KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Kansas City leaders are trying to determine if the city should start the process of paying reparations for slavery and segregation.
The issue will be up for debate Tuesday when a Kansas City committee will also decide whether an apology is necessary and long overdue.
Kansas City’s Special Committee for Legal Review didn’t take a vote in November on historic ordinance No. 220966 but seems set to Tuesday.
“This would be the first time in research I’ve done that the city of Kansas City would issue an apology for its role in segregation, discrimination, racism and participation in slavery,” ordinance sponsor Kansas City Councilwoman Melissa Robinson said.
That ordinance would also declare the city’s intent to make amends and establish a mayor’s commission on reparations.
At that first discussion, members of the KC Coalition for Reparations expressed support, but the measure had plenty of online detractors.
Some in response to FOX4 coverage said history can’t be changed or fixed; others pointed out no one alive today was involved in slavery. Finally, others were dubious how a system of reparations would work.
In its state of Black Kansas City 2020, the Urban League said reparations could take the form of cash payments, land, tax relief, scholarships, and community development funds.
Robinson said the Mayor’s Commission on Reparations would do a lot of research on ways to support potential federal programs, but she doesn’t want to get ahead of things.
For now, Robinson said she’s concentrating on possibly finally righting an historical wrong.
“When you look at the significance as it relates to dismantling the urban ghetto here in Kansas City, this is really significant and this is really huge because we can look at the disinvestment in this community where we stand today and say yes the city did play a role,” Robinson said.