Alvin Brooks spends much of his time trying to solve the complicate issues behind urban crime.
KANSAS CITY, Missouri - Alvin Brooks spends much of his time trying to solve the
complicate issues behind urban crime.
But his mission in life is simple.
“I think the creator put us on earth for two reasons; to
serve the creator regardless of our faith and to serve each
other,” he said.
Brooks says he has believed this since he was a teenager, when
he first became interested in promoting inter-racial and
He developed an ability to build bridges despite the fact he was
raised during a time of segregation and often times, humiliation
for African Americans.
“The only place you could eat downtown was Kreskey’s
on the alley at 12th and Main,” Brooks remembers. “All
you could get was a hot dog.”
“In the stores, if you tried on a hat, you bought
it,” Brooks said. “If a woman tried on a dress, you
But Brooks never became bitter. Instead he became a police
officer, and a bridge between the African American community and
the segregated police department.
“Now it is a different city, a different American and
lived through that,” Brooks said.
In 1977 Brooks founded the
Ad Hoc Group
Against Crime in response to a wave of 10 women murdered.
Over time, Brooks became a man who got justice for crime
Today, he is a peacemaker for gang members, a counselor to
the grieving parents of teenagers gunned down on Kansas City
He is a tough love advocate for young men in the urban core.
Brooks believes the entire community has a stake in stopping the
plague of homicides in Kansas City. He believes education is the
“What does it cost Missouri, $13,000 a year to keep a
child in public education?” “What is it, $28,000 a year
to keep them in prison?” Brooks said. “It is better to
keep them in school.”
“But what are the first federal and state budget
cuts,” Brooks asks. “Social services and
With a respectful sty and gentle tone, Brooks rose to become a
popular city councilman, a police commissioner, and he narrowly
lost a race for mayor.
Now he is channeling his immense energy back into Ad Hoc, the
group he helped found, to ensure Ad Hoc’s financial
“We try to deliver as much as we can, but we don’t
do as much as we want to because of a lack of funding.”
Brooks says Ad Hoc would not survive without a round the clock
league of volunteers.
“It’s a 24-7 kind of job; it’s not
Friends and supporters gathered at the Downtown Marriott Hotel
Wednesday evening to honor Brooks’ 78th birthday with a
fundraiser to benefit Ad Hoc, raising more than $60,000.
Brooks says he will stay with Ad Hoc as long as he can, and
carry out what he sees as his life mission.
“I will never retire unless my health fails me,”
“Because there is still much to be done and you’ve
only got a short period of time.”