‘The State of the Black Family’ Series of Meetings in Kansas City Aim to Provide Solutions for the Black Community

Kansas City Councilman Michael Brooks
Kansas City Councilman Michael Brooks

Beginning in May, a series of meetings at black churches drew committed African-Americans to discuss the community’s most pressing problems.

And the list is disturbingly long: Urban violence, poverty, poor education, isolation, single-parent homes, poor diet, food deserts, substance abuse and guns.

“The State of the Black Family Series” has received little media attention, but it should be making national headlines because of the trouble African-Americans face everywhere. Pastors Calvin and Cassandra Wainwright started the initiative, which is sponsored by the Concerned Clergy Coalition of Kansas City.

“We have to become honest about telling our own story,” Kansas City Councilman Michael Brooks, who is a minister, said at the first meeting at the Lift Him Up Family Worship Center. African-Americans, he said, suffer a post-traumatic stress disorder from the community ills.

A destructive anger boils in people, leading to mushrooming problems.

“Superman is not coming to the rescue,” Brooks said. “Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. ain’t coming back.”

Brooks and others say it’s up to African-Americans to heal the community’s ills. The state of the black family is shaky but not a lost cause, said the Rev. David Anthony Gilmore.

“We’re in a 911 situation, an SOS,” the Rev. Calvin Wainwright said at the Central Christian Church. “Save our sons, save our sisters and save our streets.”

The series has attracted a good mix: Adults, children, police officers, psychologists, social workers, educators and ministers. What’s clear is the black community’s problems are America’s problems. African-Americans suffer disproportionately high infant mortality rates, gun violence, substance abuse, poor housing, unemployment, poor education, high incarceration rates, high cancer deaths, diabetes and other chronic illnesses. But the numbers aren’t good for whites either.

The next meeting is at 4 p.m. Saturday, at Calvary Temple Baptist Church. The fifth in the series is at 6 p.m. July 10 at Concord Fortress of Hope Church. The last is at 4 p.m. July 20 at Zion Grove Baptist Church.

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Source: Kansas City Star |  LEWIS DIUGUID

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