Communities Creating OPPORTUNITY NOW Agenda—October 18th, 2011, 6:30pm to 8:15pm Yellow highlight=needs revision or update Magenta highlight=program team help cue the audience to participate through applause, sign waving, cheers, standing Red means this is a pin question—commitment question we are asking to those present in the audience or our elected officials or civic leaders. Green highlight means we will reinforce this point with a power point slide or graph. 6:00 pm God’s Power Band will provide transition music.
They will also perform one solo song midway during the program. 6:10 pm Come Together Choirs Start: 1. Congregation/Choir name: Our Lady of Peace Catholic Song selection: “Con Fe” (5min) Number of people in choir: 12-15 2. Congregation/Choir name: St. Peter CME – Song selection: “Let the Glory of the Lord Rise Among Us” (5min) Number of people in choir: 12-15 3. Congregation/Choir name: Ander’s Choir Song selection: “STILL NEED SONG TITLE”? (5min) Number of people in choir: 6 6:30pmLogistics & Recognition of I AM exhibit: (Co-Chairs) * REV.
JOHNSON: Welcome, as you are finding your seats, please make sure you have signed in, have an Opportunity Now sticker! Restrooms can be found in the main lobby to the right. Make sure to turn your cell phones off. Translation headsets are available. * ORLANDO GALLARD0: Tenemos equipos de traduccion en la mesa de registracion. Announces availability of headsets in Spanish. * REV. JOHNSON: CCO cares about the experience of all our people in this United States of America, our Land of Opportunity.
Tavis Smiley presents America I Am: The African American Imprint at Union Station Oct 22 – Jan 8. The exhibit traces the indelible imprint African Americans have made on America. Our stories – some filled with opportunities, others with restriction are inseparable from the story of America itself. The exhibition includes over 300 rare and original objects and artifacts from the 1600s to 2009. * We want to thank Union Station and their director George Guastello for bringing this exhibit to Kansas City and for the incredible hospitality shown to CCO this evening by the Union Station team. :34pm4. Congregation/Choir name: Faith Deliverance Family Worship Center * Song selection: “STILL NEED SONG TITLE”? (5min) * Number of people in choir: 15-20 6:39pmWelcome & Purpose: Co-Chairs (Rev. Jennifer Thomas & Rev. Harold Johnson) * REV JOHNSON: Welcome to the Communities Creating OPPORTUNITY NOW action. I am Rev. Harold Johnson from Faith Deliverance Family Worship Center in Kansas City, Kansas and I am proud to introduce my co-chair Rev. Jennifer Thomas, from Immanuel Lutheran Church in Kansas City, MO.
So what is an African American male, Church of God in Christ minister from Kansas City, KS doing with a Caucasian female Lutheran Minister from Kansas City, Missouri? We believe we together have the ability to solve our own problems by uniting through faith based community organizing. And we are celebrating the victories we have already achieved. We also believe there are far too many concerns keeping our families up at night, especially now, and we are committed to bringing the right people together to create new opportunities through innovative solutions and systemic change. REV JOHNSON: Communities Creating Opportunity is a diverse and thriving community of congregations, community organizations and leaders. We welcome you here this evening! We have a threefold plan for this Opportunity Now community action * First, we come from across the states of Kansas and Missouri and from within our Kansas City Metro to demonstrate that despite our differences in race, creed, income, political orientation and geography, we can create opportunity together. * Second, we come together to present our Opportunity Now agenda.
This agenda was created from listening to over 1,500 people from across the metro and through research meetings with over 200 experts over the past year to find the right solutions to the problems we face. * And third to respect your time and ours, we have carefully invited a limited number of public officials and civic leaders to publically join us and pledge commitments to our Opportunity Now agenda. We have met with all the special guests who have a speaking role this evening and look forward to our continued relationship with them in creating Opportunity for our communities.
While our speakers are limited we ask that all of you participate through applause and cheers. As a faith based organization we also ask that you respect each person here this evening and especially our timekeepers, who are sitting in the front row: Diana _______________ from St. Anthony’s Catholic Church in Northeast, KCMO and Sheila Freeman from Faith Deliverance Family Worship Center in KCK. TIMEKEEPERS STAND UP AND WAVE! * REV THOMAS: Most of all we come together because our metro community is hurting.
Tonight you will hear testimonies and research to attest to the ways our opportunity to thrive has been cut short. As 40 congregations and community organizations making up Communities Creating Opportunity we have already had significant success such as $10 million for home repair, soccer leagues serving 700 kids, zoning ordinances restricting blight and predatory lending practices, children’s health insurance for 11,000 additional kids, and most recently the launching of a new credit option for families that provides short term and small dollar loans called Fair Community Credit.
We celebrate these accomplishments. CCO worked in partnership with the FDIC worked for over two years to launch Fair Community Credit, an alternative product to predatory loans and it is now its own independent entity! Through CCO’s work to support good credit options for Kansas Citians we have captured the attention of Governor Nixon and Treasurer Zwiefel, banks and credit unions, private foundations and individuals. Already nearly quarter of a million has been raised or pledged to support fair credit in Kansas City.
Fair Community Credit is now working with congregations and social service agencies to build a referral network that supports families needing these loans. * Communities Creating Opportunity brings the right people around the table to solve problems and we start within the experience of our people! Let’s celebrate CCO and wave your signs! APPLAUSE * We know it takes a village to raise a child and so it will take our whole metro to raise our people into greater opportunities. Now Rev. Wallace Hartsfield II of Metropolitan Missionary Baptist Church will orient us in a reflection f faith, recognizing the incredible diversity of religious traditions present in this room. 6:45pmReflection of Values: Rev. Wallace Hartsfield II * Hope matters to all our religious traditions. When we discover hope it moves people to… Moses birth gave hope to a people. * Actions of women were most hopeful, they continued to conceive, to help deliver, to nurture and watch grow. * Empowered hope is conceived by a community of people who deliver, nurture, empower. Hope is not something that can happen without compassion.
Some will conceive and deliver, some will nurture. We all have a role. CCO’s role has been to do all of these at different times depending on the people and congregations who step forward like the women in Moses time…. REV. THOMAS: Thank you Rev. Hartsfield. (use language from Rev. Hartsfield’s reflection to make segue) Valorie Bratcher, from St. Mark Hope and Peace and Rev. Artist Taylor and Alesia Drake from True Vine Baptist Church will recognize who is present this evening. 6:50pmCredential & Roll Call: (Rev.
