Developer and Cofounder, Greenline Initiative
- Ex-Officio Mickey Dean, Kansas City Reparations Coalition
- Ex-Officio Ester Holzendorf, Kansas City Reparations Coalition
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Lucas is one of 11 U.S. mayors who promised in the Summer of 2021 to establish a pilot program for slave reparations in order to counter the racial wealth gap in Kansas City and across the country.
The Urban League of Greater Kansas City last month called on city officials to follow through on proposed reparations, noting several major wealth discrepancies between white and Black Kansas Citians. The Kansas City Star covered those calls by the Urban League and noted that:
- Black median household income is 62.9 percent when compared to White household income
- Black home ownership rate is 56 percent when compared to White home ownership rate
- Black people in the greater Kansas City area are unemployed at rates between 1.5 to 2 times higher than white people
- Black children in greater Kansas City are two to three times more likely than white children to live in poverty or live in a household without a parent in the labor force
- In Jackson County, Black children are three times more likely than white students to be suspended from school for 10 or more days
- Seventy-two percent of murder victims are Black while 20 percent of murder victims are white
Full text of the ordinance can be found here.
“Proposals should focus on five impact areas, including housing (homeownership and affordable housing), economic development, health, education, and criminal justice,” the ordinance states. “The Commission should include members who understand and are sensitive to the needs of the Black community.”
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