Demonstrators gathered in the City Market for a silent protest and march on Saturday evening.

Downtown Council: Partners in change

As the Black Lives Matter demonstration unfolded Friday afternoon on the south steps of City Hall, one overriding message carried through the crowd and into the streets and neighborhoods of Kansas City.

Speaker after speaker, from community leader to elected official called for change. In local police reform. In public health. In accountability. In opportunities for underserved black and brown families and communities. 

Mayor Lucas, though, was very specific in his advice to demonstrators about how to ensure change happens – and how to ensure their voices continue to be heard after the TV cameras are gone. 

“Show up,” he said. At city council meetings. At police board meetings. “Show up” and “push us.”

We at the Downtown Council consider ourselves agents of change. It is a role that comes with great responsibility. Now more than ever we feel the weight of that. 

We have been rocked by and condemn the actions that led to the death of George Floyd.  We grieve with the Floyd family and we share the country’s frustration with centuries of marginalization of people of color. 

And we are committed to reexamining the role we play in bridging racial and economic divides as we move forward to help plan and shepherd our city’s future. Just three weeks ago, the DTC introduced a comprehensive long-range planning effort – Imagine Downtown KC – to create a stronger, more prosperous, and more resilient downtown for the 21st century.

Our goal is to shape Downtown Kansas City into a continuing successful urban place, maintaining our authenticity and affordability, and promoting strategies of economic inclusion in adjacent neighborhoods – overcoming historical racial and socio-economic divides.

In mid-May, we began speaking directly with business leaders, employees, artists, entrepreneurs, and upcoming generations about the reasons to build their businesses, lives, families, and careers right here. 

How can we ensure all voices are heard in that effort? By echoing Mayor Lucas’ words and inviting people to “Show up and push us.”

KC artist Robert Castillo’s ‘Hold’ is a needed reminder that we share the human experience, and all enjoy and benefit from the comfort of human connection. Art in the Loop is currently featuring his artwork at the northbound KC Streetcar stop at 14th & Main,