MORE2 and Mayor Reardon Meet with White House Staff about the EPA Office Location

On June 20, 2011, MORE² Clergy Rev. Steve Jones (Prairie Baptist Church, Prairie Village, KS), Rev. Jarvis Collier (Pleasant Green Baptist, Kansas City, KS) and Mayor Joe Reardon (Kansas City, KS) met at the White House with Derek Douglas, Special Assistant to the President, Domestic Policy Council (Office of Urban Affairs), and Lauren Dunn, Policy Assistant, Domestic Policy Council.

 

Actions from this meeting:

  • Community Outreach in the GSA process: Derek Douglas and Lauren Dunn were asked about the GSA process in making the decision to move the EPA building. Ms. Dunn committed to reviewing statute to determine if there should have been community outreach in the process. Derek indicated that he would explore whether the process could be reopened. (This is all dependent upon the review of statute and the alternate proposal that the city submitted.)

· Fairness in the GSA process: A need to reopen the case, which is still in process of being considered by the GSA as “under protest” by the building owners of the EPA building in Kansas City, KS. If their statute review reveals a discrepancy in fairness, Mr. Douglas and Ms. Dunn agreed to ask the GSA to reopen the case so that all the costs (including the “hidden costs”) can be revealed and considered.

From the White House, this delegation made their way to Congressman Kevin Yoder’s office (R-KS).

Conclusion from this meeting:

· Review of the GSA process: An acknowledgment by Jordan Austin, Legislative Assistant to Mr. Yoder, that he has been frustrated by the lack of responsiveness by the GSA in answering the simple questions about the process of the move. Mr. Austin is going to follow up with GSA using the chart of financials that Mayor Reardon provided—this chart provides more information about real costs involved with the move.

Approximately sixty MORE² leaders called the GSA Administrator, Martha Johnson, to express their opinions, opposing the relocation. On two occasions, citizens were “accidentally” hung up on.

MORE² thanks the Transportation Equity Network staff (Cynthia Jarrold) for pulling this effort together.

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6th Annual MORE² Banquet Awards

On June 9, 2011, at the 6th Annual MORE² Banquet, MORE² presented two awards in front of 300 people from our congregations, the community and beyond.

The first, the 2011 MORE² Courage Award, was awarded to Donald Hall Jr.  The MORE² Courage Award is given to individuals or companies who exemplify the courage to stay the course and change the inequity in our metro area.  The twenty MORE² Congregations were unanimous in believing that Mr. Hall was deserving of this award because of their very public role in supporting the Save KC campaign to renew the Earnings Tax.

“”With a name like his, it’s hard to hide who you are,” remarked Rev. Ron Brooks, “Don Hall put his name and his company on the line to protect the future of all the citizens of our metro area by joining the earnings tax renewal campaign.”


The second award was the 2011 MORE² Equity Partner of the Year award to Missouri Senator Yvonne Wilson.  While in the Senate, in 2009, Senator Wilson sponsored and supported a MORE² initiative called the “Persistence to Graduation” act, which provides for innovative programs to prevent children from dropping out of school.  Through this initiative, Senator Wilson provided direction to our leadership.   We believe that she learned from our leadership as well.

“Whenever a community group asks me, ‘How do you make change?’, I tell them, do what MORE² does,” she remarked, “Whenever I told them to show up, they did.”

MORE² congratulates all the winners and the MORE²  Board for a successful Banquet!

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MORE2 receives Outstanding Community Partner Award

On May 24, 2011, the Full Employment Council (FEC) awarded MORE2 the Outstanding Community Partner Award.
At the 24th “Jobs in the Business Sector” Luncheon, Clyde McQueen remarked that MORE2 was on the forefront of calling for social justice in the metro area.
We recalled the early days of MORE2 when Clyde spoke out at a community meeting, characterizing our work, “Nothing much was happening until these pastors came along.”

Rev. Bob Hill (Community Christian Church), who did the invocation at the lunch, stated (quoting Marge Piercy), “‘The pitcher longs for water to carry/and a person for work that is real’–MORE2 congregations came together because of a longing for justice in our bistate, metro region.  This award is an honor to all of those in our congregations who have the courage to act for justice.”
Present to receive the award were Rev Hill, Rev. Michael Brooks (Zion Grove Missionary Baptist Church) and Mary Lim-Lampe. 

Congratulations to all the members of the MORE2 congregations! 

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MORE2 Kansas Voice task force unanimously approved the following resolution which opposes the move of the EPA building from Kansas City, Kansas to Lenexa, Kansas:


EPA RELOCATION RESOLUTION

WHEREAS:

The Metro Organization for Racial and Economic Equity (MORE2) is a community of congregations working together to improve access to opportunity, health and quality education for people throughout greater Kansas City.

MORE2 has successfully advanced significant public policy initiatives to secure jobs for people of color and people with low incomes in construction trades, funding for public transportation and equitable tax policy.

MORE2 is concerned that relocation of the Environmental Protection Agency Region 7 office and its 600 jobs from Kansas City, Kansas in Wyandotte County to Lenexa, Kansas in Johnson County will put the poor and vulnerable at risk.

  • This move will relocate good paying jobs in one of the most economically challenged communities in the state to one of the most affluent counties in the United States;
  • This move will locate a federal building to an area that is served by commuter transit lines, which are not required to be compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act of 2008;
  • This move will relocate 600 jobs from an area currently well-served by public transportation to an area only minimally served by transit, limiting transportation options for EPA workers;
  • This move will divide EPA offices and laboratories resulting in increased traffic and environmental impacts in both counties; and
  • Finally this move does not appear to be consistent with current administration policies to locate federal facilities in urban core locations.