Artist Taylor, Valorie Bratcher, Alesia Drake) * VALORIE BRATCHER: The Kansas City metro is a community historically divided by race, economics, and a state line; yet, whether one is in Kansas or Missouri, Blue Hills or Blue Valley, we are all facing similar barriers to opportunity. Nearly 35 years ago residents joined together in Blue Hills to form CCO, Communities Creating Opportunity, as a vehicle to bring common pain to the forefront so collective dreams could be realized through tangible solutions and systemic change.
CCO now extends the Kansas City metro and is joined by our statewide organization, Missouri Faith Voices and the clergy of the Kansas and Missouri inter-religious roundtables. We are tired of the divisions that restrict us and are ready to unite and tell a new story about Kansas City. * ALESIA DRAKE: Tonight we represent a beautiful spectrum of our community. As we acknowledge you we ask you to quickly stand and wave. If you are an elected public official or staff please stand. We especially want to acknowledge: WHITNEY UPDATE CONFIRMATIONS Locally from Missouri * Mayor Sly James City Council members: Ed Ford, Jan Marcason, Michael Brooks, Cindy Circo, and John Sharp * County Legislator Theresa Garza Ruiz Locally from Kansas * Commissioners: Mark Holland, Nathan Barnes, and Tarence Maddox From the State of Missouri * Representatives: John Rizzo, Jason Kander, Jay Swearingen, and Kevin McManus From the State of Kansas * Secretary of Corrections, Ray Roberts * Gloria Geither from the Department of Corrections * Senator David Haley From our Federal Delegation * Representing Senator Roy Blunt, District Director Matt Haase * Representing Sen.
Claire McCaskill’s office, Regional Director, Corey Dillon * From Representative Emmanuel Cleaver’s office, Kaeanna Woods * VALORIE: We also want to recognize our civic leaders, will you please stand: From Public Safety * Police Chief Darryl Forte * Police commissioner Pat McInerney * Majors Vincent Cannon, Robin Houston, and Anthony Ell * Manager of Neighborhood Services Division, Deletta Dean From Healthcare * Truman Medical Center From Education * President of Kansas City Kansas Community College, Dr.
Doris Givens * Kansas City Missouri School Board President, Airick Leonard West * School Board member, Crispin Rea From Economic Development * President of Kansas City Kansas Chamber of Commerce, Cindy Cash * Steve Roling, President of the Health Care Foundation * Brent Stewart, President of United Way Our Denominational & Faith Based Leaders * Central States Synod, Lutheran Bishop Gerald Mansholt * Kansas Church of God in Christ, Bishop Lemuel F. Thuston * Baptist General Convention of Missouri, Executive Director and President of Missouri Faith Voices, Rev. Dr.
Jim Hill * Co-Chair of our ally MORE 2, Rev. Bobby Love from KS and Councilmember Michael Brooks from MO * CCO President, African Methodist Episcopal, retired Presiding Elder, Joseph Forbes * The Executive Director of our PICO National Network, which represents 1,000 faith communities and 50 sister organizations like CCO who have joined together nationally to unlock the power of people, Scott Reed! * And the founder of CCO, Fr. Norman Rotert! FLYING IN FROM ITALY, SO MAY NOT ARRIVE IN TIME * ALESIA: In community organizing our success depends on the strength of our relationships.
If you or your organization has worked with CCO in the past to accomplish community change or if are working with us now on our Opportunity Agenda please stand and wave. We recognize our special partners here with us tonight on the screen. * ALESIA: If you are a neighborhood resident or came because you want to make a difference please wave your Opportunity Now sign. * REV. TAYLOR: Will all clergy and religious leaders in the room please stand and remain standing. How powerful to see such a large number of spiritual leaders from across the state line coming together to be a prophetic voice and pastoral witness in our communities! DRUM ROLL!!!!!!! (VALORIE COORDINATE WITH DAMON) * ALESIA DRAKE: And lastly and most powerfully, if you are here representing a congregation or community of faith please stand! “Where one or two are gathered there shall I be also. ” (AARON PREPARE CONGREGATION NAMES TO SHARE ON POWER POINT) (THUNDEROUS APPLAUSE! ) * REV. TAYLOR: Tonight, October 18th, is a historic moment. We have come together in a unique way, crossing the barriers that divide us with a vision to create opportunity for all.
Communities Creating Opportunity (CCO) empowers community leaders to challenge the status quo and the systems that maintain it in order to improve the quality of life in their communities. REV. JOHNSON: Our Big Idea Tonight is creating: (rally the crowd with signs) –Economic security through a New Bottom Line for families and neighborhoods (that rebalances people and profits, keeps people in their homes, provides economic security and stops predatory lending) ? Improved health care quality and access for Healthy People & Healthy Places (through greater health care coverage, more efficient health care delivery, and food asis among the deserts) ? Lifelines to Hope (through higher education and job opportunity for all our young people and) Lifelines to Healing through )building safer communities and providing prevention support) * As CCO we don’t gather to complain. We come together proposing solutions. Rabbi Mark Levin from Congregation Beth Torah in Overland Park, KS and Fr. Steve Cook from St. Peter’s Catholic Church in Kansas City, Missouri will present the Opportunity Now covenant we are asking all present to support. 7:00pmCovenant for KC Metro Families: (Fr.
