KANSAS CITY, Mo. – All of those people running from Kabul will need some place to go.
Kansas City Mayor Quinton Lucas has thrown open Kansas City’s doors, welcoming displaced refugees. On Monday, Mayor Lucas posted this statement to his social media accounts:
“Kansas City would proudly accept refugees from Afghanistan who have served bravely by our side over the past generation. And, we have space for the many who have not been able to serve, but who seek freedom to learn, vote, work, and have the equal rights our country offers for women and men.”
The question isn’t where or when, but how many Afghan refugees might be headed for Kansas City. In the past, KC has served as host for people running from corrupt politics and violent wars in places such as Syria and Somalia. Now, with the fall of the Afghan capital, as many as 80,000 people will need somewhere to go, as Taliban forces take over their home.
“We are ready,” Ryan Hudnall, executive director with Della Lamb Community Services, said.
Every year, Della Lamb helps hundreds of displaced people find new homes. Hudnall’s staff has ramped up its efforts, making preparations even before Lucas’ call to arms.
“You’ve had to run for your life. you’ve lost everything, and now, you have to go to some place new –completely foreign. new language, new culture. There’s a grieving process that takes place,” Hudnall said. “We want to be a city that’s a city of hope for all. As you think about who we are as a city, this is an opportunity for Kansas City to say to the vulnerable – we see you, and we know you are vulnerable.”
Critics have replied to Mayor Lucas, pointing out the metro’s crisis related to affordable housing, as well as concerns over COVID-19. Hudnall said the pandemic has been an issue while trying to place refugees, amid concerns over their vaccination status.
“Uncertainty often leads to fear. The best of us comes out when we overcome our fear and we see the dignity everyone possesses. That’s my hope. As we see those who are fleeing and who are in need, the best of us will come out,” Hudnall said.