KANSAS CITY, Mo. — It’s a plan designed to fight violence, and now it’s in the hands of the city council.
On Wednesday, the Neighborhood Planning & Development Committee passed KC Blueprint.
The plan is three years in the making, and it’s collaborators say it’s needed now more than ever, as the city’s homicide rate tops 100 for the year.
Marvia Jones, the violence prevention & policy manager at the KC Health Department, presented the plan to the committee.
“What the KC Blueprint really involves that letting people know that we are all accountable, and there is something that all of us can do,” Jones said.
The roughly 60-page document addresses how to fight violence in Kansas City from youth through adulthood through social gateways instead of primarily through law enforcement.
Sixty local organizations contributed to the program with their input. The Kansas City Health Department, Violence Free Kansas City Committee and the Health Commission plan to work with organizations across the city to implement it in a number of sectors including health, faith, education, business and more.
“Us passing this says that the city has a role that isn’t specifically on the law enforcement side,” 3rd District Councilwoman Melissa Robinson said. “That we are doing everything we can to address crime and violence from a comprehensive perspective.”
“I think what my colleagues are doing here is absolutely spot on, and I think we need to move forward with this,” 2nd District at-Large Councilwoman Teresa Loar said.
The blueprint passed unanimously through the committee. There was some question of oversight and effectiveness, but there was no opposition to the plan.
“I’m very pleased, very happy to see support come out of this committee for an approach that has been proved to be effective for violence prevention,” Jones said.
Aishah Coppage lost her 8-year-old son Montell and 9-year-old nephew Jayden to gun violence in 2016. She said KC Blueprint gives her hope for families.
“[It] helps them through this not only psychological but help them figure out what should they do with their anger, what should their grief, what — they don’t know what to do. They’re kids,” Coppage said.
“There is still work to be done,” Robinson said. “The first step is to recognize that we all have a role to play, and the city to adopt the plan so that we can start to work on implementation.”
The Health Department said cities like New Orleans, Minneapolis and Milwaukee have seen success from similar plans. It goes to the city council Thursday, and if approved, it is green-lighted for immediate adoption.