Steve Cook & Rabbi Mark Levin) * RABBI LEVIN: In Jewish tradition there’s a midrash, a story, that first century rabbi Joshua ben Levi asked the prophet Elijah, “When will the messiah come? ” Elijah replied, “Go and ask him; he’s binding the wounds of lepers at the gates of Rome. ” “And how shall I recognize him? ” asked the rabbi. “He sits among the wretched who are laden with sicknesses; he uncovers and binds their wounds, each one separately, for he thinks, ‘Lest I should be summoned to appear and be detained. I want to be ready at any moment. ” * Then Joshua ben Levi went to find the messiah, and said to him, “Peace be with you, Master and Rabbi. ” “Peace be with you, son of Levi,” came the response. The rabbi asked, “When is the Master coming? ” The messiah replied, “Today. ” * Then Rabbi Joshua returned to the prophet Elijah, “What did the messiah say to you? ” “He spoke falsely to me,” said the rabbi. “What did he say? ” asked Elijah. “I asked when he would come, and he replied, ‘today,’ and he did not. ” Then Elijah replied, “He was quoting from psalms, 95:7, which tells us, ‘Today, if you will hearken to my voice. ” * So it is with us, we await the messiah, but we are not willing to bring the messiah, binding the wounds of our ill, providing for them the care that they need. * FATHER COOK: A covenant is a coming together of God’s people across difference, beyond divide. We practice this regularly in the work of our people during liturgy or religious services. God has made a covenant with us as God’s people. In my tradition of Catholicism we come together in liturgy around a table as a sign of the covenant that we have with God. Because this table is built out of the wood of the cross we believe this table is big enough for everyone to ave a place. * FATHER COOK: (NEW BOTTOM LINE) Payday loans and foreclosures are creating economic crisis and restriction for individuals and families. In conjunction with community and religious institutions, the private sector and government need to do everything they can to promote economic security for individuals and families. Payday loans and foreclosures are sending people away from the table and restricting us from God given opportunity. We need a new bottom line, one that is not about profits first and people last, but a bottom line that invites all to the table. RABBI LEVIN: (HEALTHY PEOPLE, HEALTHY PLACES) Our eyes can be opened to bringing the Messiah today if we recognize that we live in a land of abundance and of opportunity where all people can and ought to have access to health care and healthy foods. We are responsible for the inefficient health care systems and profiteering of insurance companies that redline some of us if we have pre-existing conditions or others because we are unemployed. Just as the messiah binds wounds, so society must provide the life saving doctors that can salve our wounds for all, regardless of ability to pay. We need healthy people and healthy places! RABBI LEVIN: (LIFELINES TO HOPE ;amp; HEALING) We want to create lifelines to hope. All youth who have grown up in this country should have access to quality higher education so they can give back to America, no matter their documentation status. We must hearken and not wait for the Messiah to come to create lifelines to healing. * FATHER COOK: We are asking our metro community to enter into a covenant. It too can be seen as a table, one with four legs, each represented here: (1) families and individuals, (2) community and religious institutions, (3) the private sector, and (4) the government.
These legs support a table that should have room enough for all of us to find a place. Unfortunately due to decisions made by some of these legs, our table is teetering. We have an opportunity now to enter into a covenant with our metro community that will strengthen families and individuals – providing a firm, steady table, big enough for everyone to gather around. * FATHER COOK: We seek the following commitments to advance our Opportunity Now Covenant from those who have the power or influence to affect the change we are seeking.
Our Opportunity Now Covenant is an agreement that: We can create a NEW Bottom Line that: * Creates family economic security through jobs and capping the rate on predatory products. * Serves our community’s credit needs through public investments, and * Keeps people in their homes through stopping preventable foreclosures. RABBI LEVIN: We want to live in a community of Healthy People and Healthy Places where: * We have efficient health care delivery that reduces costs and increases health care quality and coverage, and * Our food deserts are transformed through full service grocery delivery.
FATHER COOK: We care about building Lifelines to Hope and Healing through: * Championing Safe Communities and Violence prevention programs, * Keeping ex-offenders on the right track and out for life, * Reducing the mass incarceration of people of color and creating pathways to citizenship for immigrant communities, and * Ensuring equal access to quality education for all. 7:06pmREV. THOMAS: Is that a covenant you want to see birthed? APPLAUSE ;amp; SIGN WAVING We listen to the concerns keeping our families up at night.
In a true American spirit we are motivated to solve our own problem and deliver solutions to decision makers. Leaders from Kansas City’s congregations and community organizations developed the Opportunity Now agenda you just heard. In just a minute you will hear three things: 1) the research we’ve conducted, 2) the stories from our people, and 3) the solutions we are seeking. We know that to raise a leader like Moses a whole community was involved. Our spirit of inner-dependence drives us to seek out support from our public officials and civic leaders.
We recognized you earlier tonight. We need each of you to help us nurture and empower a Kansas City that stands for opportunity and goes beyond surviving to thriving! But first, let’s see why residents from across metro Kansas City have already committed to the Opportunity Now agenda! VIDEO—I COMMIT TO OPPORTUNITY NOW! REV. THOMAS: We need a New Bottom Line for families that doesn’t end with our families being the ATM for payday lenders. Am I right? (WAVE NEW BOTTOM LINE SIGNS). And now Fr. David Altschul from St.
Mary of Egypt Orthodox Church on Troost Avenue in KCMO, John Miller from Platte Woods United Methodist in Platte County, MO, and Elliott Clark from St. Therese Little Flower in the 64130 zip code will present our research, solutions, and stories of opportunity and restriction which comprise our New Bottom Line campaign. 7:15pmNEW BOTTOM LINE: FR. DAVID: From 1954 to 2004 there has been a stigma around Troost Avenue as the Racial Dividing line in Kansas City. Deliberate disinvestment from banks, real estate, and insurance industries extracted significant resources from the people and land east of Troost.
We had hoped that this was changing. Yet then we researched two years ago with the Center for Responsible Lending that $26 million has been extracted every year from the Kansas City area by the pay day loan industry. Hardest hit? The African American community east of Troost. Most pay day loan companies line Troost and Independence Avenues. Once again, Troost had become a dividing line—this time about economics. Yet over the past years and especially now with the economic downturn, this predatory sickness has engulfed the entire metroplex.
As unemployment and hard times have hit suburban and rural areas, so has this equal opportunity pariah. For over a decade CCO has led delegations of faith leaders along with our denominational partners to Jefferson City appealing to our legislators to bring forth real reform. Although the average interest rate is an unbelievable 445% APR, the legal ceiling is 1950%. The Federal Deposit Insurance Commission and CCO believe that anything over 36% is usury and legalized loansharking. Do you?
This past year there were five efforts for “payday reform” and guess what that reform meant when we took out our calculators to pierce through the smoke and mirrors? Our elected representatives were “reforming” by lowering the rate to 1500%!! Enough is enough!!! Our legislature is broken on this issue because the payday lobby being one of the biggest. They buy votes on both sides of the aisle. In November 2012, with your help, we are sponsoring a ballot initiative that will cap the legal interest rate in the state of Missouri at 36%.
