Kansas City man launches initiative to empower Black voters

Akil Hutchins Founder of Just Factz
Posted at 8:42 PM, Sep 03, 2020
and last updated 2020-09-03 22:48:32-04

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — A Kansas City, Missouri, man is spearheading a voter outreach initiative called "Just Factz" after a conversation with his barber.

"If you're familiar with the barbershop, we're always talking about how can we make a change or what are some issues going on in the world?" Jeremy Luna, a barber at the House of Diamonds Hair Lounge at 3402 Troost Avenue, said.

One such conversation Luna recently had with a client sparked a plan to increase voter awareness within the city's African American community.

"I want to make it my business to make sure that that we get our voices heard and that we actually are politically active this year," Just Factz founder Akil Hutchins said.

He came up with the idea after helping VoteKC with an event on 816 Day.

"Restaurants, barber shops, salons, nail salons — whatever you've got — we want to be a part of it," Hutchins said. "Then, we want to be able to make sure that we're making the impact in our communities,."

The House of Diamonds Hair Lounge will be among the first to host an event to register voters, hand out mail-in ballot applications, provide notary services and educate people with a criminal record about their voting rights.

"Just serving the community, this is a good way to give back," House of Diamonds owner Phil Diamond said.

He encourages others to open their doors to Hutchins.

"For small business and Black businesses and everything, I think it's very important that we get the right people in, if we really want change," Diamond said.

Luna is glad he played a small role in what's becoming a big initiative.

"It's quite simple," he said. "A lot of people don't even have the opportunity to find transportation over here, much less transportation to a ballot. The fact that we can possibly bring the ballot to them, that just gives more people the opportunity to vote.

Hutchins said interested businesses can reach him via Instagram. VoteKC also needs volunteers to help staff events in addition to other roles within its voter outreach effort for those interested.

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