KC gun violence victims looking for change

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The many faces of individuals affected by gun violence in Kansas City consists of Omaha resident Nnenna Holbert. Someone shot and killed her cousin Julius Harris on 71 Highway in 202.

Seven years later, Kansas City leaders are looking to her hometown to ensure comparable incidents occur much less.

“That’s a good feeling because we don’t know who did it because it’s an unsolved murder,” Holbert stated.

“No one expects a tragedy like what occurred in my family a couple months ago to happen,” stated Beto Lopez. His sister, Lisa Lopez-Galvan, was shot and killed after the Chiefs’ Super Bowl rally. “We know it happens across society, across this country.”

Community Solutions: Importing success to Kansas City from Omaha

Lopez’s household was shoved onto the nationwide stage in February however he was a part of KC Common Good lengthy earlier than that day, driving house a tragic irony that folks and their households can change into the victims of the very issues they’re making an attempt to resolve.

“We have a lot of great initiatives a lot of great organizations in Kansas City, but I don’t think we’re as organized and strategic as they are here in Omaha,” Lopez stated.

That’s an enormous downside that KC Common Good and KC 360 Founder Klassie Alcine is engaged on.

“I think in Kansas City we have a lot of plans but there’s usually no funding attached to it,” Alcine stated.

Lopez and Alcine had been in Omaha in April studying in regards to the Empowerment Network and Omaha 360, which is the initiative the addresses the underlying causes of violence and crime to cease it earlier than it begins.

It’s been round for 17 years and takes thousands and thousands of {dollars} from public, personal, enterprise, and philanthropic sources yearly to fund all kinds of packages. That’s why the Founder Willie Barney is optimistic about the place KC 360 is 2 years after it launched.

“Kansas City is further along because you have stakeholders from all different sectors that are coming into the room,” Barney stated.

Already, Barney factors out, Kansas City has philanthropic organizations, elected leaders, and enterprise leaders supporting the trigger.

“KC 360 really gives us that opportunity to really get at the root causes of our violence,” stated Kansas City Councilmember Crispin Rea, who went on the journey to Omaha.

Business leaders like Kansas City Chamber of Commerce President Joe Reardon are on the KC Common Good Board.

Community Solutions: Building trust, buy-in takes time

“It is about small wins to begin with,” Reardon stated. “Singles and doubles and that sort of thing but you have to have the planning and the alignment to get to the big.”

Those small wins might be the proof that the enterprise group wants to assist fund KC 360 initiatives or get entangled by providing jobs and coaching, creating higher alternatives in neighborhoods which have traditionally been not noted.

“Once those relationships are formed around a strategy and an execution, I think you see the investment come behind that,” Reardon stated.

That’s necessary as a result of massive investments are wanted to make the initiative work. Already there have been $3.5 million invested within the Santa Fe Neighborhood over two years in Kansas City for group clear ups, neighborhood canvassing, and battle decision coaching. The aim is to scale up comparable packages in different elements of town.

Alcine says steep value tags are the worth of not doing this sort of work for generations.

“If you have blighted areas that have been blighted for decades, we’re going to have to invest to make up for the decades lost of investment,” Alcine stated.

KC Common Good and KC 360 is finalizing a 10-point plan to assist prioritize its work. At the identical time, other violence prevention work continues across the group with some grant cash out there from Kansas City.

See the latest headlines in Kansas City and across Kansas, Missouri

UMKC Assistant Professor of Criminology and Criminal Justice Dr. Marijana Kotlaja is getting some cash from town to gather information about what crime is going on, the place it’s occurring, what organizations and companies can be found, and in the event that they’re having an affect.

“We have a vortex of crime in Kansas City,” Kotlaja stated. “It runs down the Paseo corridor. We know that vortex is kind of like a vortex where all of our crime clusters, we can see what are the services? Do we have enough services going on in these communities?”

Her group of researchers will finally have a public-facing website that may let folks discover the information they’ve collected and will assist inform the place funding occurs.

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“That allows you to more effectively address violence and be able to intervene with better mechanisms and do it in a way that’s cost-effective for taxpayers,” Kotlaja stated. “Because you can have programs running in the city that we now are evidence based and are going to consistently show positive results.”

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