This is the same rate that currently our military personnel have as an interest cap. CCO worked with Congressman Graves to get this protection for military families and now we want to do the same for ALL our families! Faith leaders from across the state have spoken clearly. The pay day loan exploitation is coming to a close. This is a moral issue, even though it has been framed as a political issue by some legislators. Jesus, Moses, and Mohammed all spoke against unjust lending practices. In the words of an early Christian leader, St.
Basil the Great, ” “In Truth, it is the height of inhumanity that those who do not have enough even for basic necessities should be compelled to seek a loan in order to survive, while others, not being satisfied with the return of the principal, should turn the misfortune of the poor to their own advantage and reap a bountiful harvest. ” Tonight we are also hear to address the predatory and wealth stripping practice of foreclosures. In 2010 there were 18,200 foreclosures in the metro KC area (according to Realty Trac). Our research shows that the total current costs of foreclosures is $85,094 on the average.
In some of our Kansas City metro neighborhoods one in four homes are foreclosed, boarded and abandoned. The cost to our community is $19,227 lost to our local government and school districts for each home foreclosed, and $8,667 property decrease for neighbors for each foreclosed home on your block, not to mention the wealth drain of the family losing their home. The contradiction is that foreclosure prevention costs only $3,300 per household, substantially less than the nearly $85,094. You can find CCO’s Home Loan Modification as Key to Economic Recovery report on our website.
Through the still rampant foreclosure crisis we lose neighbors and gain blight. $1. 6 billion was lost to Kansas City and this area due to the foreclosures last year. In Missouri, a family can lose their home in 38 days with only a letter! To make matters worse, our national banks loaned over $3 billion during the same period (2010) to help finance the payday loan industry! In addition, nationally they sit on historic cash reserves of $1. 7 trillion, yet often neglect to modify mortgages or write down principal. Indeed, in this period of economic difficulties, $12. trillion has gone to banks to help them stay solvent, while only $600 million has gone to consumers. Is there a solution? 1. We can call for Responsible Banking Ordinances: e. g. Our cities would not put our tax payer money in banks that provide credit to predatory lenders. Responsible Banking Ordinances call on banks to reinvest in low and moderate income communities and communities of color. In Cleveland, Ohio they established an ordinance in 1991 and since it has leveraged over $10 billion in investments for small businesses, more homes and more jobs. 2.
We can follow the sound decisions of many other states in setting up Automatic Mediation. This is where lenders sit down face to face with homeowners to discuss modifications before foreclosures. Nationally this has saved 45% of homes from foreclosure and 72% in Philadelphia! If 45% of homes could be saved in Kansas City, 8,000 people could still be our neighbors, saving the community $700 million dollars! By working together, people of faith and good will across the states of Missouri and Kansas, can morally demand a return to ethical banking and investment.
By putting people first, we will begin creating a new bottom line. * JOHN MILLER: I’d like to tell you about a friend of mine and the impact of predatory, payday lending on his life, as well as the subsequent impact on my life. My friend had a secret; he gambled, and he became addicted to gambling. He first gambled away his savings, but then the payday loan industry stepped forward, and that industry’s endless stream of loans, rollovers, and sky-high interest charges allowed him to lose much more than his savings.
That stream of deep, seemingly insurmountable debt ultimately led my friend into the darkest night of the soul, where he finally saw no solution but ending his life. * When I saw what happened to my friend, as I learned of the wealth drain created by the payday industry among those most vulnerable in our community, and as I drove every day by the ever-growing line of payday loan shops in my neighborhood of _______, I committed to honoring my friend’s memory and doing whatever I could to stop the debt spiral, and to stop it now.
I learned that CCO already was carrying the banner in the fight for economic justice for those who have no voice, and I’ve stepped forward to join the cause. I now ask you to join in that cause, and join us at the one place where we can speak with a single voice, and that’s at the ballot box, because in November, 2012, we will vote to cap Missouri’s lending rate at 36 percent, end predatory lending, and stop economic slavery in our community and our state. I ask you to help CCO and Missourians for Responsible Lending statewide in the campaign to cap the rate.
ELLIOTT: I am a proud father of three beautiful girls, and a United States marine. My wife Aquila and I have worked hard all of our lives to buy a home and send our girls to college. When my wife broke her ankle a few years back, all that we have worked for was put in jeopardy. While my wife couldn’t work, we took out payday loans to pay the bills, and the high interest rates on those loans trapped us in three years of debt. We took out $____ in loans and paid $______ over this period and lost our home. This is a difficult story to tell.
Nobody wants to let people know that they are caught in this debt trap. But I share this story because this is not just about me as an individual. You are hearing only my voice now, but I am speaking for the thousands of Kansas City families who are silent every year. I speak for those who are afraid to share the pain of the payday debt trap, because if I don’t we are all going to suffer. WE all suffer when payday lenders drain $26 million from our families this year. We cannot allow this silent suffering to continue. We must work together to do what the state legislature in Missouri refuses to do.
As a faith community, we are leading an initiative petition drive to cap interest rates on payday products at 36% APR. WE NEED YOUR HELP. Of the 119,000 signatures we must gather throughout the state to put this issue to a vote of the people in November 2012, we ask that each of you gather 36 signatures–36 signatures for 36%. 36 signatures for my family, 36 signatures for the family of John’s friend, 36 signatures for all of those families who are silent and do not share the pain of the payday debt trap. We gather signatures for them. On the card in your rogram, I urge you to check the box and commit to gather 36 signatures in Missouri to cap the rate on predatory loans. REV. THOMAS: Will all Kansas City Councilmembers, and all Unified Government of Wyandotte County Commissioners and all Missouri state legislators join us on stage? Thank you Elliot for sharing your story and the solution of a ballot initiative to Cap the Rate! You need to be a Missouri resident to sign the petition, but not to gather signatures. Will all the petitioners who will be gathering signatures at the close of our event please stand and wave?
We invite you to join with us through your participation and support by adding your name to the list of us who know that triple digit interest rates is loan sharking and usury! And now, Alesia Drake and Rev. Stevie Wakes from Olivet Institutional Baptist in Kansas City, Kansas will ask our elected officials to commit with us to create a New Bottom Line for our metro, one that does not disregard people for profits. * ALESIA: The community that my church serves, suffers from predatory lending and vulture investors.
