NHS focuses its involvement in several neighborhoods on the Missouri side of the Greater Kansas City Area. This list provides the boundaries that define each of these core neighborhoods. Additionally, NHS has completed projects in each of Kansas City’s six council districts.
Neighborhood Housing Services of Kansas City, Inc.
We are collectively saddened by the casual asphyxiation of another Black man face down in the street with white officers continuing to restrain an already cuffed Black suspect. Where is he going? What a way to die, face down, cuffed behind his back, breathing air from between the treads of a dirty tire and the stinking street. Nationally, police departments haven’t learned anything from any of the senseless killings of Black people broadcast publicly over the last seven years, starting with Eric Garner.
We stand with the family of George Floyd and all the families of those lost to institutionalized racism and police brutality as we try to find the balance between grief and rage.
We understand that some may think the protesters are anti American because they demand equal treatment under the law and demonstrate their dissatisfaction with the status quo. We may want to take some time to reflect on what got us here as we try to heal from yet another tragedy.
Civic Worship Disguised as Patriotism.
The worship of the flag was on full display during the aftermath of 911, when for about a year, you saw the parade of police and fire departments positioned before the American flag and worshipped for their duties as first responders. These publicity stunts in the face of the nation’s worst tragedy only bolstered police and fire department unions, placed their service and pay exponentially higher than the average civil servant, and police behavior above the law. For a brief moment, the American flag stood for everything white conservatives wanted and nothing minorities needed like fair treatment under the law.
Police and Fire department pensions were already in trouble, but this was a way to brush all other civic priorities such as health, education, affordable housing, the environment, aside. It also allowed police departments to get away with murder for over 20 years now, as our civic worship raised them beyond accountability. So, it might be fair at this time to issue termination letters to all police officers and let them reapply under new standards, have them sign oaths of office and answer affirmatively to specific questions of service, performance, and behavior. The use of firearms by police should be monitored closer as well and the excuse of not knowing what kind of suspect they are dealing with should no longer be tolerated. Better judgment in the use of Tasers and firearms is demanded as white suspects are not beaten in cuffs or shot in the back for petty suspected crimes. With the volume of wrongful death cases filed against local police departments, the insurance ratings can’t be good for the industry or some of the worst police departments. But guess who pays the bill? Cities have decided to fund police departments more (billions more) for petty crime enforcement and divest in communities of color. So instead of a new school or commercial district, we have a man killed for passing a fake $20.00 bill. The time spent on the arrest was not worth the crime. The police don’t prosecute, because counterfeiting is prosecuted by the Secret Service, not your local police.
We are told police and fire fighters deserve more consideration because of their sacrifice and risks taken, on a daily basis. If we use the same analogy for African Americans, well the United States owes Black people money for slavery, Jim Crow laws, segregated schools, denied jobs, redlining, and the list goes on because all of these things put our lives at risk on a daily basis. Where is the Black citizen’s raise and honor or even the acknowledgement of our economic sacrifice? We don’t see any signs of worship, adoration, praise, or thankfulness around that fact. So, it seems that all the civic worship in the world still leaves African Americans dead in the street. But let’s get one thing clear, there are more bystanders than the citizens with a mobile phone camera. The biggest bystanders of all are the local chambers of commerce that provide tacit approval for the brutal behavior of police treatment of cuffed and surrendered suspects that answer calls for service on their behalf.
Nationally the Chambers of Commerce have a history of standing by and fanning the flames of civic unrest by hiding behind police barricades, policies, and procedures as a right of ownership, just like the 1960’s. During the Civil Rights Movement, local chambers of commerce watched as cities burned and just withdrew investments for greener pastures instead of standing up for the citizens, prior to things getting out of control. These are the same people that made their business opportunities possible through their own taxation and shopping (where and when possible under the law). Its time for the Greater Kansas City Chamber of Commerce and other local business associations to stand on the right side of history and demand change that will benefit local citizen efforts toward social justice. To do anything less would be
aiding a abetting injustice. It is our hope that local business associations led by the Greater Kansas City Chamber of Commerce join with the citizens of Kansas City and stand up for police reform, social justice and equal rights. If you have any questions or comments, please direct them to Turner Pettway, President of Neighborhood Housing Services of Kansas City, Inc., a nonprofit community development organization serving low to moderate- income households throughout the Kansas City metro area.
NHS of KCMO, Inc.
KANSAS CITY, MISSOURI
Marlborough Community Coalition
75th to 87th, Troost to Prospect
Ruskin Heights Homes Association
Bennington to Bristol, Longview to 107th