Gaia Community unreservedly supports Black Lives Matter Kansas City and the protesters in opposition to police brutality. As a Unitarian Universalist congregation, we “affirm and promote the inherent worth and dignity of every person” (1st Principle of the Unitarian Universalist Association). Currently, our focus is on systemic racism oppressing Black lives, indigenous populations, and people of color, specifically calling for change in unjust law enforcement. Police brutality, racially biased police practices, and the criminalization of protest damage our democracy and both threaten and end the lives of Black people, Indigenous people, and other People of Color in our communities.
We encourage our members, visitors, friends and supporters to take action in any of the following ways:
- Donate to bail relief funds such as KC Community Bail Fund or Reale Justice Network Fund.
- Volunteer for or donate to the Kansas City Anti-Violence Project which aims to end domestic violence, sexual assault, and hate crimes in the LGBTQ community statewide in both Kansas and Missouri.
- Support the following activist groups: One Struggle KC, KC Tenants, Race Project KC, Stand Up KC, KC Protest Facebook Group.
- Educate yourself on the ways in which intersectionality can compound racism; magnifying the oppression of people based on class, gender identity, sexual orientation, ability, and language.
- Share this information with people you know, particularly those who may not be part of marginalized communities particularly targeted by police brutality and unequal policing.
- As you feel safe and able, consider protesting or supporting protesters in Kansas City or wherever you live.
- Make signs, masks, and donate other supplies for protesters (water, snacks, medical supplies, etc).
Gaia Community affirms the following list of demands by Black Lives Matter KC:
BLMKC obtained the signature/agreement of Mayor Lucas to the following with a timeline of six months.
- We demand local control of the KCPD. Approximately 70% of the City’s operating budget is allocated to public safety, with over $250M dedicated to the police department, yet the City of KCMO has no authority over KCPD decisions, policies, practices, and procedures. Mayor Quinton Lucas and the City Council must stand with the community to advocate for and encourage lawmakers in Jefferson City to pass legislation returning control of the KCPD to its citizens of Kansas City.
- We demand the proposed funding for body cameras, generously provided by the DeBruce Foundation and community partners, be put to use immediately to equip every officer in the KCPD with a body camera. Following a determination by the Community Review Board, footage from these cameras must be made publicly available as soon as it is practicable. Further, following recommendations by the Community Review Board, the KCPD must implement policies and procedures regarding when body cameras must be filming.
- We demand a restrictive policy governing the use of force, including a multi-step de-escalation procedure. Critically these policies must include a ban on knee holds and choke holds as acceptable methods of restraint.
- We demand that the KCPD demilitarize. The KCPD must discontinue the receipt or procurement of any and all surplus military equipment from the federal government or any other source.
- We demand that KCMO engage with community representatives including activists, members of advocacy groups, the leadership of local non-profit organizations and NGOs in order to develop effective solutions to the underlying socio-economic conditions that contribute to instances of police brutality. Indeed, these underlying socio-economic conditions include, but are not limited to: disparities in housing, education, economic mobility, healthcare outcomes, internet access, and food security.