This has opened the door to several abandoned homes, petty theft, and decades of divestment. * Councilwoman Jan Marcason and Councilmembers of the Kansas City, MO city council: : Will you strengthen Kansas City’s current banking criteria, by reject the practice of depositing money in banks with high rates of foreclosure or financial institutions that finance predatory lending, payday lenders or car title lenders. * REV STEVIE WAKES: The issue of reducing predatory practices and increasing investment in my community is very important to me and the community my church serves. Commissioner Mark Holland, Commissioner Nathan Barnes, and other UG Commissioners from Wyandotte County: The City of KCKS has worked on reducing predatory lending in the past by enacting a zoning ordinance that limits payday loan shops from opening up within a 3 mile radius. Today, we ask that you continue the work. Will you strengthen Kansas City’s current banking criteria, by rejecting the practice of depositing money in banks with high rates of foreclosure or financial institutions that finance predatory lending, payday lenders or car title lenders. Clarifying question/point if needed: Will you support not investing in banks with high rates of foreclosure or financial institutions that finance predatory lending, payday lenders or car title lenders? ) * ALESIA: We commend Representative Jason Kader for his work with us in crafting foreclosure prevention legislation last session. Representative Kander and Missouri state Legislators, will you keep people in their homes through recruiting a bipartisan group of legislators to champion comprehensive foreclosure prevention legislation? REV.
THOMAS: Thank you, let’s hear some appreciation for the commitments made tonight toward our New Bottom Line Campaign. (applause—wave New Bottom Line signs) We know that economic vitality affects lives and it even affects how long we live. Now, we will hear about CCO’s work to support Healthy People, and Healthy Places. Will President of Truman Medical John Bluford, regional director for Senator Clarie McCaskill, Corey Dillon, Kansas City councilmembers and City Manager please make your way to the front while we first hear from Carol Thrane, Vice President of CCO’s board and Margaret Pender from St.
Peter CME Church from Wyandotte County, KS will provide our research and testimony. Healthy People, Healthy Places Research —Carol Thrane I want to talk about Life & Death in our Kansas City Metro: * Did you know that your life expectancy changes dramatically depending on what zip code in the Kansas City metro area you live in? A person living in Platte County, where the rate of people living in poverty is 5%, will live five years longer than someone living in the poorest part of Jackson County. A baby born in the 64110 zip code, where the average household income is approximately $34,000, is five times more likely to die in her first year of life than a baby born in a neighboring zip code of 64112 where the average annual income is well over $95,000 per year. * We know through our organizing efforts that where we live matters to our health. We know that in the 2011 Kansas County Health Rankings, Wyandotte County finished last out of 98 counties in factors impacting our health. Factors that include such things as access to healthcare, education, employment and healthy food.
Their closest neighbor, Johnson County, finished No. 1 out of 98 counties in the same health ranking. * Did you know that east of Troost from Independence Avenue to 75th Street there is only one full-service grocery store that sells fresh fruits and vegetables for the tens of thousands of residents who live there? * Did you know that South of the River on the east of Troost Avenue in Kansas City, MO from Independence Avenue to 75th Street there is only one full-service grocery store that sells fresh fruits, vegetables and baked bread for the tens of thousands of residents who live there? In our metro, we are seeing a connection between a lack of doctors who accept Medicaid insurance and the percentage of people who are forced to use the Emergency Room as their source of primary care when they get sick. Margaret Pender Testimony: I’m here today to share my testimony with you on why health care matters to me. In 1993, my husband, Johnny, was diagnosed with COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease). We were told it wouldn’t get better, but worse. He had to retire due to this illness and our insurance premium soared.
With frequent doctor’s visits, hospital stays, emergency room fees, and mounting costs of medications, we became stressed and found ourselves in a state of desperation. Johnny decided to cancel needed doctor’s appointments and did not take his medications as prescribed to eliminate some of our medical expenses. It was almost as if he was making a choice of life or death because in May of 2006 my husband became very ill. His breathing became so labored he could hardly move or talk, but he refused to let me take him to the emergency room because of the anticipated medical expense.
After about 2 hours, it became a “911” situation. I watched Johnny gasp for his breath and could not help him. I watched as the paramedics worked to keep him breathing. Only by the grace of God did he survive. His attempt to not incur any additional medical expenses almost cost him his life. We are both past retirement age. Johnny is working part time at KCPL and I am working at my church. We both love what we do but the bottom line is that our jobs enable us to pay our medical expenses and essentials…mortgage, utilities, food and clothing. We receive Medicare benefits.
Without Medicare, we couldn’t make it. Instead of talking about jobs and revenue, legislators are in D. C. , as we speak, are debating on whether to cut Medicare and Medicaid in the upcoming Super committee. Why does health care matter to me—I love my husband and choose life for him. I want our elected leaders locally and nationally to know their decisions matter to whether Johnny lives or dies. With the help of Medicare, Johnny can receive the medical attention he needs. As he lives, my heart does too. REV. THOMAS: Thank you, Margaret, for your moving testimony.
Do you care about your loved ones having access to quality and affordable health care? If so, wave your Healthy People, Healthy Places signs! Here to share with us the ways we’ve already been partnering with elected officials, and what else we need to do are the Reverends Wallace Hartsfield II and Rev. Rayfield Burns from Metropolitan Missionary Baptist Church. * REV BURNS: TMC (hoping for John Bluford or Dr. Roberts), your hospital has shown great leadership in creating an environment that promotes patient health and safety.
CCO has been working with your team at Truman Medical Center and other local health providers to innovate Kansas City’s health delivery system and better understand the needs of Kansas City’s most vulnerable patients. Will you commit to partnering with CCO to convene area physicians and nurse practitioners in January 2012 to develop a bi-state, community based solution that will improve access and quality of care, as well as reduce Emergency Room visits and hospital readmissions? * (Clarifying question as needed: Mr.
Bluford, we recognize we are lucky to have you in our Kansas City community, as the President of the Hospital Association nationally, you have great influence. We are asking you to use this influence and lead the way. We will do our part to bring stakeholders to the table as well. ) * REV. WALLACE HARTSFIELD II: We know that the health of our people depends just as much, if not more, on healthy living as it does on health care provision. The problem is: how do we eat healthy food when the only options are fast food and convenient stores?
