Discussion on race in Kansas City draws large crowd in Westport

03/15/2014 5:29 PM

03/15/2014 5:29 PM

A discussion on race relations in Kansas City generally turns out a dozen or so of the usual committed few. But not Tuesday night.

A “City Renewed” event at the Redeemer Fellowship, 3921 Baltimore Ave., packed the church and its balcony with about 500 people. The crowd was diverse in race and age.

The relatively new church in Westport sponsored the event. Organizers said the goal for the relatively young congregation was to:

• Gain a better understanding of the racial divide in Kansas City.

• Practically take steps to own the problems.

• Bring people together to talk about race and the effect it has had on Kansas City and its neighborhoods.

• Hear different perspectives on ways of working together to get the race issue to slowly diminish.

The speakers included Eric L. Wesson, a columnist and reporter for The Call of Kansas City; Gwen Grant, president and CEO of the Urban League of Greater Kansas City; and Lewis Diuguid, editorial board member and columnist with The Kansas City Star.

Such large-scale discussions on race haven’t taken place since Bill Clinton started his national conversation on race when he was in the White House in the 1990s and Emanuel Cleaver, as Kansas City’s first black mayor, began similar discussions locally.

People at the church left informed, energized and enthused. More “City Renewed” events are to follow.

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