For 60 years, Freedom Inc. has been a political force in Kansas City’s African American community. A Freedom Inc endorsement has helped open the door for most of the city’s Black elected officials and along the way has been the impetus to many political firsts including the city’s first Black Black Mayor Emanuel Cleaver.
The organization continued its anniversary celebration last weekend with an anniversary brunch held Sat., July 23 at the Hotel Kansas City. A sell out crowd of more than 200 political movers and shakers gathered for the event.
Freedom Inc was founded in April 1962 by political activists Bruce Watkins, Howard Maupin, Charles Moore, Fred Curls and Leon Jordan. It was “created to politically inform the African-American community, develop African-American candidates for political office, and mobilize the vote in Kansas City, Missouri.”
Earlier in the spring, the organization held another gathering that paid tribute to the founders of the organization and to present a number of Legacy Awards to individuals and organizations who have helped keep the mission of Freedom Inc, alive. AT the brunch, the focus was more on Freedom’s announced endorsements for the August primaries with many of those endorsed attending the event.
At the brunch, Freedom Inc. presented Champion Awards to Bridgette Williams, executive director and CEO of Heavy Constructors Association and Eric Wesson, Sr., publisher and editor of the KC Call.
The keynote speaker for the brunch was Congressman Al Green, who represents the 9th Congressional District in Houston, TX. Green delivered an informative speech on important bills introduced in Congress that African Americans need to be aware of and support. The bills include:
HR517 – Designating Aug. 20 as “Slavery Remembrance Day.” The purpose of the day would be to “commemorate the lives of all enslaved people while also condemning the act and perpetuation of slavery in the United States of America and across the world.” The bill introduced by Clay designates Aug. 20 because the first slaves arrived in the United States on Aug. 20, 1619.
“To prevent the evils of slavery from being repeated,” said Green, “we must always remember.”
HR166 – The Fair Lending for All Act makes it a crime to discriminate against any person, with respect to any aspect of a credit transaction on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, sex, sexual orientation, marital status or age. The bill sets the punishment for any individual who violates the bill as a find of up to $50,000 and/or imprisonment for up to one year.
H.R. 920 – Calling on the Senate to remove the name of Richard B. Russell from the Russell Senate Office Building. Russell “was the consummate bigot and ultimate racist,” said Green. Russell, a Georgian who served in the Senate for 40 years, for decades was the leader of Southern opposition to the civil rights movement.
H.R. 919 – Establishing a cabinet-level Department of Reconciliation charged with eliminating racism and invidious discrimination. Addressing racism in America will require a more dedicated and organized effort, said Green “We can not do it arbitrarily. We’ve tried that; it’s not working,” said Green. “Just like we have a Department of Commerce, Defense and Labor, we ought to have a department to bring this country together around racism.”