KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Earlier this year , a group of community leaders and activists gathered at a Kansas City, Missouri barbershop to discuss solutions to the issues holding Kansas City back.
41 Action News anchor Kevin Holmes recently expanded that conversation with a group of eight women at a Brookside restaurant.
In a story airing at 10 p.m. on Monday, Nov. 19, Holmes and the groupexplored how Kansas City can turn the corner on conflict resolution and growing the next generation of leaders.
Question: How does the problem (crime) differ in your estimate when you cross the state line?
Melissa Robinson, KCPS School Board President: “Oh, it’s different."
Jean Peters Baker, Jackson County, Missouri Prosecutor: “I’ve had to retrain myself when watching the news and I’m hearing crime ‘X’ happened or some crime victim might be on the news and I watch, and say, ‘Oh Wyandotte,’ so I don’t have to watch anymore. I had to retrain myself to not do that, because we’re so much more connected than that.”
Rosilyn Temple, KC Mothers In Charge: “The services are so much easier for you to go over to Wyandotte County and get housing or different services. They’re quicker. [In Missouri)], it’s just a long wait.”
Robinson: “The services seem more compact for some reason.”
Peters Baker: “I constantly give a conversation, a speech about thinking about crime victims from a regional standpoint. If you live in Overland Park, but you travel somewhere, you don’t tell people, 'I’m from Overland Park, Kansas.' You tell them 'I’m from Kansas City.' Because that’s where you’re from. That’s what your identity is.”
Robinson: “We’re always Kansas City nice and we’re scared to talk of racism that persists, segregation that still persists, and the fact that we are not achieving because we continue to have those divides.”
Members of this group say what both sides of the state line *can* do is work to make counseling a norm and not a taboo. And trauma knows no zip code. It impacts us all one way or another.
Raquel Garcia, Community Health Education Nurse: “We lack services first of all in Kansas City, but the stigma around mental health keeps people from going to get services.”
Alissia Canady, Kansas City Councilwoman: “You gave the perfect example of trauma. It’s not, 'What’s wrong with you, it’s what happened to you?”'
Captain Kari Thompson, Kansas City (MO) Police: “Many of your viewers are watching this, and they’re doing nothing. You are neglectful to your city. Oh, the crime is not happening in my neighborhood. I live in this county or that county and I don’t have that problem that you have. This is your city. How dare you! Am I my brother’s keeper? Absolutely.”
Question: Are you guys concerned for the next crop of women with that absence of community?
Shay Moore, HOT 103 Jamz Radio Host: “It does concern me. The boundaries are not there for themselves.”
Gina English, KCPD Social Service Coordinator: “We recognize youth are our future. What kind of future do you want? Your level of investment will be what proves what the future is going to be.”
Peters Baker: “I maybe have a different perspective about that. I’m excited about the next generation to come. I don’t see a loss of community; I see a strong community, but a community that’s been grappling with some heavy, heavy stuff.”
Question: What can we all do in this room, and the folks seeing this on television; What can we do, to do more than talk the talk? How can we walk the walk?
Garcia: “One of the biggest things I can do in my role is build trust. If that means making myself vulnerable and giving my personal story to build that trust, so be it, but you also have to be innovative with the way we bring education to them.”
Capt. Thompson: “Until that happens, I’m just here to do my job. To take your son, your daughter, your granddaughter to jail. Or unfortunately meet them at a scene where they are deceased. It’s up to you Kansas City.”
Peters Baker: “I do know that violence is preventable. It’s more preventable than the flu and the health department doesn’t give up because people get the flu every year. And it keeps coming back.”
Resources are available for people needing help or looking to make a difference. In addition to a comprehensive list of resources as part of SafeKC , the Jackson County Prosecutor's office maintains a listing of services for both victims and witnesses.
Several locations across the metro
also offer behavioral health services.