A big announcement for Kansas City

We’ve got some exciting news.

Nearly two years ago, Communities Creating Opportunity and Kansas City-area public health departments created the Raising of America Kansas City (ROAKC) coalition. It was a bold project, uniting people and organizations from across the region around the simple principle that an investment in early childhood protects the future of our community.

The first phase of this work has been hosting screenings of the excellent documentary for which the coalition is named: The Raising of America: Early Childhood and the Future of Our Nation, which will air on PBS nationally this fall.

Since hosting the Kansas City premiere of the documentary we have helped host screenings throughout the metro. To date over 700 people have participated across sectors including government, faith, social service, insurance, academic, community, and health professional sectors.

Recently, 100 attendees watched the film at Union Station – what happened next was thrilling.

Mayor James announced his support for the project, saying that it will be promoted in partnership with his office, the Greater Kansas City Chamber of Commerce, and the Central Exchange.

And City Manager Troy Schulte announced that as of May 2016 Kansas City, Missouri is implementing a paid parental leave, which provides 6 weeks paid leave to families who have a birth or adoption. This is huge. It demonstrates how bringing people together to discuss a challenge and propose a solution can result in tangible and systemic change! Here is the link to the full ordinance.

Additionally, Wendy Doyle, CEO of the Women’s Foundation, announced that the Women’s Foundation will lead the development of a tool to show how area businesses stack up in terms of family-friendly workplaces. Businesses will be encouraged to compete with this market-based solution to convey their commitment to healthy children and working families.

We are thrilled by these successes – and it shows how a bold vision can lead to powerful, real change for the people who need it.

We would love for you to stay connected to Raising of America Kansas City’s work. We can support your community or organization in pursuing:

● Local and state policy proposals and ballot initiative petitions

● Resources to screen the documentary, including a toolkit and discussion guide designed specifically for partners in the Kansas City metro

● Training seminars on advocacy and community engagement for individuals and organizations

● Connections to other stakeholders in the region, including facilitation support for the screening and panel discussion of the documentary series

If you want to host your own screening of The Raising of America, we want to help. It is a powerful, thoughtful film that cuts through politics and focuses our attention squarely where it belongs – the challenges facing children in their most vital years of development.

Great change has begun. You can be a part of it.

To host your own screening of the documentary, contact ROAKC at raisingofamericakc@gmail.com or call CCO (816) 221-9900 x111

Thank you for all that you do,

Mary Cosgrove Spence (CCO) & Jackie Powell (Kansas City Missouri Health Department)

Raising of America Coalition Co-Chairs

Standing with Charleston

It is with a sorrowful heart and outraged conscience that we stand in solidarity with our communities who grieve the senseless loss of life last night at Mother Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, South Carolina. The murder of 9 people of faith from the African Methodist Episcopal Church due to the sin of racism and the evil of violence is incomprehensible.
I am saddened today by the killings and brutal taking of innocent lives in Charleston. I grew up in South Carolina and recognize the systemic pain of racism continues.  We must confront it. In my work as former president of the South Carolina AFL-CIO we worked with NAACP and community partners to expose the racism and blinding prejudice that for too long has ripped a false fracture in the state and nation. We must increase our efforts.  My prayers go out to those who lost family members to this senseless violence and to the entire community of Charleston who I hold close to my heart.
Today many of you joined us as we stood in solidarity with the Midwest Conference of the African Methodist Episcopal Church in prayer vigil at Bethel AME in Kansas City. Thank you.
A statement from Rev. Steven A. Cousins and Rev. Robert Shaw:
“The issue of violence has become a drastic stain within our community.  It is during these impious times the church must come forward to make a stand and to say yes to life, for our Savior in the Gospel recorded by John states,  The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full. (John 10:10 NIV)”
Thank you for your love and support. Please continue to pray.

Sincerely,

 

Randy Kiser

Member, Board of Directors

Communities Creating Opportunity

 

Soul of the City Honorees Announced!

We are thrilled to announce the honorees for CCO’s upcoming Soul of the City event on Thursday, April 23.

Get your tickets today – Click here!

SOUL OF THE CITY AWARD

Last year we recognized Rep. Emanuel Cleaver II with our Soul of the City Award.

This year, we are proud to present the Soul of the City Award to Dr. Rex Archer, Director of Public Health in Kansas City.

Dr. Archer is an amazing innovator, team builder, and leader. But even more importantly, he has a keen understanding of the relationship between justice and equity, and the outcomes we all want to see for our region.

CCO is proud to honor Dr. Archer because he is working intensely to overcome the effects of decades of racially segregated access to health and opportunity in Kansas City through new partnerships and an unswerving commitment to justice.

Dr. Archer has led work in confronting violence as a public health issue, joined public health officials with community organizers to build new and powerful coalitions, such as Raising of America Kansas City.

Dr. Archer believes that healthy cities are about so much more than having good hospitals, it’s about improving the conditions that send them there in the first place. Because of his leadership, organizations throughout the region are working more powerfully to ensure that Kansas City residents are living longer, stronger lives.

SPIRIT AWARDS

We are also excited to share with you this year’s Spirit Award winners. We will have more to say about them soon – it is an inspiring group of talented, hard-working community leaders.

Metro Kansas City: Kiddy Hiruy

Northland: Albert Byrd

Wyandotte County: Patricia Orr

Johnson County: Principal Todd Clauer and the Students of Hyman Brand Hebrew Academy

Students from Hyman Brand made hundreds of calls to help voters needing rides to the polls.

Congratulations – and our deep thanks – to all of our honorees for their amazing leadership.

If you have not purchased a ticket yet, now is the time! Click here to get your tickets.