How do we access fruits and vegetables when the bus from my church’s neighborhood takes 51 minutes to get to the nearest full service grocery store? Prevention of illness happens when we have access to choices that taste good and are good for us. We applaud Truman Medical Center for responding to our cry by using their Community Benefit dollars to support the development of a healthy foods center. We applaud the City Manager, Troy Schulte, for allocating $200,000 toward the comprehensive development plan for a full service grocery delivery on the Linwood and Prospect corridors. As City Manager, Troy Schulte, will you commit to working with us to go beyond the planning and fund and implement this plan by setting things in motion by the spring of 2012? * (Clarifying question as needed: We recognize a full service grocery store will take public and private commitments. We will work with you to support this and we also need the support of our Kansas City councilmembers here tonight) * REV. WALLACE HARTSFIELD II: City Councilwoman Circo, you were one of the motivating forces for the creation of the food access taskforce and we thank you.
Will you commit to pushing forward a resolution naming food deserts as a top legislative priority for the City Council, supporting the leadership of the Health Commission who recently did so and your colleagues Councilmembers Sharp and Reed? * REV. BURNS: As Margaret said, we are watching what is happening in our local city chambers and the capitol hill of D. C. We need to focus on revenue and jobs and programs that matter to families. We need each our Senators: Moran, Roberts, McCaskill, and Blunt to engage the members of the Super committee to support job creation, revenue solutions and Medicaid, Medicare and Social Security.
We have Regional Director for Senator McCaskill here with us tonight: Corey, will Senator McCaskill communicate with us next week during recess and meet with us before Thanksgiving about the creation of jobs and not cuts to health care? * (Clarifying question as needed: We recognize the Senator has a busy calendar as do we. We will work with you to find a date before Thanksgiving if you will work with us. Can you do this and convey what we’ve dicussed in our Opportunity Now agenda with our Senator? ) REV. JOHNSON: Thank you Healthy People and Healthy Places.
Let’s hear some recognition and applause for the commitments made, wave your signs! WAVE HEALTHY PEOPLE, HEALTHY PLACES SIGNS I care deeply about the longevity and vitality of life. (ONE LINE ABOUT WHY YOU CARE AS PASTOR AND PERSON) CCO’s Lifelines campaign is focused on very local issues identified by our congregations and community organizations across the metro. Our Lifelines to Hope and Healing campaign is working to reduce the mass incarceration of people of color by creating a holistic violence prevention strategy, improving pathways to legal migration, educing recidivism, ensuring equal access to higher education for all, and designing targeted job creation. Ten CCO congregations are working on different parts of our Lifelines campaign and tonight Fr. Ernie Davis, pastor at St. Therese Little Flower, in KCMO, Wendy Medina and Mario, from Our Lady of Peace Catholic Church in Northeast Kansas City, and Sam Jones from Faith Deliverance Family Worship Center in Kansas City, Kansas will address the issues relevant to their congregations. Mayor Sly James, will you please join them on stage at this time?
Lifelines to Hope & Healing Part 1 —Fr. Ernie Davis TESTIMONY * Fr. Ernie gives a couple lines of Testimony on the opportunity & restriction he witnesses in the structures present or not present in Blue Hills. RESEARCH * In our lifelines to hope and healing campaign we are working to reduce the mass incarceration and deportation of people of color by creating holistic violence prevention strategies. * Homicides are preventable! Most of them come from arguments and retaliations from previous violence.
The health costs related to gun violence are $56,000. When intensive case workers intervene, like Aim4Peace here locally, then they can prevent retaliation. Funding for intensive violence and retaliation prevention, such as Chicago’s ceasefire program, decreases crime by 30-40% in neighborhoods. * As you can see in this chart, areas in the heart of the city where the highest rates of violence occur are experiencing population loss, represented by the red dots, while suburbs are seeing large population gains, marked by the blue dots.
As people leave our neighborhoods, less attention is given to stopping the crime that is driving people away. PINS * FR ERNIE: Mayor James, we value your proactivity in convening the Commission on Violent Crime and your presence in our neighborhoods when sacred lives are lost. As witnesses to violent crimes, CCO feels it is urgent to develop a holistic and detailed metro-wide strategy to address violence prevention and public safety. We plan to bring together civic leaders and community partners with the faith community and local residents in order to develop a strategy that works for Kansas City.
No matter how strong our strategy is, if there is no funding to support it, it will not succeed. Will you commit to ensuring violence prevention and public safety are priorities in the city budget so that adequate funding is available to support a strategic plan, and to working with us to securing other funding? * DAVID ROSS: Mayor James, we understand this coming Friday you will discuss the city’s state and federal legislative priorities and you chair this very important committee. Will you follow the leadership of the Health Commission and your appointees, Councilmembers Ford and Rev.
Brooks, in supporting the cap the rate ballot initiative and will you also support mandatory mediation to keep people in their homes? Lifelines to Hope & Healing Part 2 —Wendy Medina and Mario WENDY: * In our lifelines to hope and healing campaign we are working to reduce the mass incarceration and deportation of people of color by creating pathways to legal migration and citizenship for immigrant communities. * In the last 3 years, the Obama administration has detained and deported over one million people, the majority of whom are not criminals as you can see in the chart on the screen.
The blue represents the number of convicted criminals and the red represents our neighbors, fellow parishioners, and community leaders who have committed no crime except seeking a better life for their families without the proper documentation –which, I will remind you, is not a crime, but a CIVIL violation. * We need our local officers to protect us from being persecuted as criminals for CIVIL disobedience and serve us by not tearing our families apart. ?PROTEGANOS Y SERVANOS! * At this time, I’d like to invite Mario to share his testimony with you all.
MARIO – TESTIMONY: * Fishing without a license in Smithville * Detained for ____ days * Emotions felt by family * Released because…(describe all the great things he does in community) WENDY – RESEARCH: * Thank you Mario, your story is a perfect example of how some local officers have begun to act as immigration agents. * In 2008, the Department of Homeland Security Secure Communities is a program implemented by in order to target violent criminals who were in our country unlawfully. Despite their founding purpose, only 23. % of the more than 120,000 people deported through this program were violent criminals. The majority had been charged with misdemeanors or illegal re-entrance. That means over 60,000 families were torn apart for offenses such as driving without a license or returning without authorization to a country where there family currently lives. * Programs such as 287-g and Secure Communities blur the lines between the duties of local law enforcement and federal immigration agencies, making it difficult for the immigrant community to know who they can trust to make our communities safer. Police Chiefs throughout the nation, including former Police Chief Jim Corwin, acknowledge that local officers cannot solve or prevent crimes if victims and witnesses are not willing to come forward with information because they are afraid of being deported. That fear affects the public safety of the entire community when criminals are allowed to stay on the streets because of lack of information or prosecution. WENDY – TESTIMONY:
Two years ago, we started a listening campaign in my Northeast Kansas City, MO neighborhood at Our Lady of Peace and St. Anthony Parishes. Through listening to stories we learned that a lot of our undocumented families were fearful of the police and were scared to report being victims of crimes because they didn’t want to be deported. Because of rumors and recent anti-immigrant legislations that had been passed in Arizona, they thought police was going to act as immigration agents.
