GETTING TO THE HEART OF THE MATTER
“Kansas City Is The HEART of America”
MISSION STATEMENT: To BE A BRIDGE between the community and the Kansas City Police Department to reach solutions as well as COMMUNICATE accurate information to and from the communities in which we serve.
VISION STATEMENT: To make Kansas City a great, safe city, in every zip code.
PURPOSE STATEMENT: Getting To The Heart Of The Matter, a nationwide community affiliate network, is a solution-oriented initiative.
PHILOSOPHY: Getting To The Heart Of The Matter believes solutions come from the zip codes where the problems occur.
The identified police divisions of Kansas City: METRO, SHOAL CREEK, CENTRAL, SOUTH, NORTH, & EAST.
June 2020–led over 100 faith leaders on city steps to list 5 demands of KCPD
List of 5 Demands from Clergy:
The police will end any and all forms of excessive force including but not limited to pepper spraying peaceful protesters.
The establishment of an independent police review board with the authority to act.
Local control of KCPD
All officers wear body cameras
More community programs with KCPD in high crime areas.
August 2020–These five demands have been the process by which we have asked others to hold us accountable from the very beginning. With this in mind, we announced our intent to serve God, this initiative, broaden our clergy and congregational influence as each of us saw this as God’s plan for us in a quickly changing COVID-19 world...this announcement was attended by well over 75 individuals. August 11, 2020 was the official launch date.
September 2020–encouraged Community Interaction Officers to connect more with black
& brown communities through food distributions as COVID numbers continued to soar and church buildings in the urban core remained closed. Began the Heart of The Matter Faith Report (weekly) in order to provide communication to community & city stakeholders on what’s going with KCPD & the inner workings of city government. Nearly 200 stakeholders received this communication weekly. If you would like to be added, simply send a request to Jason.firstname.lastname@example.org
October 2020–Held Community Meeting at St James-Paseo to address the initial 5 demands and afterwards we announced along with Mayor Quinton Lucas— several police reforms to local media. To note, several long standing civil rights groups declined the invitation to attend the meeting and press conference.
Also, this same month GTHOM provided wise counsel to KCPD in the de-escalation strategies employed during Tent City.
November 2020–Over 1,000 people alongside United Believers Community Church, Sheffield Family Life Center and Church of Resurrection came together to remind our beloved city that our city is under spiritual attack as it relates to overt racism, sexism, white supremacy, and so much more.
January-February 2021–Began neighborhood meetings called Lunch, Listen & Learn to gain input and strategy from Baptist Ministers Union, Concerned Clergy, and Church Of Scientology, & Nation of Islam. Began monthly reporting to BOARD OF POLICE COMMISSIONERS are the efforts of this initiative which is broadcast to thousands via Channel 2, local media live feeds, and social media platforms.
March 2021–Launched facilitated monthly Police Division Meetings in all 6 divisions
(citywide) so community stakeholders are aware of the unique challenges of their division and offer solutions as well as understand the widely publicized systemic issues of our city.
March 23, 2021–Being held accountable from the initial 5 demands, we witnessed the BOARD OF POLICE COMMISSIONERS pass 2 reforms that were a part of the initial 5 demands. Namely, body cameras now worn by all police officers and the First Amendment Policy “which explicitly prohibits officers from using less-lethal weapons and munitions to disperse crowds in the event of an unlawful assembly. It also states, Members will make all reasonable efforts to allow law-abiding individuals to continue to exercise their First Amendment protected rights, and will focus efforts on those individuals in the active assembly who violate the law.”
April 2021–Key faith leaders, stakeholders met with Chief Rick Smith, KCPD, Brad Lemon, & Fraternal Order Of Police, Lodge 99 board leadership to answer the hard questions being raised from activists, stakeholders, and faith leaders.
From this meeting the following collective statement was released:
Systemic racism can be intentional as much as unintentional. There are policies and procedures that unintentionally cause harm to people and groups, particularly black and brown people.
“Getting to the Heart of the Matter” leaders had a very honest and productive meeting with Police Chief Rick Smith and several board members from the Kansas City Fraternal Order of Police, Lodge 99. During the meeting much was discussed regarding historical data, current practices and where we may go from here. While there is much work to do, it is our belief that the group is committed to have the difficult discussion and work to create standards that eliminate discrimination within the force, over policing in minority communities and transparent response to citizen complaints.
May 2021 -- Self funded their own website SOLUTIONS4KC.COM so we can direct the media, concerned citizens, and interested groups to factual information as well as control our narrative on what the original and designed intent of this initiative entails.
THE STORY CONTINUES...