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Kansas City, Missouri, City Council approves formation of Mayor's Commission on Reparations

KCMO city council members
Posted at 4:43 PM, Jan 12, 2023
and last updated 2023-01-12 17:43:49-05

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The Kansas City, Missouri, City Council voted Thursday to approve the formation of a commission to study reparations for Kansas City, Missouri's involvement in the slavery, segregation and discrimination of Black people.

The council voted 10-1 to approve the ordinance.

Councilwoman Heather Hall cast the lone no vote.

The ordinance, sponsored by Councilwoman Melissa Robinson, states the commission will be established within 90 days and Mayor Quinton Lucas will select its 13 members.

Here is the ordinance approved by the council:

"Expressing apologies on behalf of the City of Kansas City and declaring the City’s intent to make amends for its participation in the sanctioning of the enslavement of Black people and any historical enforcement of segregation and accompanying discriminatory practices against Black citizens of Kansas City, encouraging others to join the City in this effort, and establishing a commission within ninety days to be known as the Mayor’s Commission on Reparations to advise the City regarding reparation issues."

The ordinance states the city's support of slavery and segregation-era human rights violations caused large disparities in wealth, health, homeownership, criminal justice and educational outcomes for Black Kansas Citians as opposed to non-Black Kansas Citians.

Among the dozens of examples of the costs and hardships of segregation and discrimination included in the ordinance language are two stark examples of gap in wealth between Black Kansas Citians and non-Black Kansas Citians.

The homeownership rate for Black residents is 43% and for non-Black residents the homeownership rate is 76%.

That low rate of homeownership, according to the ordinance, resulted in a median household net worth for a white Kansas City family is $188,200 and
for Black families the median net worth is $24,100.

The commission's preliminary report will be issued within one year of its first meeting and a final report will come with six months after the preliminary report.