Mayor Lucas Appoints The Mayor’s Commission On Reparations

On Monday, May 1, Mayor Quinton Lucas appointted a commission to weigh the possibilities of what reparations for Kansas Citians.

Pursuant to Ordinance 220966, Kansas City Mayor Quinton Lucas today announced the appointment of members to serve on the Mayor’s 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. In January, Kansas City Council voted to establish the 13-person Mayor’s Commission on Reparations.

“Building a better community for all requires our City to address past wrongs, ongoing patterns of discrimination, and tools by which we may create equal opportunity for all Kansas Citians,” said Mayor Lucas. “I thank the members of the Mayor’s Commission on Reparations for engaging in the important review and work essential in providing a template for City Council, Kansas City businesses, and our entire community for how we can support long-term equitable growth for all parts of Greater Kansas City.”

Reparations Commission Appointees:

• 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 MissouriKansas 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.

The movement for cities to provide reparations to African American residents for decades of racially discriminatory policies and practices has gained momentum this spring. In cities such as St. Louis; Evanston, Illinois; Providence, Rhode Island; St. Paul, Minnesota; Asheville, North Carolina; and Berkeley, California, reparations programs have taken shape over the past year and are now moving into new phases.

St. Louis Mayor Tishaura Jones signed a bill allowing taxpayers to voluntarily donate to a reparations fund. Her administration characterized it as a “first step on a topic that needs careful attention and deliberate, studied implementation.” But when the city’s aldermen advanced the measure, some expressed concern about the lack of detail about who would be eligible to receive the funds or how the application process would work.

Evanston is much further along in the process of disbursing funds from its reparations fund, the first one created and launched. That also means its program is attracting more scrutiny and criticism. Under the program, Black residents who lived in Evanston between 1919 and 1969 are automatically eligible for $25,000 grants to cover mortgages or home repair and upgrade costs. Almost immediately, critics said that the limits on what the money could be spent on made it “fake reparations.”

The Evanston initiative also has come under fire for its limits on who is eligible for the program. Evanston officials say the housing voucher program is just a first step and that the city felt the need to prioritize people who personally experienced past discrimination.

Cities like St. Paul have taken steps to build a bureaucratic system to examine what a reparations package for Black Americans could look like.

After the city apologized for its role in the institutional and structural racism experienced by its Black residents, officials established an advisory committee to create a framework for a reparations commission.

A year later, the advisory committee has released a report recommending direct cash payments to eligible Black residents and the establishment of a permanent reparations committee focused on implementing reparations to address racial disparities in housing, healthcare, education, employment and more.





Kansas City CALL Newspaper Inc