So we worked with Major Ell from East Patrol so he could clarify the police’s role when working with our undocumented community and he publicly stated that his police did not work as immigration which eased the fear in our families. He also committed to start building relationships with our community. Through continued community meetings and Spanish conversation tables with the officers we started building a relationship with the police and since then they have been able to better serve our community.
A few months ago, my younger brother was jumped when he was walking back home from the park only a few blocks away. When we called the police, it was a relief to see Officer Kenny Allen come to our house. We already knew him and had a relationship with him because of the Spanish conversation table where we helped him practice his Spanish. He felt angry with us, felt accountable to us, and made it his personal mission to find the suspects and to do the best he could for us. These are the kind of relationships that alleviate the fear in our community and build trust that helps make our community safer.
WENDY – PINS: * Unfortunately our new Police Chief, Darryl Forte, had to leave early for another engagement, but we would like to acknowledge that during the recent candidate forum Chief Forte explained that he does not believe the local police department is responsible for enforcing federal immigration law. We were pleased to hear this and look forward to discussing how this will look in the community along with his ideas regarding community policing and violence prevention with Chief Forte on _____________________(date of research meeting). Mayor James, as the only elected Police Commissioner of the Kansas City Police Department, will you ensure that our new Police Chief, Darryl Forte, leads a police force that respectfully protects and serves all families in our communities, regardless of their race, economic status, language, or immigration status by rejecting contracts that require local officers to act as Immigration agents or that encourage racial profiling such as Secure Communities, 287-g, and laws like Arizona’s SB 1070? Lifelines to Hope & Healing Part 3 —Rev. Johnson and Sam Jones REV. JOHNSON In our lifelines to hope and healing campaign we are working to reduce the mass incarceration and deportation of people of color by restoring civil liberties for ex-offenders and reducing recidivism. * Earlier Wendy showed you the mass incarceration of our immigrant brothers and sisters, but now I’d like you to look at the chart showing the alarming disparity of incarcerated African-American males represented by the maroon on the screen. In 2007 the Bureau of Justice Statistics reported that African-American incarceration rates are 6. 5 times that of Whites incarcerated. It is our belief that this disparity exists due to oppressive policies that limit choices and the ability for ex-offenders to easily re-integrate into civic life. * At this time, I’d like to invite Mr. Sam Jones to share his testimony with you all. SAM JONES – TESTIMONY * Jones 25772; that was my identity for 23yrs, Jones 25772! There are approximately 5,500 individuals being released each year in Kansas that carry a similar identity and some that don’t have an idea on how to restore one. I was convicted of first degree murder and aggravated robbery and served 23 years behind bars.
What I want to share with you is my transition from prison back into society. After walking out the doors of the administration building with my sponsor, reality set in. My sponsor helped me navigate through a society that I had not seen in 23 years. I had to learn how to drive, buy a car, rent an apartment and budget money. After a couple of weeks, surviving on a salary from KFC, juggling being homeless and staying with my sponsor, I got on the right track. I was able to work for the same corporation I worked for in Leavenworth prison.
You should know that I’m an exception to the norm of guys going on parole whether they did a long time or short time. From October 1989 till my release in March 1997, I worked for a private corporation for minimum wage. I walked out of prison with 20,000 dollars in gate money. I knew I had an advantage of making it because the money gave me leverage. But I couldn’t help thinking about how other ex-offenders were handling re-entry after serving time in prison. Some have little to no money after prison because there aren’t that many programs for earning money and depending on the sentence some don’t even have enough to buy a meal.
My mission in life is to support ex-offenders who are re-entering. ADD DETAILS ON HOW YOU HAVE PLAYED A CRITICAL ROLE IN THE MEN’S MINISTRY AT FDFWC AND WHY YOU HAVE DONE SO—TALK ABOUT YOUR HEART MOTIVATION. REV. JOHNSON – RESEARCH * Thank you Mr. Jones. * Recidivism, when a man or woman returns to prison after being released, in Kansas and Missouri hovers around 50%. Recidivism is decreased through holistic services. This reduction saves lives and state money! There have been major budget cuts in Kansas and $9 million to the Department of Corrections alone.
Now the Kansas budget has a surplus of nearly $200 million! Will the cuts be restored? Will they be given to programs that keep our communities safe? Now in Kansas the responsibility has shifted to faith and non-profit communities to be responsible for mentoring. Approximately 5,500 parolees each year are re-entering our communities. History has proven that unfunded mandates do not work and we’re not willing to fail these individuals or the safety of our communities! REV. JOHNSON – PINS * Secretary Ray Roberts of the Kansas Department of Corrections and Mrs. Geither, ________, will you please join me on stage?
Many citizens that are reentering society after incarceration are not equipped to be productive members, due to a lack of mental health treatment, targeted job placement, state identification, housing and positive support from family and friends and other factors. First of all, CCO commends the State of KS, Mrs. Geither and her office as well as your leadership to connect ex-offenders with mentors, particularly those of us from the faith community. However, with approximately 5,000 individuals being released from prison each year in the state of KS, the burden of providing volunteers will be monumental.
Thank you for agreeing to meet with our constituents to further discuss this partnership on October 26th. Our questions are as follows: THE QUESTIONS ARE VERY DETAILED, WILL WE ASK THEM ALL AND THEN GIVE AN ALLOTED TIME FOR ONE ANSWER? ANSWERING THREE TIMES WILL TAKE A LOT OF TIME. * We believe that communities like Wyandotte County need a place that newly released individuals can go to for job training, targeted job placement, housing, and help with retrieving appropriate documentation. Currently the Department of Commerce has established “one stop shops” throughout the state.
