City summit conference at KC advocates for reparations

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Gwen Grant, President and CEO of the Urban League of Greater Kansas City, presents statistics showing the economic disparities between blacks and whites in Kansas City.

Kansas City Star

When Gwen Grant examines the socio-economic gaps between blacks and whites in the Kansas City area, she feels troubled.

“At first glance, you might think, ‘Are we ever going to be able to make a difference?’ Grant said. “But you also have to see these numbers as an opportunity for our community to come together and think or re-imagine how we’re going to bridge those gaps.”

Grant, President and CEO of Greater Kansas City Urban League, shared statistics on Saturday at the 14th Annual Urban Summit in Kansas City Metropolitan Community College. The data was presented in the Black / White Equality Index 2020.

Over 100 people attended the conference.

Some of the disparities highlighted in the equality index include:

  • The median income of black households is 62.9% compared to the income of white households
  • Black homeownership rate is 56% compared to white homeownership rate
  • Blacks in the greater Kansas City area are unemployed at rates 1.5 to 2 times higher than whites
  • 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 with no working parents
  • In Jackson County, black children three times more likely than white students to be suspended from school for 10 days or more
  • Seventy-two percent of murder victims are black while 20% of murder victims are white

“Our efforts to achieve equality in the economy, education, health and social justice face powerful forces of resistance that hamper our ability to sustain the movement forward, especially in the areas of economy and social justice, ”Grant said in a statement announcing the findings. .

Grant said she would present the report’s findings to the municipal council. She hopes officials will use this information to influence their decision-making. Grant believes the efforts so far are not enough to close the gap.

“These policies are inadequate to fully address the systemic and pervasive nature of these problems,” Grant said. “So something much more radical needs to be done.”

The urban summit conference included discussions on reparations, where the government – at the federal or local level – would adopt policies aimed at closing the wealth gap and other disparities, which were created by centuries of anti-racism. -black, including slavery, Jim Crow laws and redlining.

“While unpopular to some, the financial and political tools needed to close the racial wealth gap can take the form of federal, state and local reparations for African Americans,” said Ajamu Webster, president of the annual conference. of the Urban Summit and CEO of DuBois Consultants. “This is what restorative justice looks like. ”

Grant is uncertain whether the repairs will be adopted locally. But if they aren’t at first, that won’t stop it.

“All I can say is we’re going to fight for these things,” Grant said. “We’re going to have a plan and we’re going to talk about what we can do. We know it’s not a sprint for me.

Over the summer, Mayor Quinton Lucas’s office said it was exploring how repairs might work in Kansas City.

This story was originally published 6 November 2021 3:03 pm.

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