One of Kansas City’s most powerful coalitions of advocates and activists is inviting the community to help address the needs and issues in the urban core. On Sat., Nov. 6, the Urban Summit will sponsor their annual conference at Penn Valley Community College, 3201 Southwest Trafficway.

Since 2008, Kansas City’s Urban Summit has led the way for community engagement, activism and change. 

Every Friday at 8:30 a.m., the group of leaders from local organizations including the Urban League of Greater Kansas City, National Black United Front of Kansas City and the Southern Christian Leadership Conference of Greater Kansas City, hold a meeting bringing in elected officials and other guest speakers who address issues such as recent topics on mental health in the African-American community, voting and local legislation, crime, racism in schools and affordable housing. 

Elected officials including Missouri State Rep. Emanuel Cleaver, Mayor Quinton Lucas, Councilwoman Melissa Robinson and Councilman Brandon Ellington have all appeared at the weekly meetings where individuals in attendance dig deep into these issues and work to find solutions to improve the quality of life of Black Kansas Cititans.

As a result of the Urban Summit’s work, the group launched and maintained several effective prison release programs, including the Twelfth Street Heritage Prison-to-Workforce Pipeline program, and partnered with organizations to help get the ⅛ cent sales tax for community economic development projects along Prospect Avenue passed in 2017. 

This year, the Urban Summit conference will take place both in person and virtual, with workshops and seminars focusing around how to improve the future of Kansas City’s Black community.

“In the midst of a pandemic, it is important the community comes together to focus on economic development particularly in the African-American community,” said Urban Summit founder Bishop James Tindall Sr. “As we convene another Urban Summit Conference, we must emerge with goals and strategies to achieve equity for our community.”

This year’s conference will focus on the theme “Is Equity Enough?” with keynote speaker Kamm Howard, national co-chair for the National Coalition of Blacks for Reparations in America discussing the urgency for equity in the Black community.

Urban League of Greater Kansas City CEO Gwen Grant will also give a presentation on the State of Black Kansas City, an annual report that provides an in-depth look into the disparities between Black and White Kansas Citians. The report includes a deep dive into poverty rates, homeownership rates, test score and graduation rates, and homicide and murder victimization rates.

The Urban Summit is also planning to hold a discussion at the conference with local parents and students about the recent racist incidents happening at Kansas City-area schools. Grant hopes the conference can give parents and students a platform to discuss the incidents and for the Urban Council to find ways to support them and hold schools accountable.

Register to attend the 14th Annual Urban Summit Conference here:

Jazzlyn "Jazzie” is the former senior reporter for our team, who joined the company in 2020 in the midst of the pandemic, through the Report for America service program. For the past two years, she covered...

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