Each ticket includes –

  • Admission to the American Jazz Museum
  • Live music from amazing local performers
  • Delicious food from local restaurants
  • A silent auction with some fantastic items

Your support will help fuel the amazing organizing work that is healing vital parts of our region.

Soul of the City
Thursday, April 23, 6pm
American Jazz Museum
1616 E 18th Street
Kansas City, Missouri

Exciting News on Payday Lending Reform!

DSC_0233 - Elliott Sign Smile

Minutes ago, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau announced a preview of potential new rules for the payday lending industry.

This is huge news for those of us in Missouri, where the average rate on a payday loan is 452% APR, and the legal maximum is a staggering 1,950%.

Sign our petition for strong rules on payday lending

This hits home for me: as you may know, the payday debt trap cost my family $30,000 – and our house.

Today is also important to me as a CCO leader. We have been working on the issue of payday lending for years – in 2012, CCO helped lead a coalition of grassroots groups to collect 350,000 signatures to cap the rate on payday loans. Many of you stood with us in 100-degree heat to gather signatures.

In 2014, CCO leaders and our allies across the state rallied against the payday loan industry’s sham reform bill, successfully winning a veto from Gov. Nixon.

And today, after years of work, we are closer than ever to real reform.

Now the work begins – we need to make sure that predatory lenders do not force loopholes into otherwise good rules. And to do that, we need as many people as possible to join us in this effort: Click here to add your name to the thousands of people across the region who want to see strong rules for payday loan reform.

Thank you for everything you have done to get us this far. I look forward to the work ahead!

In faith,

Elliott Clark

PS: Follow CCO on Twitter (or on Facebook) to see some of our latest updates, including new photos and images.

You are the hope

A few days ago I joined hundreds of leaders from across Missouri to deliver a simple message to our state lawmakers as they left for spring break: Do your job. Find a Missouri solution to close the healthcare coverage gap.

Praying and singing together, we made it clear that we will not allow our elected officials to try to ignore the inherent dignity of the 300,000 Missourians who could be saved by Medicaid Expansion.
Unfortunately too many of our politicians remain silent on issues. And every week they refuse to talk about reforming Missouri’s healthcare system, we lose 15 more lives to treatable conditions that would have been covered by Medicaid.
Join us as we continue to raise our voices in the Kansas City metro and demand a moral economy. An economy where everyone has access to opportunity and can care for the health of their family.
  How you will take action with us in the days and weeks to come?
  Rally for Medicaid Expansion Thursday, 3/26 at 12:30pm. On the sidewalk in front of Wal-Mart, 10300 E Highway 350, Raytown Sen. Kraus agrees there is a problem: people are sick and dying because they lack access to health care. But he is unwilling to name the obvious solution, and support Medicaid expansion. Time is running out. His silence is killing us. Join us as we rally across from his church and call out Sen. Kraus for standing on the wrong side of this issue. It’s time to have the debate and expand Medicaid.

Thank you for putting faith in action,   Alice, Andrew, Kathryn, Rev. Taylor, Rev. McCann, and the rest of the CCO team

Your support is vital. Chip in $5 today to help fuel our efforts to move human dignity to the center of public life.  Please take a moment to donate online: https://secure.qgiv.com/for/comcreopp

The Jobs Report from Troost

Today the labor department issued another upbeat report on jobs in the US economy: more jobs added in February, employment is down.
But that report doesn’t match up with what I experience as a pastor in Kansas City, and it’s not the story we shared with dozens of faith and community leaders as we gathered yesterday to issue our own report on the Kansas City economy. In the last 14 years, workers weren’t just denied a raise, the median wage actually went down.

As Wednesday’s Ferguson report revealed how African-Americans are receiving dangerously unequal treatment by justice systems in Missouri, our report revealed how they are receiving dangerously unequal treatment by our economy: black unemployment in Missouri is at 12.6% – more than twice the rate of white unemployment.

Every day local policymakers and business leaders make decisions that determine how our economy treats people. What we need is a true measure of success that guides those choices- in a week of record highs in the stock market, how are everyday working moms and dads able to raise a family in today’s economy?

To that end, we are calling for a moral economy that values the sacred dignity of every person.

Where:

  • Wages cover the costs of raising a family
  • Everyone has access to affordable credit in their communities
  • Your race does not determine your likelihood of being unemployed.
It’s time to call on local policy makers to work with us to confront the economic challenges our working families face everyday. In the coming weeks we’ll be reaching out to your about our Covenant for a Moral Economy and how you can sign-on. In the meantime, find out how you can take action right now here!
In faith,
The Reverend Stan Runnels
Rector, St. Paul’s Episcopal Church
Kansas City, Missouri

Giving Thanks, Giving Opportunity

2014 has been a challenging year for families across the world.
Even in our home state of Missouri, community pain has exploded into headlines across the country.
But at CCO, where we see hope is in the quiet work of organizing, building up everyday people into powerful leaders who will change the world. Leaders who helped stop the payday loan industry in its tracks, or challenged the Secretary of Homeland Security eye-to-eye about an immoral and broken immigration system. Leaders who issued a moral call to save hundreds of lives each year by expanding access to healthcare.
We’ve been able to do this work for 37 years because people of conscience like you have given so generously. Click here to donate to CCO. Even 7 dollars will help fuel our efforts to move human dignity to the center of public life.
Thank you for your continued support.
Warmly,
Eva Creydt Schulte
PS: Our annual appreciation event is Dec 18 from 4:00-6:30pm. Drop on by and join us to see highlights of a powerful year and get a preview of what’s in store for 2015.

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