It’s too late for the April 7 election, but black community leaders in Johnson County want to boost the number of minorities in local government.
The Johnson County chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People on Monday announced an initiative to encourage more minorities to get involved and seek positions on city councils, school boards and other governmental bodies. About 50 people gathered to hear the message Monday evening in the courtyard outside the county courthouse in Olathe.
“If our community is to continue the path of inclusion and diversity, we know we need to take greater steps to insure that volunteer boards, commissions, task forces, etc, are also representative of our changing county,” said a statement read by the Rev. Bobby Love of the Second Baptist Church of Olathe.
NAACP Chapter President Fred Jones said he could not state the percentage of such posts that are now occupied by minorities because there are so many positions. But he said the chapter was confident minorities are under-represented. There are no persons of color on the three largest school boards in the county or on the county commission.
The NAACP cited data showing 7.9 percent of the Johnson County population of just under 567,000 is Hispanic and 4.6 percent is African-American.
Jones and Love also urged minorities to register to vote and to show up at the polls.
“The Johnson County NAACP unit has worked very hard to foster good, positive relationships with numerous organizations, including some of our school districts, law enforcement agencies, social service organizations and religious organizations,” said the statement from the group. “While the Johnson County NAACP recognizes the positive work that has been accomplished to date, we also acknowledge that considerable work still needs to be done.”
Several Johnson County police departments were represented at Monday’s announcement.
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