KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The man behind one historic name change in Kansas City is working on another.
For the past five years Chris Goode has operated Ruby Jean’s Juicery, what he calls the first health focused restaurant on Kansas City’s East side. It bears the name of Goode’s grandmother.
“We are also here to change the narrative that areas like this can’t support healthy options, we only want fried chicken,” Goode said.
Goode is hoping to make an impact outside of his business starting with the street right in front of him, Troost Avenue or as he calls it “Truth.”
Goode does his best to keep his block clean and has become the first to formally adopt the bus stop at 31st Street and Troost Avenue.
He spearheaded an effort to clean up the historic steps on the Paseo back in 2019, which led to a position on the Parks Board.
“What it turned into I could have never imagined,” Goode said.
He watched the 2020 protests at the J.C. Nichols Fountain over the killing of George Floyd.
“I thought it odd this is our central gathering place for protests, celebrating. But it’s named after someone who really didn’t want to see us combining, gathering, and integrating,” Goode said.
A year after successfully getting the fountain and parkway name changed, he’d resign that board position after the director’s job didn’t go to the interim director, but an instead a white outsider.
“That same work I want to continue into this community just as Chris, a guy from Kansas City that truly cares about Kansas City.”
Which brings us back to “Truth.”
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“I’m working to rename this longstanding redline of Kansas City from Troost that honors Benoit Troost, a well known slave owner, to truth something that’s universal. It’s an uphill battle.”
Goode says he won’t give up “Truth over Troost” efforts, the giant mural outside building says Truth is Freedom.
“The truth is that happened and the truth is we shouldn’t honor him,” he said.
Goode says whether it’s serving up a healthy beverage, picking up trash in impoverished areas, or working to change street or monument names, it’s all about creating a balance and city everyone can be proud of.
“I hope my son can ride down Truth Avenue without the guise or connotation of ‘don’t go there,'” he said.