KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Although the several days of riots following Martin Luther King Jr.'s death left a swath of destruction in Kansas City, several positive things rose from the ashes.
The City Council’s Youth Advisory Council, the Joy Program, the Human Resources Corporation connecting families with social services. And the Social Action Committee of 20 developed a citywide network of youth organizations.
One of the SAC20 founders, Lee Bohannon, interviewed with WDAF on the night of the riots in 1968. Now in his 70s, he’s still organizing the community, now in education. FOX4 caught back up with Bohannon, who said that right now, we have a chance to learn from what happened then.
"When young people began to demonstrate after Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was killed and specifically in Kansas City here, we didn’t listen. Literally, we looked at it like kids, carrying on, saying what they say and it’ll be over tomorrow," Bohannon recalled.
"I just really believe the thing that looks similar today as it did in ’68 before the riots is, young people are making a move to say what they believe is happening and we are not paying attention as we should."
"You see them and there’s no turning back. You see them marching and organizing for themselves. Nobody ever would believe that young people could arrange and organize for themselves a national movement. I just get excited about all of that," Bohannon said.
"They don’t hear enough that what you’re doing not only is making a difference today, but what you’re doing will make a difference for your children. Our children don’t hear that enough."