A coalition of civil rights organizations in Kansas City has issued a scathing statement and vote of no confidence in City Manager Brian Platt and Mayor Quinton Lucas.
The coalition, which includes several groups dedicated to advancing the rights of Black people and other marginalized communities, accuses Platt and Lucas of perpetuating a culture of racism and discrimination within the city government.
The coalition includes the NAACP-Missouri, National Black United Front-KC, Southern Christian Leadership Conference-KC, Urban League of Greater Kansas City, and Urban Summit.
The statement cites a number of specific grievances, including Platt’s alleged racist, sexist, and discriminatory policies toward Black women and Black city workers, as well as the mayor’s approval of a major development project without adequate guarantees of minority participation.
The statement demands immediate action from the City Council to address the racist culture and discrimination at City Hall and throughout all city operations.
These demands include; reinstating Andrea Dorch, the former head of the Civil Rights and Equal Opportunity Department, issuing a directive to the City Manager to expeditiously address the racism and implement the recommendations of an external review of the Fire Department, and amending the META agreement to include minority participation requirements.
Prior to his appointment as City Manager of Kansas City, Brian Platt served as Jersey City’s first Chief Innovation Officer and later became its Business Administrator. The Business Administrator position in Jersey City is similar in scope to the City Manager position in Kansas City.
Further, Daniel Ali, a plaintiff in a lawsuit against Platt during his time in New Jersey, said “Does Brian Platt sit down and say, ‘You know, I’m going to do this against them because he’s Black, or because she’s Puerto Rican or whatever?’ I can’t say that, but I can say that the policies that were prevalent under his administration, certainly, I feel had racial components to them.”
The NAACP Jersey City branch President Rev. Nathaniel Legay separately said at the time that “I don’t think Brian was very compassionate or even, you know, considerate of the needs of the minority groups in Jersey City.”
It is also important to note that before his appointment as City Manager of Kansas City, nearly every Black Kansas City city council member voted against Platt’s appointment due to his documented history of racism.
The full statement from the Civil Rights Coalition is below:
We stand with Black women and Black city workers.
We are issuing a vote of no confidence because of Brian Platt’s racist, sexist, and discriminatory policies toward Black women and Black city workers. Additionally, it is appalling that the City Manager would allow a major development project to be approved and go forward without the proper guarantees of Black and minority participation
Under Mayor Lucas’ watch Kansas City spent nearly $11,000 in January to surveil the former head of the city’s Civil Rights Office, who was one of the highest-ranking Black women at City Hall.
Mayor Lucas’ action and inaction related to these issues, display the mayor’s lack of commitment to socioeconomic justice for African Americans here in Kansas City. The mayor has been complicit with racism against Blacks in city government, is overseeing a culture of racism against Black women at City Hall and has betrayed his responsibility to protect the Civil rights of Black people at City Hall. In a city where Blacks lag so far behind in every category of economic wellness, the government’s unwillingness to ensure a just share of economic wealth from a billion-dollar project is unacceptable. These decisions work against Black economic equity and inclusion, Black business development, and the uplift of the Black poor and working class.
The mayor has routinely appeared on national television speaking of racial, economic, and social justice for Black people while his administration fails to effectively provide protections from sexism against Black women, systemic and structural racism against Blacks in general, and economic inclusion here at home. Our research concludes there has been a displacement of the head of the Civil Rights and Equal Opportunity Department, advancing the billion-dollar META project in the Northland
without any minority participation requirements. In addition, there has been a failure to address the recommendations made by an external review of racial discrimination in the Kansas City Fire Department and has passed over qualified African Americans to head the Housing and Communication Departments, while giving residency and salary waivers to whites and not African Americans.
In the two years since Brain Platt assumed his role as City Manager, the city has settled 27 lawsuits for various civil rights violations totaling $9,657,532.
This hostility towards African Americans at City Hall is emblematic of the hostility and hatred that results in the broader culture. Our Civil Rights organizations have had enough of duplicitous rhetoric, posturing, and pontificating about Black issues while presiding over an administration that oppresses black people and black businesses.
Our coalition DEMANDS the City Council take immediate action to address the racist culture and discrimination at City Hall and throughout all city operations immediately which include:
Reinstate Andrea Dorch, former head of the Civil Rights and Equal Opportunity Department
Issue a directive to the City Manager to expeditiously address the racism implementing the recommendations of an external review of the Fire Department
Amend the META agreement to include minority participation requirements.