KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Kansas City, Missouri, Mayor Quinton Lucas spent Saturday making his rounds at several Juneteenth events across the city.
Lucas is working with 10 other U.S. mayors from big city Los Angeles, California, to small town Tullahassee, Oklahoma, to pay reparations for slavery to African-Americans in their cities.
“It’s not taking already existing, lets say tax dollars in Kansas City to spend them on a whole bunch of folks," Lucas said. "Instead it’s saying as money is coming into the cities, particularly through federal programs and federal grants, how do we make sure we’re doing it and spending it in places where it can make the biggest and longest term impacts."
The reparations in each city could look different, but all 11 mayors are committed to turning words into actions.
The effort comes as Juneteenth, the day marking the end of slavery in the U.S., is now recognized as a federal holiday.
“I think more than anything, we say that we did wrong, and we can do better in every city in America, we can do better," Lucas said.
Since 1989, lawmakers in Congress introduced a bill that would form a commission to study and develop reparations proposals, but it's never passed.
In 2020, California became the first state to set up its own reparations commission.
Now, the group dubbed MORE, are working to move things along.
“We’ve all committed to making sure that we support the house resolution and also making sure that we actually are working together to see if money comes, how do you have similar ideas for how you can help your community," Lucas said.
For Kansas City, Lucas told 41 Action News that reparations would look more like investments and not individual checks to certain groups.
The group of mayors will convene in the near future to discuss next steps, according to Lucas.