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Reparations in KC

Brought to you by American Public Square at Jewell and Kansas City PBS
5:30 PM 7:30 PM
University Academy, 6801 Holmes Rd, Kansas City, MO 64131

Reparations in KC

5:30 PM 7:30 PM
University Academy, 6801 Holmes Rd, Kansas City, MO 64131

Kansas City is on the clock…in January, the Kansas City Council approved a new commission tasked with looking into slavery reparations for Black residents.

The panel has been given 12 months to come up with recommendations on how the city can “make amends for its participation in the sanctioning of the enslavement of Black people and historical enforcement of segregation.”

This question is part of a much larger debate: What does society owe the descendants of enslaved people? How can we measure the harms caused by slavery?  Who decides what ought to be done to repair those harms, and who should pay? And amid increased polarization, will slavery reparations only aggravate racial tensions in Kansas City?

Join American Public Square and Kansas City PBS on Wednesday, June 7 to listen to a panel of experts deliberate these very questions.  Doors open at 5:30pm; the formal program will run from 6:00-7:30pm.

Confirmed panelists include former Evanston, Illinois, Councilwoman, Robin Rue Simmons, who led that town’s effort to pass legislation to approve reparations; Councilwoman Melissa Robinson from Kansas City, Missouri, Third District, who championed the ordinance to form the Kansas City commission which will recommend a plan on reparations; Mickey Dean, a member of the KC Reparations Coalition; and author, Jack Cashill, who’s upcoming book, “Untenable, The True Story of White Ethnic Flight from America’s Cities,” will be published in July 2023.  The moderated discussion will be led by Nick Haines of Kansas City PBS.

This event is brought to you by Kansas City PBS and American Public Square at Jewell.


Program Materials

Access APS' digital Fact Sheet, with an embedded program guide below.

Program Panelists

Jack Cashill has written 15 non-fiction books, the most relevant of which, “Untenable, The True Story of White Ethnic Flight from America’s Cities,” will be published in July 2023.  Jack grew up in Newark, New Jersey, worked for the housing authorities of both Newark and Kansas City, taught urban studies at the Université de Lorraine in France, and received a Ph.D. in American studies from Purdue University.

Mickey Dean is the retired Deputy Director of Kansas City’s Human Relations Department. While with the Department he was primarily responsible for the city’s enforcement of its civil rights ordinance. He is a founding member of the Kansas City chapter of the National Black United Front. He has tutored math at the W.E.B. DuBois Learning Center for over thirty years. He has been a mentor of young Black boys for almost thirty years in two programs – Simba Wachanga (Young Lions) and Males to Men. He has been intricately involved in Kansas City’s Black Liberation Movement for the last forty-five years. He is currently a member of the KC Reparations Coalition. This group is responsible for promoting a local reparations initiative for Kansas City.

Mickey attended Emory University, the University of Kansas, and obtained Bachelor and Law degrees at the University of Missouri – Kansas City. He is married to Sandra Dean.

Pete Mundo has been hosting the morning show on KCMO Talk Radio 710am and 103.7fm for the last five years. He’s the longest-running talk show on KCMO in two decades. His show covers local news, politics and sports. He’s also a regular contributor to local TV as a political analyst.

Prior to his move to Kansas City, Pete was a fill-in talk show host for FOX News Radio in New York City, while also spending time in sports media with CBS Sports Radio and Sports Illustrated. His return to the Midwest comes after his radio career began in Oklahoma, where he was a news and sports broadcaster.

Melissa Robinson is currently the Third District City Councilwoman.  Her vision for the Third District is to be a place where there is hope and prosperity.  Over the past four years, Robinson has sponsored and lead landmark legislation including zip code based funding; establishing the Office of Racial Justice and Reconciliation; declaring racism as a public health crisis; securing funding for affordable housing; climate justice; economic development reform; resident property tax abatement to protect against displacement; establishing a Mayor’s Commission for Reparations; local control of the Kansas City Police Department; making Juneteenth a City holiday; increasing access for minority and women owned businesses; violence prevention; addressing opportunity gaps for those experiencing unemployment; building support to remediate trash, illegal dumping and blight; and increasing protections for historically marginalized groups.

Robinson obtained a Bachelors of Science degree at the University of Missouri-Kansas City and a Masters of Business Administration from Webster University in Saint Louis, Missouri.  Robinson received certification as a Mental Health First Aid Instructor, Community Health Worker and received her Family Development Credential from the University of Missouri-Kansas City.

Robinson is the mother of two boys Jeffery and Brooks Johnson.

Robin Rue Simmons is the Founder and Executive Director of FirstRepair, a not-for-profit organization that informs local reparations, nationally. Previously, Rue Simmons was the 5th Ward Alderman for the City of Evanston, IL, when she led, in collaboration with others, the passage of the nation’s first government-funded Black reparations legislation.

To date, $20 million has been committed to reparations by the City. She serves as the chairperson of the City’s Reparations Committee which oversees its initial Restorative Housing Program. It began disbursements in January 2021. Several other governmental entities across the country are actively seeking to follow Evanston’s example.

Rue Simmons attended the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, where she majored in communications. She has two young adult children.

Rue Simmons was born and raised in the largely segregated 5th Ward of Evanston, a city of 75,000 on the shores of Lake Michigan on the northern border of Chicago.

Program Moderator

Nick Haines, KCPBS News Host, has led Kansas City PBS’ public affairs division for the past 20+ years. He has earned three regional Emmy Awards, most recently for his coverage of mental health issues. He is best known as the host of the weekly primetime public affairs program, “Kansas City Week in Review.

Nick is a former BBC radio news reporter. He was born and raised in Port Talbot, a South Wales steel town that also produced actors Richard Burton and Anthony Hopkins. Prior to joining KCPBS, Nick served as news director for KANU, the NPR affiliate in Lawrence, Kansas, and was Statehouse Bureau Chief for Kansas Public Radio in Topeka.

Roving Reporter

Claire Bishop, Executive Director of American Public Square at Jewell, is an experienced leader and organizational transformation expert.  She believes in the power of community and advancing the missions of organizations. A proud Kansas City native, Claire has served as a marketing executive and board member in for-profit and nonprofit organizations. A seasoned communication professional, Claire brings clarity, organization and passion to the APS community.

Fact Checker

Kory Gallagher, PhD, holds a PhD in American Cultural History from the University of Missouri, and a Bachelors of History, Masters of History, Masters of Public Administration from the University of Missouri-Kansas City. He has taught at both the University of Missouri and University of Missouri-Kansas City, as well as local independent schools: Kansas City Academy, the Pembroke Hill School, and the Barstow School. He previously served as Head of School at Kansas City Academy and is currently the Director of Middle School at the Barstow School.

His master’s thesis, “Building an Imperial City: Kansas City in the 1920s,” focuses on efforts by the Kansas City community to participate in the United States’ foray into imperialism following World War I, through alterations to the city’s culture. From imperialist literature aimed at Kansas City’s women, to the nation’s first war monument built specifically for the area’s war dead, Kory demonstrated that Kansas City actively participated in the nation’s imperialist project. In his dissertation, “The Nonprofit Incorporation of America: 1860-1930,” he explored the application of corporate culture to the delivery of charity in modernizing America, arguing that the nonprofit sector is culturally a corollary of the wider market economy.

Thank You to Our Program Sponsor

Stevi and Jeff Brick

Thank You to Our Season Sponsors

Hall Family Foundation

Health Forward Foundation

Nelson Atkins Museum of Art


Sue Seidler Nerman and Lewis Nerman

Marny and John Sherman

William Jewell College

Thank You to Our Community Partners

St. James United Methodist Church

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