THEREFORE:

MORE2 opposes the relocation of the EPA Region 7 office and its 600 jobs from Kansas City, Kansas in Wyandotte County to Lenexa, Kansas in Johnson County.

Click here to sign a petition to stop the move:

http://www.wycokck.org/form.aspx?ekfrm=28985

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Meet Rabbi Michael Zedek, the keynote speaker for the June 9, 2011, MORE2 Banquet, on the radio!

Tune into Religion on the Line on Sunday mornings, 6:00 – 8:00 am, KCMO, AM band 710. Call in to join topical conversations with Co-Hosts Senior Rabbi Zedek, Emanuel Congregation, Chicago; Rev. Dr. Robert L. Hill, Senior Minister, Community Christian Church, Kansas City, MO; and Dr. John Purk, Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph.

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EARNINGS TAX RENEWAL VICTORY!

It all started at the MORE” Congregational Assembly at St. Stephen Baptist Church on February 22, 2011.  Rev. Margaret Roberts called us to act to Renew the Earnings Tax.  MORE” Co-Chairs Rev. Bobby Love and Rev. Ron Brooks signed the resolution joining the 100+ companies, unions and organizations who were part of the campaign.

Don Hall, President and CEO of Hallmark, received the resolution.

“The Earnings Tax is essential to Kansas City being a vibrant and healthy community,” Don remarked,  “MORE”’s endorsement of our efforts to extend this existing tax is testament to the fact that this tax is fair, necessary and important to maintaining social justice in our community.”

And the results:  77.5% of Kansas Citians voted to renew the Earnings Tax!

MORE” thanks our leadership, who hosted over 15 dialogues and one beautiful rally to educate our families on the Earnings Tax.  In addition to our own congregational work, our leaders volunteered for the campaign–calling, polling and handing out literature–TRULY DEMOCRACY IN ACTION!

For more information on how to support the work of MORE” : http://www.more2.org/contribute/

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MORE2 Stands for Justice:  Vote Yes on April 5th!

 

50 people united in a Circle of Unity on March 31, 2011.  Rev. Bob Hill, MORE2 Clergy Caucus Co-Chair and Senior Minister of Community Christian Church, convened the group.  He stood in the shadow of Abraham Lincoln in front of City Hall, calling the Earnings Tax Renewal campaign, a “People’s Campaign.  Close to 100 associations and other groups have joined in on the campaign.

The MORE2 Board voted unanimously to support the passage of the Earnings Tax, which is up for renewal on April 5th.  Over one dozen clergy from throughout the metro area united in support.

Teaching, preaching and praying on this issue, the MORE2 congregations joined together to educate their 12,000 families who work or live in the metro area.

The group joined hands around Lincoln and each participant stated what they “stood for.”

“I stand for Equity”–“I stand for Justice”–“I stand for my children”

A powerful event indeed!
Ministers Pray for E-Tax Passage
Clergy Support E-Tax
Click here for a video

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MORE2:  Voices for a Healthy Community

Join MORE2 and our allies on March 14, 2011 at the GEM Theater 1615 E. 18th Street  from 2:00 – 3:00 pm as we host a KCMO Mayoral Debate between Sly James and Mike Burke. The debate will focus on the role of the mayor in promoting a healthy Kansas City.

Click here for more information: Mayoral Debate invitation ( PDF)

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MORE2:  Voices for a Healthy Missouri


”  …Seek the welfare of the city where you have been sent into exile, and pray to the Lord on its behalf, for in its welfare you will find your welfare.”
(Jeremiah 29:7)


MORE2 will join our sister organization, MCU (St. Louis, MO) in Jefferson City for our Annual Legislative Day Tuesday March 8th.
Missouri Lawmakers have told our constituents that in the Missouri Budget, “Nothing is Sacred”.  In fact, a staff member told us that the promise to not raise taxes was “Sacred”. Join people of faith from MORE2/MCU congregations (55 member congregations from the Kansas City/St. Louis metro regions) as we tell what we hold as sacred.

Click here for more information:

Legislative Day invitation ( jpeg)

Legislative Day invitation ( pdf)

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2011 Congregational Assembly

After a vibrant and energetic opening dance from Zion Grove Missionary Baptist Church Praise Team, the 200 people assembled in St. Stephen Baptist Church was called to order by Rev. Ron Brooks and Rev. Bobby Love. The two talked about what our community was like “Sometime ago…” and the needs of the community which brought MORE² together.

“Some time ago, some of us decided to come together tonight to celebrate relationships that inspire us,” Rev. Ron Brooks (MORE² Co-Chair) began.

“So, we’ve come together from the East, West, North and South and we are here together tonight to celebrate the accomplishments of MORE²,” Rev. Bobby Love (MORE² Co-Chair) announced.

Ana Garcia Ashley, the new Executive Director of the Gamaliel Foundation, remarked in her keynote address, “I’m standing here today because my grandmother took the time to teach me about my relationship with God and to teach me I had a divine purpose.”

Highlight of the event was the signing of the Renewal of the Earnings Tax Resolution by the Co-Chairs.  Don Hall, President and CEO of Hallmark, was on hand to receive the resolution.

The event yielded $1000 towards training the leadership of MORE².

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