After the NAACP issued a travel advisory for the state of Missouri, Kansas City Mayor Sly James has responded with a message of welcome and inclusion.
“We welcome the world to Kansas City everyday,” the mayor said in a blog post Thursday. “And that means we welcome all races, gender identities, religions, ages and sexual orientations. In the coming 18 months alone, Kansas City will play host to more than 200 conventions welcoming more than 430,000 visitors from every walk of life.”
The mayor’s message comes after the NAACP civil rights group issued its first-ever travel advisory for a state, and it was for the state of Missouri. The travel advisory was first circulated by the Missouri NAACP and then taken up by the national organization. It made Missouri the subject of a warning about discrimination and racist attacks.
That warning came following a new law making it harder to win discrimination lawsuits in the state, in response to longtime racial disparities in traffic enforcement, and following a spate of incidents cited as examples of harm coming to minority residents and visitors.
James’ blog post said Kansas City’s “commitment to equality is not a platitude.” He pointed to elected leaders in the city, state government and Congress, and to leaders on boards and commissions, the chambers of commerce, police and fire departments, universities, community colleges and public school boards, “and you will see a reflection of the diversity that makes us stronger.”
“We want to make sure all members of the NAACP and all persons who have concerns over safety or discrimination know, Kansas City welcomes you,” the mayor said, adding that he welcomes the chance to discuss the issues further with NAACP representatives.
“We don’t run from the challenges we face in Kansas City,” he wrote. “But we welcome the world to be a part of our constant effort to build a more just, tolerant and loving city.”