KANSAS CITY, MO. — Kansas City, Missouri, faith leaders went door-to-door spreading a message of peace Wednesday on the block where a man was shot and killed a day earlier.
Their vision that Kansas City could go 21 days without gun violence began over the weekend. But within the first day, a man allegedly killed the mother of his children.
"I had to weep for them because I'm a father," Bishop Frank Douglas, a Southern Christian Leadership Conference of Greater Kansas City board member said, "and so now all I think about this time of the year is how to make men better men."
Rev. Dr. Vernon Howard, president of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference of Greater Kansas City, agreed.
"It speaks to some of the issues that are very core to homicide and violence," Howard said. "It speaks to the need for access to conflict resolution, strategies, counseling and efforts."
Organizations that can provide such services are receiving funding to do so. Jackson County COMBAT is doling out $1.5 million to groups tackling anti-violence issues like youth unemployment and domestic violence, which increased during the pandemic.
The Rose Brooks Center averaged 1,000 calls per month last year from people who sought safety and support. Leaders point to isolation, stress, unemployment and access to weapons as reasons for the rise.
And now with $47,286 being awarded to the center, the funds will help dispatch advocates to hospital across Jackson County.
"To provide life-saving services like safety planning, filing for orders of protection, and conducting survivors in that health care setting with shelter and other community resources," said Lisa Fleming, chief operating officer at Rose Brooks Center.
So far in 2021, Rose Brooks has worked with more than 1,300 survivors who were at-risk of being killed.
"Victims need to be willing to reach out for help," Howard said. "And this is so vitally important, we cannot enforce our way out of this. We cannot arrest ourselves out of this."
Nine domestic violence resource programs will receive funding through Jackson County COMBAT:
- Newhouse, $70,002.
- Hope House, $69,851.
- Youth Guidance, $54,886.
- Metropolitan Organization to Counter Sexual Assault (MOCSA), $49,763.
- Housing Services of KC, $48,274.
- Rose Brooks, $47,286.
- Healing House, $43,624.
- Community Services League, $43,103
- Mattie Rhodes Center, $41,054.