KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Its been a violent end of the week in Kansas City. Mayor Quinton Lucas says the thing he wants to focus on while in office — reducing violence.
“I’m proud to be the mayor of this city, but frankly I’m ashamed of the violence we’re seeing on the streets right now,” Mayor Quinton Lucas said.
He’s talking about the three homicides in Kansas City in his first three days in office. The latest happening Saturday evening at 55th and Agnus. Police found a man in his mid-20s shot to death.
“It’s disappointing and probably the saddest part, it’s not surprising and it needs to be,” Lucas said.
Lucas said the first step for change is getting more people to value human life.
“If we can start getting people to care, if we start telling people that you can be something that there’s a reason to get through school, there’s a reason to get a job, go do it, then, we’ll be in a much better place,” Lucas said.
The “One Heart Project” is working to do just that and taking action to stop the violence long before it starts getting kids doing something productive through a new job coaching program.
“It’s teaching me to be independent,” 14-year-old Payton Edmonds said.
Over the next six months, 17 at-risk or low-income kids will learn the basics of different career path. The first one covered the ins and outs of the transportation industry.
“They’ll get a kit that they can take home,” One Heart Project Executive Director Jim Clark said. “So if they want to go make money immediately they can do that and start their own business and they’re going to learn the benefit of just work.”
The mayor says these kinds of programs help, but it’s only the beginning of what needs to be done to change the current climate.
“Whatever we can do to start investing in real ways to let people know there is some value in what people are doing and their existence that’s the way we do it,” Lucas said. “And that makes you a lot less likely to pick up your gun and shoot into a crowd.”
Lucas said he also plans in his office to hire a former prosecutor, and introduce a gun buy-back program offering cash for guns to reduce the number of firearms on the streets.