Over the next several months, Kansas City’s new task force on violence will grapple with the causes of homicide and other crimes while searching for solutions that it can act on.
That was the challenge facing the Citizens Task Force on Violence, whose members met Tuesday for the first time after they were appointed by Mayor Sly James to come up with ways to reduce violence in the city.
Headed by City Councilwoman Jolie Justus, the 19-member panel includes elected officials, professionals, social service workers, clergy, educators and others. Members of the public also will be invited to speak at meetings.
Many who attended Tuesday’s meeting cautioned against expecting any quick, easy answers.
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Some members said the causes of violence were found in the structure of society, in the poverty, unemployment and blight that affect the urban core.
“It’s not rocket science,” said Alissia Canady, city councilwoman for the 5th District. “The question for this group is, how are we going to equalize it?”
But former city councilman John Sharp warned that if the task force produced a report that only spoke of broad social issues, it would gather dust on a shelf, as have past reports: “We have to have some specific recommendations that we can implement.”
The task force plans to make recommendations by November. It will meet again on the second Tuesday of each month through October in the Gregg-Klice Community Center at East 17th Terrace and the Paseo.
To contact the task force, members of the public can send email to firstname.lastname@example.org.