Question #1. Will your office work with CCO and our community partners in convening a meeting so that we can connect with the Department of Commerce to leverage its resources to the ex-offenders that are re-entering our communities? * Many of the individuals we have engaged within our congregations and community have told us that they do not have what they need when released from prison. Question #2. To ensure parolees are prepared, will your office work with CCO in developing a relationship with the Director of Release in providing the State approved release plans? Due to the state of the economy the Department of Corrections has lost approximately $9 million dollars over the last 3-4yrs, which has resulted in an increased need for services in and outside of prison. And yet the need for financial support still remains paramount. Question #3. Will you work with CCO and other community based organizations to identify funding sources and if available, apply for joint funding in order to strengthen our efforts to assist ex-offenders to re-engage back into civic life? REV THOMAS: Thank you.
Let’s hear some appreciation for the commitments made toward our Lifelines to Hope and Healing Campaign tonight, raise your signs. (applause) It is my pleasure, to introduce, Claudia Nelson, from Greater Gilgal Missionary Baptist Church in Kansas City, Missouri to tell you about ways we need you in our campaigns to bring opportunity to our Kansas City metro. I’m enthusiastic about the commitment you’ve already demonstrated tonight by being here and cheering on those who’ve already pledged commitment. * CLAUDIA NELSON: Explain Opportunities to engage in campaigns, reference the Community Commitment cards.
We have come together as one community with many voices. As people of faith we believe our destinies are intertwined and so what happens to one in this beloved community affects us all. Tonight we pledge to work together as a metro community to create: RAISE SIGNS ? Economic security through a New Bottom Line for families and neighborhoods ? Improved health care quality and access for Healthy People & Healthy Places ? Lifelines to Hope & Healing through education and prevention support * BR. JIM KRAUSE: We all must claim our God given dignity and reinvent our democracy through active participation.
We ask this evening, if you are not registered to vote you do so in the back of the room. We ask also that you consider making a pledge to join us in reaching out to your friends and neighbors and make sure that they’re registered. Pledge to let your voice be heard not just in this hall, but in city hall, the halls of your state capitol and most importantly at the ballot box on issues that matter to our community on election day. 8:05pmSummary and Next Steps: (Co-Chairs) * Rev. Johnson: What did we accomplish tonight? Summarize commitments made, metro coming together. Our plan for the next three years: You can become involved in one of our campaigns. Make sure to hand in your pledge card. You can involve your congregation, you can join with CCO as a partnering organization, and you can donate to us to help advance the work! You have envelopes in your program that can be collected by ________ at the Communities Creating Opportunity table. * Rev. Thomas: Commit to civic engagement (registering people to vote, GOTV still need wording from Molly and Aaron) and participation on one of more of the agendas presented this evening.
Volunteer to be a mentor for re-entering population in Kansas (SIGN UP? ) And now for our closing, Rev. Stevie Wakes and Beth Falkenstein, from the Kansas City Urban Youth Center on Troost Avenue. They will send us forth, organized for opportunity! 8:10pmSending Forth: (*Rev. Wakes & *Beth Falkenstein) * REV. WAKES: We have allowed ourselves to be divided for far too long and this division restricts all of us from the opportunity we could have as a metro. As we drive home tonight we will pass signs that have been used to keep us apart. point to the signs) We can decide these signs will no longer divide us and take their symbolic power away. They will be signs of identity and geography but not divisions. They will be signs of different people who can meet in the middle for opportunity and not for fear. (Take down the Troost signs) We can take down the divisions of class. (Take down the Wyandotte and Johnson county signs) And we can rise above the history and competition of our state line because we know that really, our future are linked. (Take down State Line) This, this right here, this is our moment to change.
This is our opportunity to declare that all of our brothers and sisters have God given opportunities to thrive and now it is our responsibility to make sure the structures we have in place also allow those opportunities. * BETH FALKENSTEIN: We may come from many different places and backgrounds, but we have the chance to be a part of the journey of change together. While our faith traditions may be different, they all tell us that we should stand up for those who are exploited and oppressed. We have brothers and sisters in this city who are hurting because of the systems that are in place and the lines that divide us.
Tonight we can decide that our destinies are intertwined. Tonight we can decide that we will work together to make our metro a safer, better place for everyone who lives here. Tonight we can decide that we will use our blessings to bless others and that we will make our metro a Land of Opportunity for all who live here. * SENDING PRAYER—Rev. Wakes & Beth Falkenstein * God’s Power Band plays & Clergy lead the procession down the main aisle, carrying street signs. CCO LOGO—OPPORTUNITY NOW—ON POWERPOINT ______________________________________________________________________________ Logistics Leaders and Assignments For Opportunity Now Action Pre-Registered Sign-In Tables: Rhonda Smith, Br. Jim Krause has confirmed three volunteers to work the sign in tables Pre-Registered Sign-In Tables/CHOIR: James Venn, Faith Deliverance will have one more for sign in. Need 1-2 more General on Site Registration Table: Marlene Kahn, Kelly Somberg and Ann Elyachar General on Site Registration Table: Elder Terry Witherspoon, Joy Friedman, Media and Elected Officials table: Elder Forbes and Rev.
Rayfield Burns are point: Linda Zappulla, Mary Rabon, Rick Leidig: CCO, MEGAN 36 FOR 36/ Pay Day Table: CCO MOLLY: Sister Ann Landers, Susan Borge, Will Borge, Laurie Fisher, Floy Jacobsen, Gina Chiala, Slough Connealy, Irwin, and Madden, Jim Hafner Voter Registration KS/MO: CCO AARON: Slough Connealy, Irwin, and Madden, Jim Hafner, Lincoln Hughes, Joe Monahan, CCO Information Table: Parking Lot Attendees: Paul Nelson (CO-Captain), Frank Smith (Co Captain), Mozel Boone, Faith Deliverance may provide 1 or 2 people for parking (CBT will provide 3 parking lot attendees vests) WE NEED 3-4 more parking lot
Volunteers Greeters: Charles Lyle, Willie Littles Need 4-6 more Teen Greeters: Antonicha Nelson: Stickers, Shantaisha Nelson: Stickers Laptop Projector and Tech: Franklin Hawkins, CCO Whitney , (Live Stream, Photography: Tameka and Photographs–Jonathan Bell) Time Keeper: Sheila Freeman and Diana Ushers: St. Peter CME Ushers Live Music: St. Peter CME, Faith Deliverance Family Worship Center, Andrers Choir, Our Lady of Peace, GOD Power Band