Post submitted by Caleb-Michael Files, Political & Communications Co-Chair, Kansas City Steering Committee
Today, the City Council of Kansas City, Missouri presented HRC’s Kansas City Steering Committee with a resolution commending the Committee on their work and commitment to equality for all. The City resolved to being committed to garnering a perfect score on the Municipal Equality Index.
The resolution reads in part:
…WHEREAS, Kansas City has a progressive history of inclusivity towards the LGBT population that includes non-discrimination protections enacted in 1993; a 2008 update that includes gender identity; a domestic partner registry; health and other benefits for domestic partners; and
WHEREAS, in the past year Chief Forte of the Kansas City Police Department appointed a liaison to address the needs of the LGBT population; and
WHEREAS, some of the most LGBT-friendly policies in the country have been innovated and implemented at the municipal level and we are leaders of a city that strives to be a welcoming and safe place for all citizens;
BE IT RESOLVED BY THE COUNCIL OF KANSAS CITY:
That the Mayor and Council hereby recognizes the Human Rights Campaign… and commit ourselves to the active participation and progress towards a perfect score on the Municipal Equality Index…
WHEREAS, HRC has provided the City with a road map of goals that will positively impact the lives of our LGBT employees and citizens…
The City credited HRC for providing it with “a road map of goals that will positively impact the lives of our LGBT employees and citizens”.
We are excited that Kansas City is on the road to 100 points and that we are part of the journey. The story begins, for me, when I traveled to DC for the Equality Summit in March. I opened up my packet and it showed that Kansas City’s score on the Municipal Equality Index (MEI) was 85. I wasn’t satisfied and immediately emailed Mayor Pro Tempore, Councilwoman Cindy Circo and requested a meeting when I got back. I pulled our scorecard and noted the areas we could improve in – the first being the fact that Kansas City did not have a LGBT Liaison or Task Force in the Police Department, and this perturbed me.
Cathryn Oakley, Legislative Counsel for State and Municipal advocacy, helped me draw up a “Roadmap to 100” for me to use in my conversation with Ms. Circo. When we spoke, Ms. Circo was upset that Kansas City was not scoring 100 pts already. “I thought we were good on these issues,” Circo said. It was great to let her know the areas in which we could improve as well as areas we could implement. She committed the city to getting 100 points as soon as possible.
I left the meeting excited, and not two weeks later I received an email that the city had worked out the LGBT Liaison position and was moving forward on the other points. Today, the Kansas City Council presented Kansas City Steering Committee with a resolution commending our committee on our work and indicating the city’s commitment to garnering a perfect score on the Municipal Equality Index.
Kansas City will be at 100 points soon, where does your city fall? To find out, go to www.hrc.org/mei. Read the report here and see detailed, full-length scorecards for every city here. The 2013 edition of the MEI will be published this fall.